One of Lion’s new features is Resume, which automatically reopens every window you last had open in a given application when you relaunch it. That’s magical sometimes—when you relaunch Safari or Word and welcome the sight of all your last open documents. Other times, though, it’s annoying: Say you opened a dozen PDFs in Preview, and now you’re finished, and you know you don’t want them to reopen the next time you launch the app. Hints reader xplora discovered the delightfully simple solution.
When you quit the app whose windows you don’t want Lion to remember, hold down the Option key. That is, either press Command-Option-Q, or hold down Option when you go to the application’s eponymous menu. The Option key turns Quit into Quit and Discard Windows—which works precisely as you’d expect.
Mail looks pretty different in Lion: it's got a new layout, a variety of new interface elements, and a revamped sidebar, too. Hints reader michaelj wasn't thrilled with that last one: He found that his mailbox icons were displayed much larger in the sidebar than he'd prefer. It turns out that Mail's sidebar icons are (bizarrely) linked to the size of the icons in the Finder's sidebar. Really. Here's the fix:
Launch System Preferences and click on the General icon at the top left. In the middle of that preference pane is an option for Sidebar icon size; you can choose among Small, Medium, and Large. Whichever icon size you choose there will show up not just in the Finder's sidebar, but in Mail's as well. (Other sidebars, like the ones in iTunes, seem to ignore this setting.) If you discover any other sidebars that the setting affects, let us know in the comments below.
One of the many changes in Lion's edition of Mail is the Gmail-inspired Conversations view. Conversations combines messages from a thread into a simple chronological view. But those conversations are incomplete: by default, messages that you sent are not included. That can make the thread harder to parse. Though Dan Frakes mentioned that you could tweak the default behavior in his Lion Mail review, it's worth spelling out just how to do it. Hints reader nathanator11 did just that.
Open Mail's preferences (either via the menu bar, Mail -> Preferences, or the near-universal Command-, [comma] keyboard shortcut). Click the Viewing tab. In the View Conversations section, check the box for Include Related Messages. That's it! While you're there, you can adjust some other Conversations settings, including a preference to put the newest message in a conversation at the bottom instead of the top.
Trouble is, if you use defaults to update your system, it can be hard to keep track of all the changes you've made. It'd be handy to know what you've done for the sake of troubleshooting and moving to a new Mac. Which is why it's so cool that Hints reader dgerrity found a way to keep just such a record.
Not surprisingly, his hint involves a bit of Terminal work. What it does is create a new script called "defaults", then set things up so that whenever you enter a defaults command in the Terminal, that script runs instead. The script will look at the defaults write command you're entered, log that change (along with the original value) to a file, and then pass the command off to the realdefaults command to make the actual change.
It's late at night, your spouse is already asleep, and you realize you before you go to bed that you need to set an iPhone alarm to wake you up the next morning. You launch the Clock app, schedule the time, and then want to adjust the alarm sound to be sure it's loud enough to startle you awake tomorrow. As you begin to tap the sound, though, panic strikes: You remember that the iPhone helpfully previews the sound the moment you tap it—so, essentially, your alarm will go off, wake up your loved one, and make nobody happy.
Hints reader imaldonado found the quiet solution: When you're choosing your alarm sound, double-tap it instead of single-tapping it. You'll select the sound without auditioning it first. And that should let everyone sleep better.
You probably already know about the search box in the Help menu of virtually every Mac application. When you type some text in that box, the app will show you a list of entries in its help files that contain that term. But most apps will also present a list of menu items containing that string: Type print in that box, for example, and you’ll see a list of all the menu items related to printing—File -> Print and so on. If you select one of the entries in that list, the associated menu will open with that item highlighted.
Because of that last part, you can use the Help menu’s search box as an impromptu launcher. Last year, Macworld Senior Editor Dan Frakes explained how this works in your browser: Open the Help menu by typing Command-? (in other words, Command-Shift-/). Start typing the name of a website that you’ve visited or bookmarked in the search box, and you’ll see a list of matching entries in your history and bookmarks submenus. Select an item on that list and press Return, and the browser will open that site.
Hints reader mtaylorGT discovered a similar use for the Help menu search box: You can use it to find and then launch recently opened documents, too. The trick hinges on the fact that many apps have a File -> Open Recent menu item (or something like it). That menu includes document titles; you can therefore search for those titles from the Help box. When you do, you’ll see a list of matching documents. Scroll down that list and the app will show you that item’s entry in the Open Recent menu. Select the document you want from the list and press Return, and the app will open it.
Sometimes, you discover the coolest Mac OS X tricks by accident. That happened recently to Hints reader philostein. And philostein’s accident is our gain.
First, copy a file path to your Mac’s clipboard (by selecting a folder in the Finder and pressing Command-C or selecting File -> Copy). Then, after choosing File -> Save in a new document, press Command-V. That will open a Go to Folder dialog box, with that folder path already pasted into it. When you click on the Go button (or press Return), the Save dialog will navigate directly to that folder.
Surprisingly, the Command-V trick doesn’t work in Open dialog boxes—but there is a workaround. From an Open dialog box, press the keyboard shortcut—Command-Shift-G—that, in the Finder, summons the Go to Folder dialog. Then, as before, you can press Command-V, and the copied folder path will again be pasted into the entry box.