Archive your email, contacts, and calendars before it's too late

You‘re changing jobs—either voluntarily or not so—and IT‘s going to shut off your access to your old email , contacts, and calendars. While they may consider all of this company property (and I suppose it is), the truth is that many people often mix in personal email with their company stuff.

The upshot is that you‘d like to make copies of this before it vanishes. How do you do it? Let‘s start with Mail.

The trick to grabbing your old email is making an archive of your selected inbox or account. In this case, I have a bunch of mail stored in Mail’s inbox for a Google account that I’ll say is my work email account. To make an archive of it I just select Export Mailbox from the Mailbox menu. (Or I can just right-click on my inbox and choose this same command).

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How to send group emails to the best address

Here’s the setup: You have a group of people who you routinely send email messages to—your bowling team, for example. The problem is that some of the team members have more than one email address and, apparently, some folks you’ve been sending messages to are a little upset because you’ve sent very casual messages to their business address. How can you avoid making this mistake again?

Launch Contacts and select Edit > Edit Distribution List. In the sheet that appears select your group and you’ll see your contacts along with their email addresses to the right. Simply click on the address that you want the group email to go to. When you next send a message to the group with Apple’s Mail app, the message will go where you intended.

The distribution list isn’t appropriate only for email addresses. You can also choose a default phone number and street address.

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Tips for locating (and deleting) iPhoto images

Recently I shared a couple of tips for culling unwanted images from your iPhoto library and they were received with enough enthusiasm that I thought I’d offer a few more tips for easily filtering (and deleting) those images you don’t want.

Let’s start with EXIF data. Images you take with a digital camera have metadata implanted in them. Using iPhoto’s Search field you can, well, search through this metadata. By doing so, you can identify (and possibly eliminate) certain images.

For example, I want to find all the images shot with the front camera on an iOS device. All I have to do is enter the word “front” in the search field and there are some not-terribly-flattering images of a cat sitting on my head. If I click Info you can see some of the EXIF data at the top—the word “front” appears here and so is searchable.

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How to verify a Time Machine backup

We recently put out a call for topics you‘d like to learn more about and one of the most popular suggestions was how to verify a Time Machine backup. After all, you‘ve gone to all the trouble to create such a backup, it would be nice to know if it works. It turns out that there‘s not a completely clear-cut answer to this one. Let me explain.

I‘ll open the Time Machine preference and ensure that the Time Machine menu appears in the menubar. I‘ll then hold down the Option key and click on this menu and, look at that, there‘s a Verify Backups command. But wait, it‘s grayed out.

It‘s grayed out because this is a Time Machine backup housed on a drive connected directly to my Mac. This command works only for networked Time Machine backups—either backups on an Apple Time Capsule, or a networked drive on another Mac or an NAS.

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How to navigate iTunes 12 more efficiently

As you’re likely aware, iTunes 12 brings a lot of changes to Apple’s venerable music/everything-else-in-the-world app and, because of these changes, some people find it frustrating. And a subset of those people find it frustrating because they find its unfamiliar interface a little tricky to navigate. My goal in the next few minutes is to show you how to more easily move around the interface. Let’s start with ripping CDs.

When you insert a CD into your media drive (presuming you have one), you’ll be prompted to import the tracks on it. If you click Yes, iTunes will rip the tracks and import them into your iTunes library.

But if you choose No, how do you later get back to that CD? Just click on the CD icon in the toolbar. When you do you’ll see the option for importing the CD in the top-right of the tool bar. If you’d like to import just a track or two, select those tracks, right-click on them, and then choose the option to import them. Just those tracks will be imported.

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Top tips for working with the Mac's menu bar

To start out your new year I thought I'd remind you of (or, possible reveal, if this is new to you) a handful of menu bar tricks that you'll find helpful. Let’s start with rearranging icons.

If you don’t care for the way icons are arranged in the menu bar—you want the clock to appear all the way to the left, for example—just hold down the Command key and drag the item in question to a new position. Be careful to not drag it outside the menu bar, however, as doing so can cause it to evaporate. This trick doesn’t work with the Spotlight or Notification menus.

Speaking of the Notification menu, when you hold down the Option key and click on the menu, you immediately switch on the Do Not Disturb feature. You can toggle it off again by holding down the Option key and clicking on the menu.

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How to create an iPhoto holiday slideshow

It’s that time of year again—a time to let your loved ones know that you care. While this can be done with a tasteful gift or card, why not engage some of your Mac’s power to make something really special. And by that I mean a holiday slideshow. Let’s give it a go.

We’re going to make this in iPhoto so I’ll launch it. I’ve already created an album of images that I’d like to include in my slideshow. I assume you know that to create an album you select images somewhere in your iPhoto library and choose File > New Album to create an album of your own.

The dead simple way to approach this is to to just click on the Slideshow button at the bottom of the window. This will produce the theme chooser. From this chooser you can select a holiday template. The slideshow will play so you can see what you’re in for.

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