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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How to annotate your documents with Mail's Markup feature

As you may have heard, Mail in OS X Yosemite offers a couple of new features. One of the most interesting is Markup, a feature you can use to annotate images that you’re sending to another person. Let’s see how it works.

I’ll open Mail and create a new email message. Into it I’ll drag a PDF file that I’d like to mark up. I’ll click on the triangle icon that appears at the top of the file and choose Markup.

A separate pane appears where I can choose my tools.

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How to recover passwords with Keychain Access

If you’re the kind of upstanding person I believe you to be, over the coming holidays you’re going to spend some time with family and friends. And because you’re the kind of person who watches videos like this, you’re probably one of the tech savvier people they know. And because you are, sure enough you’re going to get this question:

“I need to get into my old email account but I can’t remember the password. What should I do?”

Sure, you could go through the steps to request a new password if it’s offered, but maybe you can avoid all that with this simple tip.

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How to protect your Mac's most secret stuff with an encrypted disk image

Given the countless reports of our data being exploited, many of us are increasingly concerned about protecting that data. In this movie I’m going to show you how to protect a collection of data on your Mac.

Launch Disk Utility and choose File > New > New Disk Image.

In the New Blank Image window that appears name your image—something like My Secret Stuff. From the size menu choose a maximum size for the image—the absolute most you think it will hold rather than what it will currently hold.

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How to easily batch-convert images to black and white

Today I’d like to show you how to quickly turn a bunch of color images into black and white. And not just once, but any time you like simply by dragging your images into a folder. Here’s how it works.

We’ll start by first creating two folders on the desktop. We’ll call the first Convert to B&W and the second, Converted.

Launch Automator and in the template chooser, select Folder Action and click Choose.

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How to copy items between your Mac and iPad using AirDrop

With Yosemite, Apple has tried to make it easier for you to move files between devices. This is something we’ve been able to do with File Sharing between Macs and PCs, but now we have the option to move files between Macs and iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches running iOS 8. The means for doing this is AirDrop and this is how it works.

On your iOS device running iOS 8 or later, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. You’ll see an AirDrop entry. Tap on it and you have three options—Off, Contacts Only, and Everyone. Off means, of course, that this device will be invisible to others using AirDrop. If someone who’ve you added as a contact on your iOS device would like to transfer a file, they can when you select Contacts Only. And the Everyone option lets anyone use it. We’ll choose Everyone. Now let’s move to the Mac.

On your Mac, open a Finder window and select AirDrop. Anyone around you using the same Wi-Fi network that has AirDrop enabled for Everyone (or if you’re in their contacts) will appear. To copy a file from the Mac to the device, just drag the file on top of their icon. The recipient will be asked if they want to accept or decline the transfer. When they accept, the file is copied to their device.

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