The hidden powers of Mountain Lion's Preview

Kirk McElhearn Senior Contributor, Macworld

Senior contributor Kirk McElhearn (@mcelhearn) writes The iTunes Guy column and about Macs, music, and more on his blog Kirkville. He's also the author of Take Control of iTunes 10: The FAQ.
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Preview is Apple’s top-secret tool for viewing and manipulating PDF files, graphics, and more. The secret, however, isn’t that it exists (look in your Applications folder) but that this seemly simple program harbors tons of advanced features. You can use Preview to annotate PDFs, delete or rearrange PDF pages, crop images, and more. Here’s an overview of the recent additions to Preview that you may not know about.

Take a closer look



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Automator workflow of the month: One-touch tidiness

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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There exists in this world, two very broad categories of individuals—those who have taken to heart “A place for everything, and everything in its place” and then the other 97 percent of us. And while this majority may know in their heart-of-hearts that storing files on the desktop is a poor idea—because it creates clutter and can slow down your Mac—we do it anyway. And for good reasons. There is no more convenient place to put files you’ve dragged from an application or web site. And pressing Command-D within a Save window to point the application at the desktop is just so easy.

Regrettably, convenient though this may be, the accumulation of files eventually leads to chaos. You can no longer find files you need by glancing at the desktop. While you could vow to turn over a new leaf and file everything correctly, you and I both know that’s a pipe dream. These habits die hard. So rather than fight it, let’s just find a way to quickly clear the desktop so that you can deal with this cruft at a later time.

That way is Automator. With just three actions you can clear the deck. Like so:

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Deal with email annoyances

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Despite the world's rapid move to other means of communication—text, instant messaging, and social networking services—we still rely on email. Given email's importance and how long the technology has been around, it’s surprising to see the problems many people continue to have with sending, receiving, and filtering email. Let’s clear up some of those problems now.

Avoid embarassing message mix-ups

One thing that can create an enormous pothole in your road to success is sending a scathing message to the wrong recipient. For example, say you’re having a problem with the boss. You complain to a coworker about it in an email message, you carelessly overlook the fact that autofill has inserted the boss’s name (Jane Jones) instead of the intended recipient's name (Jane Smith) into the To: field, and you blithely press Send. Had you taken the following preventive measure, you wouldn’t now be cleaning out your desk.

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Troubleshoot your wireless network with Wi-Fi Diagnostics

Glenn Fleishman Senior Contributor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Glenn Fleishman writes about technology crossed with culture for The Economist's Babbage blog as G.F., and is a senior contributor to Macworld. He is the author of many books in the Take Control series.
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When it comes to helping you troubleshoot wireless networking problems, Mac OS X can't seem to make up its mind. The old Network Utility was appropriate primarily for network gurus. OS X 10.4 came with Network Diagnostics, which took a user-friendlier hand-holding approach. Lion added Wi-Fi Diagnostics, but hid it away; it was largely intended to be used by AppleCare technicians or Apple Store Geniuses, who’d use it to generate detailed log reports. Now Mountain Lion comes with a network tool—a revised version of Wi-Fi Diagnostics—that’s once again intended for regular end users, not just network experts.

Wi-Fi Diagnostics can help you figure out why your Mac’s Wi-Fi adapter isn’t connecting to a network. It can also find nearby networks (which in turn can be useful for tracking down interference problems) and services broadcasting their availability via Bonjour. It also offers a graphical front end to some common Unix network tools, much as Network Utility did, but in a form that those without command-line experience can use.

To launch Wi-Fi Diagnostics, hold down the Option key as you click on the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar. That’ll open the Wi-Fi menu with an Open Wi-Fi Diagnostics item at the bottom; click that item to open the utility. You can also launch the program directly from its hidey-hole: In the Finder, choose Go > Go to Folder, and enter /System/Library/CoreServices/. You’ll find the Wi-Fi Diagnostics app in there.

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Mac classics: Confessions of an Excel geek

Rob Griffiths Senior Contributor, Macworld

Former Macworld Senior Editor Rob Griffiths founded Mac OS X Hints. He's now master of ceremonies at Many Tricks Software.
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Many years ago—before many of you were born, I’ll guess—I began a long-running love affair. It has persisted through college, graduate school, a series of jobs, and moves to many different states. And yes, it even survived my wedding. I admit it: I love Excel.

Sure, I’ve been tempted over the years by the glitz of Numbers, the sheer power of Ragtime, and the freeness of OpenOffice. But after the briefest of forays with each of them, I knew they were not for me.

So why has my attachment to Excel lasted so long? For that answer, I need to go back in time.

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Eight great Gmail tips

When it comes to managing your email, Google’s free Gmail is easily one of the most efficient tools around. Over the years, Google has reinforced its unique approach and built bigger and better features into Gmail.

The result, however, can be daunting. Which of this email program’s many option do you actually need? Here are eight tips for using the best.

1. Show only your favorite labels

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Editing Excel files on an iPad

If you frequently use Excel to create and edit spreadsheets on your Mac, you may want to access the same files while you’re on the go with just your iPad. Although Microsoft hasn’t released an iOS version of Excel, you can still work with Excel files on your iPad if you’re willing to accept a few compromises.

View Excel files on your iPad

If you only need to view Microsoft Excel documents, you’re in luck; Apple’s iOS can display them natively. All you need to do is get the spreadsheets onto your iPad—for example, email them to yourself as attachments, or use an app designed for transferring and viewing documents, such as Avatron Software’s $10 Air Sharing, Good.iWare’s $5 GoodReader for iPad ( ), or Readdle’s $5 ReaddleDocs for iPad ( ).

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