Think the Finder’s menu commands are simple and straightforward? Think again. Add to your desktop repertoire by using hidden menu (and keyboard) commands. All you need to make them appear is the right magic key: Shift, Option, or Control.
Since I started using a document scanner about seven years ago, I’ve scanned many thousands of pages and used OCR (optical character recognition) software to convert those scans into searchable PDFs. I’ve also written extensively about the paperless office. But when you try to reduce the amount of paper you use, you inevitably increase the amount of hard-drive space you use. I began to wonder what combinations of scanner settings and software would get the best quality scan results while using the least hard-disk space.
What sparked my investigation was a claim that some OCR apps increase the file sizes of scanned images dramatically, whereas others (Acrobat Pro in particular) shrink them. When you plan to store and read scanned documents on an iOS device, compactness is especially important. Unfortunately, Adobe’s $499 Acrobat Pro XI () can no longer be driven externally by AppleScript, which means it requires tedious manual clicking to perform OCR. Were other OCR apps really inflating file sizes, and was there any way around this problem without resorting to Acrobat?
Hundreds of experiments later, I came up with some surprising results. Read on for all the details or skip to the “So, where’s the sweet spot?” section for the bottom line.
I have a nice document scanner. I have great OCR and document-management software. I have a solid system for converting paper into digital documents. I hardly ever print anything. I even wrote a book on the paperless office. And yet, somehow, I still have tons of papers in my home office, and despite my best efforts, more appear all the time. What’s happening?
The old joke goes, “The paperless office has about as much of a chance as the paperless bathroom.” For the moment, let’s ignore the fact that paperless bathrooms are apparently becoming a thing. Is the paperless office really that hopeless?
The Macworld staff occasionally work on articles together. You're reading one of those articles right now. More by Macworld Staff
If you asked Macworld editors to name the technologies they can't live without, you’d inevitably hear about Dropbox. This file-synchronization service lets you access your files from anywhere—not just your Mac, iPad, and iPhone, but also any Web browser. It provides easy cloud-based backup, too. But all that’s just the beginning. Here are five of our favorite ways to use it:
1. Share big files
Anyone who passes around photos, videos, or other big files has most certainly discovered the puny file-size limits of most email servers. Dropbox can help. First, make sure you’re running the very latest version of the app by downloading it from Dropbox’s website. Then, in the Finder, find a file in your Dropbox folder, and Control-click, right-click, or two-finger-click it. In the contextual menu that appears, select Share Dropbox Link. (In older versions of Dropbox, choose Dropbox > Share Dropbox Link.) Select this option to copy a shareable URL for the file in question to your clipboard, ready for pasting into an email message or a chat window. Recipients don’t even need a Dropbox account to use links. There’s no quicker way to share large files.—Lex Friedman
Lex uses a MacBook Pro, an iPhone 5, an iPad mini, a Kindle 3, a TiVo HD, and a treadmill desk, and loves them all. His latest book, a children's book parody for adults, is called "The Kid in the Crib." Lex lives in New Jersey with his wife and three young kids. More by Lex Friedman
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. More by Christopher Breen
PDF is a wonderful format for reading documents, but once you move beyond reading, things can get complicated in a hurry. Thankfully, useful tools for working with PDF files are built into Automator, OS X's built-in workflow tool. Let’s run through a few of them now.
When I want to step away from my desk, I move my pointer to the top-left corner of my display. My screensaver activates and my screen locks. When I want to see if I have any messages in Notification Center, I move my cursor to the top-right corner and Notification Center appears. Dashboard? Who needs a keyboard shortcut? I just slip my pointer to the bottom-right. And to see all my apps in Mission Control, the bottom-left corner of my screen does the trick.
OS X’s Hot Corners come alive after you set a not-so-easy-to-spot preference. This lets you determine what actions will trigger when you move your cursor into a particular corner of your Mac’s display. Select Apple menu > System Preferences and then click Mission Control. At the bottom of the window, click the Hot Corners button to see a dialog box with options for all four corners.
How can Hot Corners save you time? I’ll take you through all the possibilities for this little-used, yet powerful feature.