Four Finder timesavers every smart Mac user should know

Topher Kessler , Macworld

Topher Kessler has been an avid Mac user since 1991. He was the primary contributing author to CNET's MacFixIt blog from 2008 to 2014 and currently posts at MacIssues (macissues.com).
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For some users, “organizing files” in the Finder begins and ends with creating folders and moving files into them. But there are a bunch of other things you can do to manage your files in OS X that, whatever your workflow, will make things way easier.

Smart folders

When you perform a standard Finder search by pressing Command-F or using the search bar in any Finder window, you can save this search as a smart folder by clicking the Save button in the top-right of the window. This will save the search as a Smart Folder which, when opened, will only show the files that match your search criteria. (You can also create smart folders by selecting New Smart Folder from the File menu.)

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Beyond the basics: advanced Mac keyboard tricks

Topher Kessler , Macworld

Topher Kessler has been an avid Mac user since 1991. He was the primary contributing author to CNET's MacFixIt blog from 2008 to 2014 and currently posts at MacIssues (macissues.com).
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If you’re like most Mac users, you probably don’t give your keyboard much thought: You press a key, it relays that key-press to your system, and that’s all there is to it. But there can, in fact, be much more to it, if you take avantage of OS X’s support for multiple keyboard layouts.

When you initially set up your Mac, the OS X Setup Assistant gives you the option of choosing a default keyboard layout. Many users never deviate from that initial choice. You can, however, choose a different keyboard layout any time you want. For instance, if you’re composing in French, you might be better off using AZERTY instead of the standard QWERTY. Same goes for composing in non-Roman alphabets, such as Chinese or Russian: You can switch your keyboard layout to any number of those. And many users prefer to use the Dvorak (or other alternative) layout for more efficient typing.

keyboard layout

Select your desired language from the list on the left, then select the layout you want on the right. Note that Dvorak and Colemak layouts are under the English language.

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Improve your presentation skills: the emergency road-show toolkit

Joe Kissell Senior Contributor, Macworld

Joe Kissell is a senior editor of TidBits and the author of numerous ebooks in the Take Control series.
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As I’ve traveled around the world giving presentations, I’ve seen Murphy’s Law in action, up close, many times. Much as I might prepare ahead of time, things still go wrong all the time. And every time something does go wrong, I add another item or two to my emergency toolkit, the better to be prepared for next time.

Here are some of the things that have ended up in that toolkit. If you have a big presentation—especially if it’s out of town, where you won’t have access to your usual resources—consider putting together a similar toolkit of your own.

Gadgets and software

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Improve your presentation skills: how to make smoother slide transitions in Keynote

Joe Kissell Senior Contributor, Macworld

Joe Kissell is a senior editor of TidBits and the author of numerous ebooks in the Take Control series.
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Modern presentation apps like Keynote and PowerPoint still encourage you to think in terms of “slides”: discrete, isolated objects to be presented one after the other, as though we were still using those old slide projectors to show film-in-square-frames slides. Our audiences may even expect to receive printed or PDF copies of our slides, one tidy image per page.

But that metaphor is a relic of an earlier time. Technology has moved on, and you can create far more interesting and appealing presentations if you move beyond the idea of “slides” and adopt a more fluid, seamless approach.

The best-known tool for presentations-that-are-not-slides is Prezi (4.0 mice), which gives you a huge canvas on which you place individual elements; you then pan, zoom, and rotate the view to highlight specific items. It’s a neat effect, but I prefer to downplay animations and transitions, not to call extra attention to them.

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The secret to great presentations: it's not about the software

Joe Kissell Senior Contributor, Macworld

Joe Kissell is a senior editor of TidBits and the author of numerous ebooks in the Take Control series.
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I’ve sat through countless dull PowerPoint and Keynote presentations. And I’ll admit that some of my own have been snoozers, too. Based on my observations of presentations by others, and on feedback I’ve received about my own, I’d like to share one simple tip for making your presentations better: Don’t focus on your presentation software.

You read that right: In some of the most successful presentations I’ve seen, I barely noticed what was on the screen. If your audience leaves feeling informed, inspired, or entertained, you’ve done a better job than if they leave talking about your fancy 3D effects.

Start with the message

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How to prepare for a Mac disaster

Joe Kissell Senior Contributor, Macworld

Joe Kissell is a senior editor of TidBits and the author of numerous ebooks in the Take Control series.
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No one likes to think about disasters such as burglary, earthquake, fire, the zombie apocalypse, or other catastrophes that could potentially wipe out your Mac, your other gadgets, and perhaps even your entire home or office. But these things do happen (with the possible exception of the zombies), and despite your best efforts, you might not be able to prevent the loss. You can, however, minimize the damage and inconvenience you’ll suffer—and speed your recovery—by making sure you’ve taken a number of commonsense steps to prepare for misfortune ahead of time.

Insurance

Let’s start with your hardware itself—your Mac(s), hard drives, monitors, printer, scanner, and so on. If you pulled into your driveway and found a huge crater where your home used to be, replacing that equipment will probably be in the top ten items on your post-tragedy to-do list. Will your insurance cover it? If you haven’t checked into that question specifically, this might be a good time to study your policy or chat about it with your insurance agent.

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How much of your job can you really do on an iPad?

Macworld Staff Editors, Macworld

The Macworld staff occasionally work on articles together. You're reading one of those articles right now.
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Tim Cook recently said that he performs 80% of his work on an iPad—and he thinks everyone should do the same. But is that really realistic?

The answer depends, of course, on the kind of work you do. Perhaps Cook spends his entire day working in email and a browser. If that’s the case, the iPad could be entirely adequate. When he was quoted, Cook was specifically touting the iOS-compatibility that will come to many corporate apps, thanks to Apple’s new alliance with IBM. So if you’re living in apps that your company built for itself, the iPad could someday be all you need.

But what about the rest of us, whose work tools lie somewhere between a Web browser and bespoke corporate software? To get a take on how well the iPad suits at least one specific job-description, I asked some editors here at Macworld, as well as at our sister publications PC World and Greenbot, to tell me: How much of your job do you currently do on an iPad? And how much could you do if you really had to?

Dan Frakes (Senior Editor, Macworld)

Most of my routine writing and editing happens on my desktop Mac. But I do use my iPad a good number of hours each day—in the morning, at lunch, in the evening, and during writing breaks—to read my innumerable RSS feeds, triage email, and perform other tasks that don’t require the complex workflows and multitasking I get on my Mac. For these tasks, the iPad is simply a better tool for me.

That’s not to say that I couldn’t do more on my iPad during the work day. I always have an external Bluetooth keyboard handy, so longer bouts of writing and email are easy enough. (In fact, I’m writing this on my iPad with Logitech’s Ultrathin Magnetic Clip-on Keyboard Cover.) An external keyboard is great for serious email correspondence, too. (Alas, I find editing on an iPad to be a chore because of iOS’s fiddly text select/copy/cut/paste mechanism.)

Dan Miller (Editor, Macworld)

I do use the iPad for work, but not much. I could use it more, but frankly I see no reason to: I have a perfectly good (if heavy) MacBook Pro, which I don’t mind lugging around and which I find better as a work tool than the iPad.

That said, I could use the iPad for more of my work if I had to. As others have pointed out, the bulk of my job involved processing text. For most writing and editing, I work primarily in plain-text format these days, for which almost any iOS text-editor would do. Ditto for taking notes in meetings and elsewhere. (I generally use nValt on my MacBook for this, syncing its plain-text notes via Dropbox.) For those outside writers who still use Word, we have iOS tools for that, too.

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