With all the buried features and subtle changes hidden away in OS X 10.3 (alias: Panther), you’d think that Steve Jobs were running a covert operation. Sure, you know about ExposÃ© and Fast User Switching — but look deeper, and you’ll find that there’s much more to this cat than meets the eye.
To get you the dirt on your new OS, we sent out our own secret agents — men and women who get paid to dig through the inner recesses of OS X. And what they discovered surprised even us.
From working more efficiently, to restoring missing standbys, to uncovering hidden features, we’ll let you in on some of Panther’s best-kept secrets.
16 Ways To Work More Efficiently
As with our brains, few of us use our Macs to their full potential. We fumble through dialog boxes, repeatedly resize and relocate our windows, and generally work hard instead of working smart. But it doesn’t have to be this way. To quickly boost your Mac IQ — while also shaving valuable time off your workday — try out a few of these essential shortcuts for managing files, navigating windows, and automating repetitive tasks.
Prioritize Label Colors
For some Mac users, Panther’s best attribute will be the long-awaited return of Labels — a feature that was stripped from previous versions of OS X. Labels let you selectively color-code files and folders so you can quickly identify important or related items in the Finder. To assign a label, control-click on the item in the Finder and choose a color from the Color Label contextual menu. To quickly sort your files according to label color, just add a Labels column to the Finder’s list-view mode. (Select View Options from the View menu and activate the Label option under Show Columns.) When you click on the Finder’s new Label column header, all files and folders of the same color will appear together.
However, the Finder’s default sort order for Labels isn’t always ideal — it sorts according to the label’s name, not according to the order of the colors as they appear in the Labels menu. So even though you’ve chosen the color red to denote your most-important files, say, those files will be buried in the middle of your list. To ensure that a particular label color always ends up on top, use a numerical prefix when renaming your labels. Go to the Finder’s Label preference pane and type 1. Top Priority in the text field next to the red label. The next time you sort by Labels, your most important files will jump to the top (see “Color My World”). — rob griffiths
Use Title-Bar Proxies
You may already know that you can 1-click on a document’s or a Finder window’s title-bar icon to see a pop-up menu of the item’s path. It’s less commonly known, however, that you can use that icon as a draggable proxy for the folder or document. By clicking and holding on a window’s title-bar icon, you can manipulate it just as you would any Finder icon. For example, click on the small page icon in the title bar of an open Microsoft Word document, and you can quickly drag the document to a new location on your hard drive, option-drag it to create a copy of it, or 1-option-drag it to create an alias of it.
In fact, you can even drag this proxy to another application — dropping it either on an open window or on a Finder or Dock icon — to open the document in that application. For example, if you’re editing a Web page in BBEdit, you can drag the document’s title-bar icon to any Web browser to quickly view your work. There is one thing to remember when you’re using this trick on open documents: you’ll need to save all changes to the document before OS X will let you drag the file’s icon to another location. — dan frakes
Resize All Column Widths
In OS X 10.3, Apple has changed the Finder’s default column-view behaviors. Now when you click and drag the icon at the bottom of a column divider, only the preceding column is resized. This is useful if you need to quickly expand a truncated file name. If you want to resize all the columns at once — to fit more columns in a window, for example — hold down the option key while adjusting the column width. — rg
If you need to print a class assignment or a project file before running out the door, there’s no reason to waste time waiting for the application to start up. Thanks to Panther’s revival of desktop printers, you can now drag the needed file onto your printer’s icon and start printing immediately. (Some applications will still require that you go through a Print dialog box.) To create a desktop printer, launch Printer Setup Utility (Applications: Utilities), select the desired printer, and choose Create Desktop Printer from the Printer menu. The resulting dialog box will ask you to name the printer and to specify a location for the printer’s icon. Despite the command’s name, you don’t have to place the desktop printer on your desktop. You also can drag the printer icon into your Dock or to the Finder window’s sidebar for even easier access (see “Print on Demand”). Double-click on the printer icon to view your print queue and to manage print jobs. — df
Work with Docked Items
Panther makes it easier than ever to open, move, or duplicate files and folders stored in the documents side of the Dock. For example, say you keep an often needed PDF form in your Dock. In Panther, you can quickly open that file in Apple’s Preview, or in Adobe Acrobat or Photoshop, and you can even attach it to an e-mail message — by 1-clicking on its Dock icon and dragging it to the desired application. If you press the option key while 1-dragging the icon from the Dock, Panther will create an alias of the item in the currently selected folder. To fully copy the item into the selected folder, 1-click on the Dock icon, drag it a short distance from the Dock, press the option key, release the 1 key, and then let go. — rg
Automate Finder Tasks with Script Editor
Even very productive Mac users spend an inordinate amount of time performing the same small tasks again and again — opening folders, changing views, and so on. Although AppleScript, Apple’s built-in scripting language, can help by automating these routines, its unintuitive syntax often discourages beginners from taking advantage of its powerful features. In Panther, however, Apple has helped to break down this barrier by making the Finder a recordable application — so you can use Script Editor to record your actions and let it create the necessary script for you.
For instance, if you like to leave your Documents folder sorted by name but often need to find the most-recent files in it, you can record a script that automatically opens the folder and sorts it by date. To do this, launch Script Editor (in Applications: AppleScript) and click on the Record button. Switch to the Finder, and then hold down the 1 key while double-clicking on your Documents folder (this opens the folder in a new Finder window). Set the window to list-view mode if necessary, and then click on the Date column header. Switch back to Script Editor and click on the Record button again to stop recording. You should see a completed script — reflecting the actions you just performed — in the Script Editor window. Select File: Save, give the script a name (View Docs By Date, for example), set the File Format menu to Application, and then select a location for your saved script.
To use the script, just double-click on its name — the Documents window should then pop up and sort itself by date. You may even want to drag the script to the Finder’s sidebar window for easy access.
Not every action in the Finder is recordable. If you don’t see an action you’ve taken reflected in the Script Editor window, it’s not supported. — rg
Jump to Any System Preferences Pane
If you spend a lot of time in System Preferences — switching between networks, starting and stopping services such as file sharing, or changing your screen saver — here’s a way to avoid opening the entire System Preferences window and instead jump directly to the preference pane you need.
Open System Preferences; then hide the application by pressing 1-H. (Unlike previous versions of OS X, Panther automatically quits System Preferences when you close the window.) When you need to return to a preference pane, just click and hold the System Preferences Dock icon: you’ll be able to choose from a pop-up list of every preference pane (see “Jump to It!”). — rg
Drag Images from Preview’s Drawer
In earlier versions of OS X, Preview offered a great way to quickly view several images at once — a side drawer popped out from the window and displayed thumbnails of each selected image, so you could jump from one to the next for fast comparison. But if you then wanted to refine those photos in an image editor such as Photoshop, you had to close Preview and locate the files in the Finder. In Panther, you can simply drag thumbnail images from the drawer, just as you would drag icons in the Finder. Drag them onto the Dock’s Photoshop icon, and the images open in Photoshop, for example, or drag them into a Finder window to copy them. — rg
If you’re using Safari and you come across a word or phrase that you don’t understand or that you want to know more about, you can use it as a Google search term without retyping it in Safari’s search box. Just highlight the word or phrase with the cursor, control-click, and choose Google Search from the contextual menu. VoilÃ ! Up pop your search results. This great feature isn’t new, but it’s often overlooked. — kelly lunsford
Keep to the Keyboard
One of the most effective ways to steal back precious time — and reduce the likelihood of repetitive strain injuries — is to stop reaching for your mouse. All that clicking, dragging, and scrolling can seriously add up over the course of a day — time better spent knocking back lattes at the coffee shop.
In Panther, you can access almost any menu, command, or dialog box without ever taking your hands off the keyboard. For example, pressing 1-, (comma) calls up the Preferences window for the current application, and pressing 1-T automatically adds the selected item to the Finder’s sidebar. (For a comprehensive list of systemwide keyboard shortcuts, open Mac Help from the Help menu and search for Keyboard Shortcuts.)
Here are quick ways to harness the power of Panther’s keyboard shortcuts:
Quickly Navigate the Find Dialog Box
If you use the Search In Specific Places option in Finder’s Find dialog box — to limit a file search to a specific drive or folder, for instance — you can press the tab key to highlight different search locations, and the spacebar to turn the locations on and off. Once you’ve indicated which places to search, press control-tab to leave the Specific Places menu and jump to the next input field.
Stop Scrolling through Menus
You probably know that you can quickly navigate through open Finder windows by pressing the first couple of letters in the name of any listed folder or file (press D-O to highlight your Documents folder, for example). In Panther, this rule also applies to contextual menus, Open and Save dialog boxes, and most application menus. Control-click on any item in the Finder and press G-E to open a Get Info window, M-A to make an alias, and so on.
Customize Keyboard Shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts won’t help you much if you can’t remember what they are, or if they don’t exist for the commands you use most often. Well, no more excuses: Panther lets you define your own keyboard shortcuts for almost any command in any application. For example, the Finder’s Secure Empty Trash feature — which writes over deleted data so that no one can retrieve it — is very useful, but it isn’t accessible via a keyboard shortcut. However, a quick trip to the Keyboard Shortcuts area of the Keyboard & Mouse preference pane can take care of this oversight.
In Keyboard Shortcuts, click on the plus-sign (+) button to add a new shortcut. In the resulting dialog box, select Finder from the Application menu and, in the Menu Title field, enter the name of the command you want to assign a shortcut to — in this example, you’d type Secure Empty Trash. (You must type the exact name of the command as it appears in the Finder.) Then decide what keyboard shortcut you’d like to use. The challenge is finding a shortcut that hasn’t been assigned to something else. In our example, we used shift-control-option-T (see “Easy and Secure”).
Once you’ve found an available keyboard shortcut, click on the Add button. Applications must be restarted before you can use their new keyboard shortcuts. With a Finder shortcut, you’ll have to log out and log back in (or use the Activity Monitor utility to restart the Finder). — rg
Tip: Easy Access
Pressing the tab key in most dialog boxes will move your cursor to the next input field. To quickly navigate other interface elements — such as buttons, pull-down menus, and so on — press control-F1 to activate Full Keyboard Access mode. Now when you press tab, you’ll cycle through all dialog-box items. Press control-F1 again to exit this mode. — kl
Be More Efficient With Expose
ExposÃ©, OS X’s new window-management system, lets you do truly useful things — such as clearing away all windows to access a desktop file, viewing all of your open windows at once, and bringing forward all of an application’s windows. But if that’s all you use ExposÃ© for, you’re not tapping into its full power.
Move Hidden Files into Hidden Windows
Say you want to move a desktop file — a recently taken screenshot or a file downloaded from the Web, for example — into a specific Finder window. But other windows cover both the file icon and the destination window. With ExposÃ©, this isn’t a problem at all. First, clear away all windows by pressing F11, the default Desktop key. Once you can see the desktop, click on and hold the item to be filed; then press F9, the All Windows key. Drag the item onto the miniaturized destination Finder window and press F9 again. When the Finder window springs to the foreground, release the mouse button to drop the selected file into the window.
Quickly Change Applications
Here’s a quick way to bring all windows of a buried application to the foreground: After activating ExposÃ© in either All Windows (F9) or Application Windows (F10) mode, press 1-tab to bring up the application switcher — a transparent list of all open applications (see “Switch It Up”). While holding down the 1 key, repeatedly press tab to select the desired application. All of that program’s open windows will immediately jump to the foreground — still in ExposÃ© mode. This is especially useful when you’ve got a ton of open windows to sort through.
Combine Stickies and ExposÃ©
If you use Stickies to store important snippets of information but don’t like all the room they take up on your desktop, ExposÃ© can help you consolidate these electronic notes. First, press 1-M to minimize each of your Stickies windows to a single line of text. Pile your minimized notes directly on top of one another so only the top note is visible. When you need to access the information in one of the notes, just press F9 and then press 1-tab (or just tab) to switch to Stickies. ExposÃ© will automatically separate all your stacked notes, making it easy to find just the information you’re looking for. Select the appropriate note in ExposÃ© to bring its window to the top of the pile. — rg
16 Things You Didn’t Know Your Mac Could Do
Think you’ve already figured out everything there is to know about OS X? You may be in for a surprise. Even Apple doesn’t seem completely sure how many new features Panther has — the company says only that the number is “over 150.” Here are a few of our favorite features that tend to go undetected.
Create Double-Sided Printouts
For people whose printers don’t have duplexing features — which are generally sold as expensive add-ons — creating tree-saving, double-sided prints used to be an exercise in frustration. That’s because OS X didn’t offer an automatic way to print only odd or only even pages. Panther simplifies this process with a new Paper Handling option.
Different printers process pages in different ways, so you should experiment with a small sample document before tackling your entire 1,000-page thesis. In the standard Print dialog box, click on the Copies & Pages menu and select Paper Handling. Activate the Reverse Page Order option, and then choose Even Numbered Pages as the Print setting (see “Double Up.”) Print your job, collect the output, and then return the pages to your printer’s manual feed tray or to the main feed bin — in rare cases, the latter option may jam the printer. Open the Print dialog box again, return to the Paper Handling menu, and choose Odd Numbered Pages. Depending on how your printer feeds paper, you may need to leave the Reverse Page Order option selected. — rg
Completely Erase Disks
When you reformat a disk — a hard drive, a Zip disk, a FireWire drive, a CD-RW, and so on — you don’t actually erase the data on it. All you really do is erase the disk’s catalog, the information that tells the operating system what’s on the disk. Anyone with basic disk tools can still read the entire contents (excluding any data you’ve written over).
For a truly clean sweep, launch Disk Utility (Applications: Utilities), highlight the disk you want to erase, select the Erase tab, and then click on the Options button. In the Options screen, enable either the Zero All Data option or the 8 Way Random Write Format option. Reformatting with one of these options enabled will take a substantial amount of time, but you can rest assured that your private data will be thoroughly erased. — rg
Improve Presentations with Fast User Switching
Do you give presentations that require switching between applications — for example, from a presentation program to a demonstration of your company’s software, and then back again? If so, you can use Panther’s Fast User Switching feature to set up a seamless performance.
Start by creating a new user account (in the Accounts preference pane) for the software demonstration — be sure to activate the Enable Fast User Switching option under Login Options. Then log in as the new user and set up the desktop, Dock, preferences, and your demo application exactly as they should be when you switch to your demo during your presentation.
When it’s time to give your presentation, log in as the primary user and begin the presentation in Keynote, PowerPoint, or another program. When you reach the spot in your presentation that requires the demonstration, press the escape key to temporarily pause the presentation; then open the Fast User Switching menu in the top right corner of your screen, and log in as the new user. The screen will rotate to place you right at the necessary point in your software demonstration. When you’re done, simply switch back to the primary user and click on the slide-show button to pick up where you left off.
If you have multiple demonstrations within your presentation, you can create a unique user for each one — allowing perfect customization and smooth performance for each segment. — rg
Make User Switching Even Faster
To make the switch between different active users even smoother, you can eliminate the standard Login window and avoid entering a password. Removing this safeguard will make your computer less secure, but doing so can be a real boon if you’re a single user who regularly switches between different accounts — as described in the previous tip.
To skirt the Login window, make sure all users but the Administrator are logged out, and then open the Accounts preference pane. Select a user from the Other Accounts list, highlight that user’s password, and press the delete key. You’ll be prompted for your Administrator password. When you select another user or try to close the System Preferences window, you’ll see a message that reads: “You did not enter a password for this user account. Are you sure you want to do this?” Panther asks this question for good reason: leaving the account without a password allows anyone to log into your Mac and perform Administrator operations such as installing software. — christopher breen
Network Machines via FireWire
If you need to connect two Macs running Panther, but you don’t have an Ethernet cable handy, don’t sweat it — you can use your trusty FireWire cable instead. Here’s how:
Open the Network preference pane, click on Configure, and then select Network Port Configurations from the Show pull-down menu. Click on the New button, give the new configuration a name (FireWire, for example), and then select Built-in FireWire from the Port box (see “Network via FireWire”).
Repeat these steps on the second Mac. When you’re done, plug the FireWire cable into each machine, and make sure that the Personal File Sharing option (in the Sharing preference pane) is selected on both machines. To share files between the machines, switch to the Finder, select the Network icon in the sidebar, and then click on the Servers icon. You should see the other machine’s name in the server list. Double-click on the computer’s name and enter a valid user name and password. You’re now connected to the other machine. — rg
An Alternative Screen-Lock Method
If you’re concerned about prying eyes while you’re away from your desk, you can make OS X require a password to unlock your screen saver (do this in the Security preference pane). However, this means you’ll need to enter a password every time your screen saver takes over — even if you’re just sitting at your desk dealing with paperwork. But there is a way to quickly lock your screen only when you’re stepping away from your desk: use Panther’s Fast User Switching feature.
Open your Accounts preference pane, click on the Login Options item at the end of the user list, and then activate the Enable Fast User Switching option. (You can do this even if you’re the only user on your machine.) Your user name will appear at the top right of the main menu bar.
When you want to lock your screen, click on your user name in the menu bar and select Login Window from the pull-down menu. Your screen will immediately switch to the standard OS X Login window. Enter your password when you return to your desk, and you’ll be back at work right where you left off.
For even greater security, return to Login Options in the Accounts preference pane and set the Display Login Window As menu to Name And Password. Anyone attempting to use your machine will have to supply both your user name and your password. — rg
Take Pictures Remotely
With iPhoto 4, you can easily share photo libraries with anyone on your local network. But what if you need to share photos with someone who isn’t on your network — a client or a family member in another city, for example? If your Mac has its own, publicly accessible IP address, you can share a digital camera’s contents over the Internet.
With a camera connected and turned on, choose Image Capture: Preferences, click on the Sharing tab, and select the Enable Web-Sharing option. Note the IP address listed under this option (see “Share It”). Anyone on the Internet can open Safari, type that IP address into the address bar, and peep at the contents of your Mac’s digital camera.
In some cases, you can take this a step further and even control your digital camera remotely: you can spy on the room where the camera is, taking snapshots on demand. (Some cameras that support this feature are the Canon PowerShot A60, A70, S400, S50, and G5; the HP Photosmart C618 and 912; the Kodak DC280, DC4800, and DC5000; and the Nikon D1, D1X, and D1H.)
To set this up, return to ImageCapture’s Sharing preference pane, on the camera the Mac is connected to. Activate the Share My Devices option and select the camera. On the receiving Mac, open Image Capture and choose Browse Shared Devices from the Devices menu. Click on the disclosure triangle, select the camera, and click on OK. If your camera is one of the compatible models, the Remote Monitor tab will spring to life, offering buttons for controlling the camera — Delete, Take Picture, and so on.
If you click on the Remote Monitor tab, you see, at full size, whatever the camera is seeing; the image is updated every minute. (The pictures are blasted to you via the Internet but aren’t captured on the camera’s memory card.) Click on the light-switch icon to change the shutter interval. — david pogue
Get the Lowdown on Fonts
If you can’t remember where you got a certain font, or if you’re wondering where you might find others like it, Font Book’s font-information box may provide the data you need.
Font Book, Panther’s font-management utility, offers a wealth of useful information about the fonts in your collection. Launch Font Book and click on any font name in the Fonts column. Just below the font-preview box, you’ll see a small gray dot; double-click on it to reveal a font-information box showing the font’s type, its foundry, its family, and additional details. If any of the data is truncated, you can reveal the full content by hovering the cursor over the truncated words. In many cases, hovering over the Copyright line will reveal detailed copyright information (see “Copyright Overload”). — rg
Use iPhoto Albums as Screen Savers
In Panther, it’s easier than ever to use your favorite photos as a rotating screen saver. Just open the Desktop & Screen Saver preference pane, click on the Screen Saver tab, and scroll down to the bottom of the Screen Savers list. You’ll see all your iPhoto albums — including iPhoto 4’s Smart Albums. Select an album, set your timing preference, and then sit back and watch the show.
If you want to see pictures of your pet without waiting around for your screen saver to kick in, you can also use your iPhoto albums as a rotating desktop picture. Open the Desktop tab of the Desktop & Screen Saver preference pane, select the appropriate iPhoto album, click on the Change Picture option, and then choose a rotation frequency from the pull-down menu. Your desktop background will now change, using the photos in the selected album. — df
Consolidate Software Updates
Software Update is a great way to make sure that you have the latest bug fixes and feature updates for OS X and Apple-provided software. But if you have several computers running Panther, there’s really no point in downloading the same software updates — which can be very hefty files — on every Panther machine you have. Instead, use Software Update to save updates, so you can transfer the files to another Mac or archive them to CD in case you need to reinstall OS X later.
When you run Software Update (from System Preferences), click on an update and then select Install And Keep Package from the Update menu. Software Update will download and install the update, and it will save a copy of the installer package for later use (in Library: Packages). — df
Label Your Contacts
To print a simple sheet of mailing labels in earlier versions of OS X, you first had to export all your data from Address Book into a separate application that supported vCard data. Panther greatly simplifies this process by letting you print labels directly from Address Book.
Open Address Book, select the contacts you want to print onto mailing labels, and then select Print from the File menu. From the Style pull-down menu, select Mailing Labels. Then click on the Layout tab and choose the type and style of labels you’re using (Avery Standard 5161, for instance). To format your labels, click on the Label tab and specify which address entries to print; then select the sort order, and the font and color of the output. You can even drag an image into the Image box to place a picture on each label — perfect for holiday mailing labels (see “Easy Labels”).
When you click on Print, Address Book is smart enough to print labels for only those entries that have an address — preventing you from wasting labels for e-mailâ€“only entries in your database. — rg
Fix Faxing in Panther
Panther includes a new feature that lets you send and receive faxes from your modem-equipped Mac. (You can turn this feature on from the Print & Fax preference pane.) This is a welcome addition, but it doesn’t work as well as it might. Here are three easy ways to improve Panther’s faxing know-how.
Receive Fax Notification
By default, your Mac doesn’t notify you when you receive a fax — a frustrating omission if you’re waiting for an important document. To correct this oversight, control-click on the folder you store your faxes in (check your Print & Fax preference pane if you’re not sure where this is), and select Enable Folder Actions from the resulting menu. Then control-click on the folder a second time and select Attach A Folder Action from the menu. In the Choose A File window, select the add â€“ new item alert.scpt file and click on the Choose button.
The next time you receive a fax, a message will pop up offering to let you view it. Click on Yes to open the Faxes folder, where the received fax (saved as a PDF file) will be already selected.
Squash the E-mail Bug
Although the Print & Fax preference pane includes an option for e-mailing received faxes, this feature may not work if you’ve upgraded to Panther (instead of performing a clean installation). If you’ve configured Panther to forward faxes to you via e-mail but that e-mail never arrives, you can put things right with Rodney Yager’s free FaxEmailHelper (http://www.rwts.com.au/faxemailhelper). FaxEmailHelper not only ensures that the mail goes through, but also lets you specify the e-mail address the fax is sent from (to keep the message from being rejected for bearing an invalid address). It can even help test the e-mailing process by simulating a received fax.
Enable Distinctive Ring Fax Answering
Most regional telephone companies offer a Distinctive Ring service, which lets you assign as many as four separate phone numbers to a single phone line — each with its own ring tone. If you’ve signed up for this service, you may be able to use it to assign one of these distinctive rings to Panther’s own fax service, and prevent the OS from trying to pick up regular phone calls. (Note that not all Apple modems support this feature.)
To enable Distinctive Ring answering, launch Terminal (Applications: Utilities) and type sudo pico /usr/bin/fax. In the resulting fax-configuration script, look for the line that reads INIT=”-iZ -i&FE0&D2S7=120 -i&C0″. (This will be line 209 unless you’ve previously modified the program.)
Replace this line with one that reads:
Replace the n at the end of the new line with the actual Distinctive Ring number assigned by the telephone company. Typically, 1 is the normal ring, 2 is the first distinctive ring, and so on. Then save your work and quit the editor. From now on, Panther will answer the phone only when it hears the distinctive ring pattern. — cb, rg
Tip: Recent Convert
If you recently made your way to Panther from a Windows computer, you may be wondering where all your familiar controls are. Not to worry. If you know what it’s called in Windows-speak, you can use Panther’s useful Windows To Mac glossary to find it on your Mac. Press 1-? (question mark) to open Mac Help, and type Glossary in the search field. You’ll see a list of Windows features and panels along with their Mac counterparts. — kl
Tip: Use Colorsync To Shrink PDF File Sizes
One often overlooked Panther feature is the new ColorSync Utility (in Applications: Utilities). Even if you’re not a print professional, you can use this program to refine PDF files that you work with on a regular basis, such as image-heavy user manuals, to make them leaner, faster, and more manageable — all without spending a dime on Adobe Acrobat.
Launch ColorSync Utility, and open an image-heavy PDF file (File: Open). In the Filters section of the dialog box that appears, click on New. Double-click on the newly created Untitled filter and rename it Compressed. Click on the Details button, and set the Color pull-down menu to Images. Set the second pull-down menu to Compression, and the third to JPEG. Choose a Quality setting — for the smallest possible file, choose Least — and then click on the Apply button (located below the Filters section). Go to File: Save As and save your PDF under a new name. To see what you’ve done, return to the Finder and check out the new PDF’s file size — it should be significantly smaller than the original’s. In our tests, we shrank a 57MB file to 4MB via this process.
There’s much more you can do with ColorSync Utility, such as converting color images to black-and-white, and increasing or decreasing lightness. — rg
Die Another Day:
12 Ways To Restore Lost Features
In addition to bringing some great new features to the Mac, OS X 10.3 (like previous upgrades to OS X) removes a few features that some Mac users rely on. Here’s how to reactivate (or in some cases, rebuild) a few of Panther’s obvious omissions.
Return Favorites to the Sidebar
In earlier versions of OS X, the Favorites folder — located in the Finder’s toolbar — offered quick access to important files, folders, and servers. If you’ve mourned its loss in OS X 10.3, you’ll be pleased to learn that it’s not gone forever. To bring Favorites (and its heart icon) back to Panther’s Finder windows and to Open and Save dialog boxes, simply open the Library folder in your user folder, and drag the Favorites folder into the Finder’s sidebar.
To add aliases of new items to the Favorites folder, select the items in the Finder and press 1-shift-T. You now can use your Favorites folder as a repository for dozens of files and folders without cluttering up the sidebar. — cb
Create Your Own Apple Menu
Do you still miss OS 9’s Apple menu, which let you access your favorite applications, documents, and folders from the menu bar? You could shell out a few bucks for a third-party replacement — but why bother, when you can use OS X’s Script menu to build your own?
Open the AppleScript folder in Applications and double-click on Install Script Menu. A small script icon should appear in the menu bar. (You’ll end up hiding the Script menu’s default scripts in the course of this tip, but you can access them at any time from the Library: Scripts folder at the root level.)
By default, the Script menu reflects the contents of the systemwide Library: Scripts folder. However, you can also tell it to look inside the Scripts folder located in your user’s Library folder. If you don’t have this folder, create one — you must name it Scripts for this trick to work.
By default, the Script menu reflects the contents of the systemwide Library: Scripts folder. However, you can also tell it to look inside the Scripts folder located in your user’s Library folder. If you don’t have this folder, create one — you must name it Scripts for this trick to work.
To begin building your new Apple menu, select a favored application from your Applications folder and 1-option-drag it into the Library: Scripts folder in your user folder. This creates an alias of the original application. Now click on the script icon in the menu bar; you should see your aliased application at the end of the list. Select it to launch the application.
Repeat this process for any other applications, documents, and folders. Adding folders to the Script menu is especially cool since you can create subfolders within these folders to better organize contents — to keep your utilities separate from your applications, for example. But the Script menu’s power isn’t unlimited — you may run into trouble if you try to add an alias that contains hundreds of items. For best results, reserve the Script menu for items you use very often.
The last thing you need to do is remove all the Apple-provided scripts from the menu — leaving only the aliases you’ve added to the menu (see “Freebie Apple Menu”). To do this, click on the Script-menu icon and select Hide Library Scripts from the pull-down menu. — rg
Browse AppleTalk Servers
If you use AppleTalk servers, you may be wondering why they seem to have disappeared in OS X 10.3. In fact, they’re still there. But Apple has disabled AppleTalk server browsing by default.
To enable AppleTalk browsing, launch the Directory Access utility (Applications: Utilities), click on the lock icon at the bottom of the window, and then enter your administrator password when prompted. Activate the AppleTalk option and click on Apply. When you quit Directory Access, you should be able to browse your network’s AppleTalk servers. — rg
Add New Calculator Modes
Do you miss OS 9’s Graphing Calculator? Well, you can bring it back to life in OS X 10.3 — along with an expression input sheet and a hexadecimal calculator.
First, open the Applications folder and create a duplicate of the default Calculator application (this gives you a backup in case something goes wrong). Control-click on your duplicate Calculator and select Show Package Contents from the contextual menu. In the resulting Finder window, select the column-view mode (View: As Columns), and then go to Contents: Resources. From the Resources folder, drag the Graphing-2D.calcview, ExpressionSheet.calcview, and Hexadecimal.calcview folders into the PlugIns folder in the previous column
Launch your duplicate Calculator application. You should see three new options listed under the View menu: Expression Sheet, Graphing, and Hexadecimal. — rg
Set Default E-mail and Web Programs
In previous versions of OS X, you could change your default e-mail and Web programs in the Internet preference pane. But you won’t find these options in Panther’s System Preferences.
To set your preferred e-mail program in OS X 10.3, you now have to launch Apple’s Mail program. In Mail, select Preferences from the Mail menu, click on General, and then select an application from the Default Email Reader pull-down menu. Similarly, to set your preferred Web browser, launch Safari and change the Default Web Browser setting in the program’s General preference pane. — rg
Access Hidden Internet Settings
You may also want to set default applications for other types of Internet data, such as FTP transfers, newsgroups, compressed files, and so on. In OS X, these settings are stored in a single preference file — but Panther doesn’t give you access to them. You can work around this problem with the help of More Internet (mmmmh; Mac Gems, November 2003), a free preference-pane utility from Monkeyfood.com. After installing More Internet, simply open its preference pane in System Preferences, choose the desired protocol (ftp, news, zip, and so on), and then drag your preferred default application for that protocol to the More Internet window. More Internet even lets you change your default e-mail program and Web browser without having to launch Mail and Safari. — df
View Missing Software Updates
If you upgraded to Panther from another version of OS X, Software Update may not correctly display all your installed software upgrades — making it hard to figure out which ones you need.
To fix the problem, open your root Library folder, go to Logs, and make a duplicate of Software Update.log — for backup in case something goes wrong. To edit the log file, 1-click on Software Update.log, choose Open With: Other, and navigate to TextEdit or a similar text editor. Delete any entries that predate your upgrade to OS X 10.3 (Panther was officially released on October 24, 2003). Save the file and quit the text editor. When you open the Software Update preference pane and click on Installed Updates, you should see a list of all installed Panther updates. — rg
Give New Life To Unsupported Hardware
Does your favorite peripheral not work in Panther? Or worse, does your Mac not even let you install the new OS? Not content to let their hardware go the way of the dodo, a few developers have tried to solve these support issues and breathe new life into older computers and devices. Of course, as with any fix for officially unsupported hardware, you use these utilities at your own risk. Although many Mac users have had success with these workarounds, there’s always a chance of problems — most notably, system instability.
Install Panther on Older Macs
If you want to install OS X 10.3 on a Mac that isn’t officially supported, Ryan Rempel’s XPostFacto may be able to help (
). This open-source program currently supports a range of older Macs — including the 7300, 7500, 7600, 8500, 8600, 9500, 9600 (as well as clones based on those models), beige G3s, WallStreet PowerBooks, and a few others. Support for additional models is in development. Note that some Mac models have limitations when running Panther; see the XPostFacto documentation for details and troubleshooting advice.
Revive Defunct USB Devices
Although most USB input devices will work in Panther, you won’t have full access to programmable buttons and other features without a specific driver. If your favorite USB input device — whether it’s a mouse, a joystick, a game pad, or a trackball — doesn’t offer drivers that work with Panther, check out Alessandro Montalcini’s USB Overdrive ($20;
). It supports almost all USB input devices, and it lets you assign clicks and keyboard commands to each button.
Save Your Scanner
Many scanner manufacturers have been slow to provide Panther-compatible drivers for their scanners (or drivers compatible with any version of Mac OS X, for that matter). Thankfully, a couple of developers have come to the rescue.
VueScan, by Hamrick Software ($60;
), supports almost any flatbed or film scanner and includes advanced controls for refining your scans. You can download a free trial version of the software before you buy.
Another option is Mattias Ellert’s TWAIN SANE (
), a free OS X implementation of the open-source SANE universal scanner interface. Although its controls are not as polished as VueScan’s, it may be a good option for casual scanner users who don’t need advanced controls.
New Hope for Video Cards
If you’ve seen Apple’s promotional material for OS X, you know about Quartz Extreme — the graphics technology behind OS X’s eye candy. Quartz Extreme, however, is officially supported only by AGP video cards with 16MB or more of VRAM. If your Mac has a PCI card or an AGP video card with too little VRAM, check out Dangerous Wares’ PCI Extreme (
). This freeware enables Quartz Extreme on a number of ATI cards that wouldn’t ordinarily support it. — df
Tip: Fix Secondary Video Cards
Several Mac users have reported that Panther disables older video cards they were using to drive second monitors. Here’s a possible workaround:
Assuming that you can boot into Panther on your main display, launch Terminal (in Applications: Utilities) and type:
Reboot your machine. If all goes well, your second video card should be working again. But while this has worked for many people, there are scattered reports of machines that refuse to boot after this change is made. If that happens, you’ll need to do a parameter RAM reset. Press Command-option-P-R while restarting your Mac, and keep the keys held down until you hear three chimes. When you release the keys, your Mac should boot successfully. — rg