Unix Tip of the Month
Presto! Web Sites Open All at Once
Have you ever received a long list of URLs in an e-mail and wondered whether you could open all the Web pages at once? Something like this, maybe:
Thanks to the Unix side of OS X, you can. Start by selecting all the URLs in the e-mail and copying them to the Clipboard.
Next, open Terminal, type
, and press return. Your browser will open a new window for each URL in the list.
How did this piece of magic work?
is a Unix command for opening files, folders, and URLs, so that’s what’s doing the browser’s work. Next, there’s a backtick (
), followed by
and another backtick. This is the tricky part. The backticks are a
marker. Basically, whatever is within the backticks will be executed as if it were on its own line, with the rest of the command. In this case, that’s
, a Unix command that pastes the contents of the Clipboard. So, in effect, each URL in the Clipboard is run through the
command, one at a time.
You may not need this trick every day (and it generally works only with pure-text sources, such as e-mail messages and .txt documents), but if you get a long list of URLs and would rather not click on them all individually, it’ll do the trick.
Reduce Search-Results Eyestrain
When you run a search in the Finder, a Search Results box pops up, showing each match. The results box uses space-efficient small icons and a 12-point font. That’s dandy for squeezing lots of results into a window, but it’s not great for those of us with aging eyes. It’s also awfully hard to distinguish icons at that size when you’re looking for one Word document in a sea of TextEdit results.
You can’t change the Search Results window to icon-view mode. (If you try clicking on the button at the top left of the window, nothing happens.) But you can alter this window by going to View: Show View Options. Pick larger icons here, and you’ll get larger, more legible results. You can also use the View Options box to change the font size, as well as to choose which columns appear in the results window. You’ll have to change these settings only once.
OS X 101
Tricks of the toolbar
Welcome to OS X 101! Each month in this space, I’ll address OS X fundamentals. Old Mac hands will know a lot of this stuff by heart, but if you’re new to either OS X or the Mac in general, you’ll learn tips and tricks that you’ll use every day.
We begin with a workhorse of the Finder, the toolbar. This row of buttons appears at the top of OS X Finder windows. If you can’t see it, select View: Show Toolbar. The standard 10.3 toolbar includes forward and back buttons; the view buttons, which let you choose the icon, list, or column view; and the Action button (it looks like a gear), which mimics a control-click on an object in the Finder.
You’re not stuck with the toolbar’s default icon and text size. Hold down Command and click on the oblong widget at the top right of any Finder window—with each Command-click, the Finder shows you one of six different toolbar options.
The toolbar may not appear useful at first glance, but looks can be deceiving. Start by choosing View: Customize Toolbar (or just control-click on the toolbar itself and pick this option from the pop-up menu). This opens a window showing a set of Apple-provided tools that you can add to your toolbar. Drag and drop the ones you’d like to use onto the toolbar. For example, add the Delete button, and you can move things to the Trash with a click. Use Space, Flexible Space, and Separators to group the tools.
The real power of the toolbar, however, lies in the fact that you can add your own files and folders to it, and thus have immediate access to those things. Close the customization window if it’s still open, and then open your Applications folder. Click on Safari (for example), drag it to the toolbar area, and hover your cursor there. After a moment, your cursor will become a green plus sign. Release the mouse button, and Safari will appear on the toolbar. You can now launch Safari with one click. You can do the same thing with folders (for one-click navigation and for easily dragging files into a new folder) and documents (open a new file with one click).
To tidy things up a bit, hold down the Command key to rearrange anything on the toolbar. To remove an item, just Command-drag it off the toolbar. (It’s OK—you’re not deleting the original.)