Taking out iPhoto’s trash
Q: Recently, I went through more than 2,000 photos in my iPhoto library and deleted the not-so-good ones in order to free up a little space on my hard drive. Alas, when I went to the Trash to empty it, none of the deleted photos were there. It seems that while I deleted them from the library, they are still buried somewhere on the hard drive. Where?— Gary Patterson
A: As you’ve discovered, your deleted iPhoto images don’t appear in the Finder’s Trash. Instead, you’ll find them in iPhoto’s own Trash. To truly remove iPhoto images from your hard drive, select the images that you want to delete from your iPhoto library and press the delete key on your Mac’s keyboard. This transfers the pictures to iPhoto’s Trash, which you’ll find at the bottom of the Source list. To really get rid of the images, control-click on iPhoto’s Trash icon and choose Empty Trash (see “Empty iPhoto’s Trash”). This gets rid of the images for good.
Notice that I said to select each image in your iPhoto library. If you select an image in an album or a slide show and press delete, you remove the image from the album or slide show but not from your iPhoto library. There’s a trick for this as well. Select an image and press Command-option-delete; the image will disappear from all albums and slide shows, as well as from the iPhoto library, and will then appear in iPhoto’s Trash. Again, empty this Trash to delete the image from your computer.
Make Word multilingual
Q: I am living in France, which means that I write in both French and English in Microsoft Word. It’s a bit time-consuming to go to the Tools: Language menu and select a different language for a document. Is there any way to develop a shortcut that will let me toggle between the two languages as I go from task to task?— Nick Brown
A: When you switch languages in Microsoft Word, you not only change the symbols that your Mac’s keyboard types (as happens when you choose a different language in the International preference pane), but also instruct Word to use a different dictionary and grammar checker. One of the quickest ways to switch languages is with a Word macro—a single command that executes a series of tasks.
In Word, choose Tools: Macro: Record New Macro, enter a name for your macro—say,
French—and click on the Keyboard button. In the Customize Keyboard window that appears, assign a keyboard shortcut for your macro—control-option-F, for instance—and click on Assign. Click on OK to begin recording your macro.
While the macro is recording, choose Tools: Language, select French in the Language window that appears, and click on OK. Stop recording the macro. Now create another macro that switches the language to English. This time, name the macro
English, assign it a shortcut such as control-option-E, and choose English in the Language window while recording. Once these macros are in place, just press the corresponding keyboard shortcut to change languages. You can also assign macros to toolbar buttons. To do so, click on the Toolbars button in the Record Macro window.
Another option is to create a style based on French or English. Choose Format: Style. In the Style window that appears, name the style, select Styles In Use from the List pop-up menu, and then select Normal from the Styles list at the top of the window. Click on the New button. Choose Language from the pop-up menu at the bottom of the resulting New Style window. Then choose the language you’d like to use (French or English), and click on OK.
The New Style window will now tell you that you’re using a Normal style and which language you chose. Modify the style as you like from there, and click on OK to add the style. When you want to switch languages, just impose the new style.
Switch off Spotlight
Q: How can I remove Spotlight from my Mac’s menu bar? I use Xcode for application development. On my 17-inch screen, I need the space.— Curt Douglass
A: If that little corner of the menu bar occupied by the Spotlight icon is your only concern, you can remove the icon this way:
Navigate to /System/Library/CoreServices and drag the Search.bundle file to your desktop. You don’t have the correct permissions to move the file (root owns Search.bundle), so this will make a copy of the file. Put this copy in a safe place in case you want to enable the Spotlight menu item again. Select the original file in the CoreServices folder and press Command-delete to move it to the Trash. You’ll have to enter your administrator name and password in order to move it. When you restart your Mac, the Spotlight menu will be gone.
To put things back the way they were, drag the Search.bundle file back into the CoreServices folder. Select it, press Command-I to bring up the Info window, and change its permissions so that Owner is System and Group is Wheel. If you want to get rid of Spotlight more completely, follow the steps just outlined, and then launch Terminal (/Applications/Utilities) and type the following:
sudo pico /etc/hostconfig
If Terminal terrifies you, try Fixamac Software’s $13 Spotless ( ), a utility that allows you to control Spotlight’s behavior. It includes features for disabling content indexing on particular volumes, deleting indexes, and switching Spotlight off altogether.
Change Office’s registration
Q: I just recently noticed that I made a typo when I registered my copy of Microsoft Office 2004. When I select Word: About Word (or the equivalent in any other Office application), my name appears misspelled after “This product is licensed to.” Is it possible to fix this?— Meng Thao
A: Launch Office’s Remove Office utility (/Applications/Microsoft Office 2004/Additional Tools/Remove Office). In the Welcome To Remove Office window that appears, you’ll see a Continue button in the lower right corner. Hold down the option key, and the button name changes to Remove Licensing Information Only. Click on that button to acknowledge that this is what you really want to do, and Remove Office will delete the files containing the registration information. When you next launch an Office application, the Office Setup Assistant will appear and prompt you for your name and product key.
Remove quotes in Mail
Q: From time to time, I want to excerpt something from an Apple Mail message, but if the message has been circulating for a while, it’s cluttered with vertical lines in the left margin (from forwarding it and responding to it). Is there a way to remove them?— John Christopher
A: For people who don’t know, those vertical lines represent quote levels in Mail. The more lines you see, the more times an e-mail exchange has included that bit of text. While Mail doesn’t offer a command to eliminate them in one fell swoop, you can remove them one level at a time.
Just select the quoted text you’ve excerpted, hold down Command-option, and press the apostrophe (’) key. With each press, one level disappears. (This is also available via a menu command—Format: Quote Level: Decrease—but having to invoke a menu command multiple times is less than convenient.)
Another option is to use Devon Technologies’ free WordService 2.6.1. Download this service and drag it to your Services folder ( your user folder /Library/Services). If you don’t find a Services folder in this location, create one. Log out of your account and log back in again. Now select the quoted text and select Mail: Services: Format: Remove Quotes. To apply even broader formatting changes (for example, to wrap text and remove quotes), select the text and choose Reformat (Command-shift-7) from the same submenu.
Finally, if you want to remove the quote levels by hand, select the quoted text, drag it to the desktop to create a text clipping, and drag that clipping into a new e-mail message or text document. This process strips the text of quote-level formatting.
Quickly switch audio input and output
Q: Do you know of an Automator workflow or an AppleScript that lets you easily switch the input and output of the Mac’s sound system? Going to the Sound preference pane while a Skype call is coming in is inconvenient.— Ralston Barnard
A: Such AppleScripts exist, but why bother when Rogue Amoeba gives you SoundSource, a free menu-bar menu that lets you easily change audio inputs and outputs (see “Choose New Audio Settings”)? Our Mac Gems meister, Dan Frakes, covered SoundSource in 2004 ( ). The current version (1.1) is compatible with Intel Macs.Empty iPhoto’s Trash: Does the sight of spring flowers bring back painful memories of allergy attacks? To really rid your hard drive of iPhoto images, empty iPhoto’s Trash. Choose New Audio Settings: The free SoundSource, from Rogue Amoeba, lets you select different input and output audio settings from the menu bar.
Back up on the cheap
You know you need it. You know you should want it. But the second the phrase “backup strategy” enters the course of general conversation, you experience a strong desire to lie down in a dark room. Don’t feel overwhelmed. One of the most common reasons people don’t back up is because they don’t know where to put their data. Here are two ways to solve that problem without breaking the bank.
1. Use What You Have Back up data to your internal hard drive, and you’ll lose everything if that drive goes kaput. So where to store your backups? External hard drives are fast and convenient, but they can be pricey. Don’t let the lack of one stand in your way. Nearly all new Macs ship with a double-layer (DL) SuperDrive, capable of burning as much as 8.5GB of data to DL media. Single-layer DVDs are inexpensive and can hold up to 4.7GB. And even cheap-as-dirt 700MB CD-R discs can store hundreds of small files. For rewritable storage on-the-go, a USB key drive that holds a couple of GB of data is both inexpensive and easy to transport.
2. Put It Online When you’re away from home, even if you have an external drive, you may not have access to it. You could use Apple’s .Mac service, since it includes a gigabyte of storage and the convenient Backup software, but that costs $100 a year. Instead, create a free Google Gmail account and use the more than 2.5GB of online e-mail storage you get to back up important files while you’re on the road. The free Gspace plug-in for Firefox makes it easy.
[ Senior Editor Christopher Breen is the author of The iPod and iTunes Pocket Guide, second edition (Peachpit Press, 2007). ]