Mac tips

Rename Multiple Items at Once

This one might not be useful for everyone but it can be a lifesaver for someone who really needs it. As the heading suggests, you can rename multiple files on your Mac in a single action. I take a lot of screenshots on a daily basis, and renaming them in batches saves me a lot of time. To rename multiple files at once, first, select all the files and then right click (control + click / secondary click). From the right-click menu, select the “Rename multiple items” option, as shown in the picture below. A popup menu will open. Here select the option shown in the picture below and enter the name you want to use in the custom name field. Since I am using this as a test, I will just use the word test. Now, click on the Rename button. Now, all the files will be renamed using the word test followed by a number. (Test1, Test2, Test3, and so on). This feature will save a lot of your time when you need to crudely rename files for organizing them.

Organize Your Files With Tags and Stacks

While we are on the topic of organizing files, I want to show you how you can easily organize and access files using tags and stacks. In its most basic forms tags are colored dots which can be assigned to any file or folder. If you open your Finder window, you will see a Tags menu in the left bar. Once you assign a tag to a file, it can be quickly accessed by clicking on its respective tag in the Finder window. This is extremely helpful if you want to access multiple files in a place without moving them outside their parent folder. For example, I will assign the Red tag to all the screenshots I just took. To assign the tag I will just right click on them and choose the read tag. Also, since I am assigning the same tag to all of the files, I will select all and then do it. This saves me from assigning tags individually for each file. Now, I will open the finder window and click on the Red tag and you will see that all my screenshots are there. To make these files even more accessible we will add them to our dock using the Stacks feature. To do that, click and drag on the Red tag from the Finder window and drop it between the Trashcan and the line separating it from other items on your dock. You will see that the tag Red has been added to a stack. Click on the stack to access all your files which are tagged Red. This is an easy way to organize and access your files.

Take Screenshots in JPG Format

If you take a lot of screenshots on Mac, you must know that your Mac takes screenshots in PNG format. Although there are a lot of advantages of keeping photos in PNG format (for one, it is lossless), it also comes with a major disadvantage. PNG format images take larger space on your Mac’s hard drive as the file size is bigger. Hence, its always good to take screenshots in JPG format. With JPG format the screenshot quality is almost the same and you save space. It also makes them easier to share as the files are smaller in size.

defaults write com.apple.screencapture type jpg

It’s very easy to teach your Mac to take screenshots in JPG format. Just open the Terminal on your Mac, type the code mentioned above and hit enter. Now, every time you take a screenshot, your Mac will be taking it in a JPG format. In fact, you can replace jpg with pdf to take screenshots in PDF format. Also, if you ever want to go back to taking screenshots in PNG format, just replace jpg with png in the above code.

Mark the Hidden Apps

We all know that macOS lets us hide apps using the “Command+H” keyboard shortcut. Hiding app is a good way to keep your desktop clean. One major benefit of hiding apps instead of minimizing it is that you can use the “Command+Tab” keyboard shortcut to call an app back. To call up a minimized app, you need to hold the option key and release the tab key while command tabbing through the cycle. It's not as intuitive as using CMD+Tab.

defaults write com.apple.Dock showhidden -bool TRUE; killall Dock

However, there’s one problem with hiding apps. There is no indication which apps are hidden and which are closed. It makes it harder to call back apps as closed apps don’t come up using the keyboard shortcuts. Well, I am going to save this problem for you today. Just open Terminal, copy and paste the command written above and hit enter. Once you do that, you will see the hidden apps are a little greyed out than the rest of the apps, just like shown in the picture below.

Create Text Clipping

It’s an old but useful feature that not many people know about. On your Mac, you can select any text (works on most apps) and drag it to your Desktop or a Finder window to create a simple text clipping with .txt file format. This feature is helpful when you want to create a summary of an article or want to save important snippets from a book. Using the text clipping is also pretty easy. You can either double-click on the file to open it and copy from there, or you can directly drag and drop the file in any document and it will paste the text at the cursor head. Note that when you are clipping a text, it preserves the rich-text format. That means any text formatting and links are preserved.

Smartly Navigate Text and Use Smart Text Selection

Most of use the left-right-up-down arrow key to navigate the text. But a surprising number of Mac users don’t know about the keyboard navigation modifiers that make navigating the text a breeze. You can use these navigation modifiers to move not only by a character but also by word, by line, by paragraph, and even move to the beginning and end of the text. Here are the navigation modifiers that you need to remember.

  • ⌥ + ←/→ = move cursor by word instead of by character
  • ⌥ + ↑/↓ = move cursor by paragraph
  • ⌘ + ←/→ = move cursor to beginning/end of line
  • ⌘ + ↑/↓ = move cursor to beginning/end of all text Similarly, when selecting text, just add the Shift button to this combo. For example, if you use ⌘+Shift+→ shortcut, you will select the whole line in front of your cursor. Using these shortcuts is an easy way to navigate and select text.

Using the Delete Key Both Ways

Users who have just switched to Mac from Windows will surely appreciate this feature. Windows has two keys for deleting texts which are Backspace and Delete. The Backspace button deletes the text which is behind the cursor while the Delete button deletes the text which is in front of the cursor. However, macOS only comes with the Delete key. What’s even more confusing is the fact that the Delete key on macOS works as the Backspace key on Windows. However, there is a way you can use the Delete key both ways i.e. use the Delete key to delete the text both before and in front of the cursor. To delete the text in front of the cursor, a user  needs to hold on to the ”fn” key while hitting the delete key. You don't need to hold the function key if you just want to delete the text before the cursor.

Quickly Access Folders Using the Go Menu and Shortcuts

Another underappreciated feature which can greatly increase your workflow speed is the Go Menu which is present in the Menu bar in the default mode. You can use the Go Menu to easily access folders without first opening the Finder window. If you put in some effort to remember the shortcuts mentioned in the Go Menu, you don’t even need to use the Go Menu, and can directly use the keyboard shortcuts to open a window. For example, if I have to open my Downloads folder, I simply tap the keyboard command ⌥⌘L (Opt+Cmd+L). The picture below shows all the other keyboard shortcuts which you might want to learn.

Quick Look

Quick Look is one of the most used features on my Mac. Once you make using this a habit, half of the time you will not have to open any file as it allows you to see the content of a file without opening it. To perform the quick look Action, all you need to do is to select your file and tap the space bar once. For example, you can select a PDF and hit the space bar to quickly scan the content of the PDF without even opening it. That said, this feature does have its limitations. The preview that Quick Look can show you depends on the file you are trying to preview. If it’s a document or an image file, Quick Look will allow you to see the whole content of the file as shown in the pictures below. However, if it’s a folder or an eBook it will only show you superficial information such as the file size and last modified date. Once you learn where the Quick look is helpful and where it’s not, the feature will come really handy.

Force Quit Apps

While one of the benefits of using a Mac is that you rarely have any app which goes unresponsive, there are sometimes that it will happen, and when it happens, you will need to know how to force quit them. While on Windows you must be habituated to type Ctrl+Alt+Delete, the keyboard shortcut for force quitting on Mac is a little different. The keyboard combo that you need to hit is - Cmd+Opt+Esc (command, option, and escape key). Once you hit the combo, “Force Quit Application” box will open in a floating window. Here, you can just select the app which is misbehaving and click on the Force Quit button. If the keyboard combo is a little hard for you to remember, you can use an alternate method. Click on the Apple Menu at the top left corner and you will find the Force Quit option.

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