A collection of miscellaneous tips on using Mac OS X Mountain Lion. Learn how to Save As, how to move files while working on them, how to set up multiple Time Machine drives, how to tweet from the Notifications Center, how to reorder the Finder sidebar, how to easily encrypt an external drive, how to email a web pages as a PDF and how to use LaunchPad to search for and launch apps. Also, find out the truth about pinning Notes.
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today’s episode let’s look at some Mountain Lion tips.
So there are certainly some big new features in Mountain Lion. There are also some tiny little improvements. Let’s take the time to look at a few of these.
So when you are working on a document in a pretty modern app like TextEdit, one that uses the new Mountain Lion features, you’ve got some new things in the File Menu.
You may have missed, for instance, the Save As choice that was there in Snow Leopard and everything before it. You don’t have that anymore. You’ve got Duplicate just like you do in Lion. But in Mountain Lion you can also hold down the Option key and Duplicate changes to Save As and now you can use it as you did in Snow Leopard and before.
In addition, you’ve also got some interesting things here like Move To. So you can actually be editing the document in the middle of it in TextEdit or Pages or Numbers or some other app that supports this and use Move To to actually select a new location for that file. You don’t have to go into the Finder to do it.
In addition, in the Title Bar here you have got the ability to click on it and you can see it brings up a menu with things like Rename, Move to, Move to iCloud, Duplicate right on there. If I do Rename you can see I actually type the new name right in the Title Bar.
Now the Notification Center is useful for a lot of things but did you know you could also use it as a Twitter app. If you go into your System Preferences and go into Mail, Contacts & Calendars, this is where you handle all your different accounts. You can set up a Twitter account here. Just hit the Plus button and you can choose Twitter. If you go into that you set up, of course, your password and your user name, and once you have that all set up instead of using the regular Twitter app you can actually go into Notifications and see a little click to tweet here at the top and actually tweet right from inside of Notifications.
So you’ve got two different new ways to get a web page off-line in Safari. One, of course, is Reading List. You may have heard about this where now if you add something to your reading list it actually downloads it and is available off-line. So you can read that article on the airplane after you add it to your Reading List before boarding.
Now another thing that you can do that you couldn’t do before is that you can email using the Share button. That’s not new. But one of the options here is that you can send web content and you can send it as one of various formats including pdf. If you do that it will actually bundle up the page into pdf just as if you printed and saved it as a pdf, and then you can email it.
Launch Pad also has a really cool new thing. If you go Launch Pad at the top you will see a search field and you can actually start typing right away and it will go right into the search field. So you can quickly get to the app you want in a similar way you could do it with the Spotlight menu before.
So you just launch Launch Pad, go in here and start typing the name of the app and then you could actually use the arrow keys to navigate further and then hit return to actually run the app. So if you were to actually set up a keyboard shortcut for Launch Pad, and you can see there is a spot for one in keyboard shortcuts right here. So you have Launch Pad and it is F7 here. So I can do F7 and start typing what I want and hit return and it will launch that app. So a new quick way to launch an app with the keyboard.
Finder sidebar has one new big trick. Before you had all these different things like Favorites and Shared Devices and things like that. Now you can actually reorder them. You can drag them around. So if you want to have your devices at the top you can drag it up there and your devices will appear first before Favorites and Shared and any other items you may have there.
Now getting to the handy accessibility functions has never been easier. There is now a new keyboard shortcut. It’s usually command option F5. That brings up this quick little panel here where you can access some of the most common ones. You can hit Preferences to jump to your regular accessibility preferences.
You may know about Airplay mirroring, the ability to mirror your screen on your Apple TV. But here is something really cool. You can actually go here to volume, of course you might already know you option click on volume and get a list of devices to go out. You can also go into System Preferences for this. Notice now that output devices now include Airplay. So on Apple TV I can also send the audio from my Mac to Apple TV. I can also do it with other Airplay audio only devices. So I can have a Airplay speaker system in the room and wireless send my audio from the Mac to that speaker system.
Now Lion added the ability to easily encrypt external drives using Disk Utility. But now you can actually do it right in the Finder. So here I have, in my devices, a few drives here. I can control click on one and one of the options, right here, is encrypt that drive. So live, with all the data on it, I can actually add a password to it and it will go ahead and encrypt all the data on there. Of course, you want to use this with caution and if you forget that password you can’t get to any of that data on that drive ever again.
This tip deals with Time Machine. Time Machine is a great new functionality inside of Mountain Lion that wasn’t available before. You can select a disk and add a disk to Time Machine. So you can actually back up to two disks. If you have both of those disks present, then basically it alternates, backs up to one and then the other, every other hour. If you don’t have them both present, like say you have a Time Machine back up at work and one at home, it will back up to the one available. So you can plug your MacBook into the back up drive at work and then bring your MacBook home and plug it into one at home and it will keep backing up to both drives which is very handy.
Now my last tip deals with Notes. But it’s kind of an untip. It seems like every Mac site out there is talking about how you can pin notes to your desktop and use them like you could use sticky notes before. It is not quite true as everyone finds out as they try this. Here’s what the tip is actually about. You double click on a note and it opens it up in its own window. So it’s really cool. This kind of does look like a sticky note. You can resize it. And if you close the Notes window you’ve got it right there. So you can actually go and do other things in other apps in the Finder and this little note will continue to be there in its own window. What you can’t do is if you go into Notes here and you quit Notes it doesn’t stick around. So it is kind of a useful feature as long as you realize its limitations.
So here is a look at some of my favorite miscellaneous tips from Mountain Lion.
Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.