Most Mac users use the Dock many times per day. So it would be worth the time to optimize your Dock. Add your most commonly used apps and remove others. Arrange your apps to make them easy to find. Add folders and files to the right side and set them to appear the way you want. Change your Dock settings to get the most from it.
Removing an external hard drive or USB flash drive is easy, but should be done properly by first ejecting the disk in the Finder before removing it physically. The same is true for iOS devices which can be ejected from inside iTunes.
If you are a recent switcher to Macs, you may be having trouble adjusting to the Apple keyboard and the way keyboard shortcuts work. Learn about the Command key and how to get to some basic keyboard shortcuts. Learn the Mac equivalents to how to change a file name, copy a file and Control+Alt+Delete.
While you may never need to go into your Mac's Library folders, it can be enlightening to know what they are used for and what is inside. This is where things like fonts, caches, preferences files and application support files are stored.
Spring-loaded folders are a part of OS X that many people may not know about or use often. You can drag and drop files onto folders and the folders will open for you to continue to place the file in the place you want. This lets you drag items in the Finder without first needing to set up a destination.
In previous versions of OS X you could find links to lists of recent items on the left side of the Finder window. You can add those back in Lion if you like them. You can create smart folders and place them in the sidebar to help you find files in ways that fit how you use your Mac.
Your short user name is both your account name and the name of your home folder. You can't really change it. But you can create a new user account and move everything to that account if you are willing to put a lot of effort into it.
Take a look at the different parts of the Finder window like the Toolbar, Status Bar, Sidebar, and Path Bar. You can show and hide these elements, as well as customize them and what appears in each one.
Lion allows you to merge the contents of two folders as long as you choose to copy those files, and not move them. You can also place files of the same name in the same folder as long as you let the Finder automatically rename the new files.
Preference files store your preferences and data for each application. Find out where they are and what they look like. In some cases you may want to delete or restore an old copy of a preference file.
If you want to view a folder full of photos in the Finder, you can do it using one of several Finder window views. You can also enlarge the icons, use Quick Look or Preview.
When your hard drive is full it is time to look through your files and determine what you should archive or just delete. Old video files and applications you are no longer using are common culprits. A drive that is almost full can slow down your Mac.
Performing quick by complex searches in the Finder and in Mail is easier in Lion because of the new search tokens feature. You can build queries using text, dates and file types right in the search field.
The MacBook Air and Mac mini have no optical drives. You can get an external drive for $79, or you can share the optical drive on another Mac on your network. Learn how CD and DVD drive sharing works.
Learn how to use the new Arrange By feature of the Finder in Lion. In addition to sorting your files, you can also group them by kind, size and other attributes. But using Arrange By can conflict with how you want to sort files in list view.
Besides large new features in Lion, there are many small changes. Check out 10 interesting and useful new things in Lion.
Lion includes Launchpad, a new way to find and run applications. You can view the icons of all your applications quickly by running Launchpad and flipping between pages of icons similar to the Home screens on the iPad and iPhone. You can organize your icons in app folders. Apps purchased in the Mac App Store are automatically added to Launchpad. But using Launchpad is optional as you can still run applications using the Dock and other methods.
Sometimes computer users stress too much about disk usage. They worry when they see varying amount of free and used space and their computers and when they notice those numbers change even though they haven't done anything. Find out what Mac OS X does that uses disk space on a regular basis.
A common problem for new Mac users is to find an application missing from the Dock. Or, to find that it only appears when the application is running. Items can also go missing from the Finder sidebar or the desktop. This video explains why these can disappear and how to get them back.
You can use Mac OS X's built-in file compression command to create a ZIP archive of a single file or group of files. This comes in handy if you need to send files to someone else or simply want to archive an old project.
Learn how to use all four Finder view types: Icons, List, Columns, and Cover Flow. Each has its own uses and options.
You can add tags to any file in Mac OS X using the Spotlight Comments field. You can then search for files based on those tags. This can help you organize your files when a simple folder system isn't enough.
You can use Automator to alter what happens when a file is added to a folder. In this example, new files added to a folder are then sorted into subfolders according to their type. You can add multiple actions to a folder and then determine which order they are used.
Learn how to replace a folder or file's default icon with one from another file, or one you create in a graphics program. Find out how you can use a free graphics program to create your own icons and use them to make it easier to identify folders in the Finder.
The handy utility Default Folder X adds extra functionality to your save and open dialogs. You can quickly navigate to folders already open on your desktop, jump to recent and favorite folders, set a default folder for each application, and make changes to files you see in the dialog boxes.
The Airport Location utility allows you to take snapshots of your Mac's preferences and then manually or automatically switch between these preferences. This could save time if you use your Mac in different environments or in different modes. For instance, you could create snapshots for work, home, library or travel and then easily change dozens of settings with just one action.
You can search for files in the Finder using exclusions to narrow your search. This can help when the results are too numerous. You can also use exclusions in iTunes and iPhoto.
You can launch an application using the Finder, Dock, keyboard, Terminal and even your voice. See how many of these you knew about.
Learn how to choose your own desktop background, use your own image as a background, rotate through a collection of images and other techniques. Also learn how to create a solid black background and use a third-party program to show video, animation or a web page as your desktop background.
Many take the file open and save dialogs for granted, but there are a lot of power user actions and keyboard shortcuts that can make these tools easier to use. You can navigate around your drive space with drag and drop, the keyboard, sidebar, the media browser and more.