Save dialogs in Mountain Lion have two different modes: compact and expanded. Learn how to easily switch between them. The last setting is remembered, but you can also set a default using the Terminal. Also learn how to switch between saving to iCloud and saving to your local hard drive. You also have two modes in the Print dialog.
You can get and modify information about a file or folder with the Info window. You can also use the Inspector as a way to quickly look at information about any file or folder you select.
The quick Command+Option+Esc keyboard shortcut gives you access to a list of running apps and lets you force-quit the if necessary. You can force-quit several apps as well, or use this as a quick app switcher. There are also other ways to force-quit apps, though in normal use you should always try to quit an app normally.
The special All My Views view in the Finder gives you access to all of your user files in one list. You can arrange these to group them by application, size or date. You can also sort inside the groups and search to narrow down the list.
The OS X Finder offers simple options to compress video and audio files. You can use this to quickly re-compress these files before archiving them or sending them to others. These simple functions only work with some file types and offer limited options.
The Recent Places list appears in save dialog boxes across all of your applications. You can use it to quickly save documents to the same folder, even if you are using a variety of apps for the same project.
Learn how to properly eject an external hard drive or USB flash drive. You can also remount an ejected drive without needing to unplug the drive and plug it back in using Disk Utility.
The secondary click is also known as a right click or control click. It is commonly used to access context menus and special software functions. You can determine how you create a secondary click by looking at the TrackPad and Mouse sections of System Preferences. But you can always use the Control key to change a primary click into a secondary one.
The Finder's Column View may be the most versatile and useful. It allows you to see the current folder, and ones above it. It also gives you a preview of the file selected. You can quickly move between folders with arrow keys and it is easy to move files from one folder to another.
The Desktop is really just an ordinary folder where files are also shown on the Desktop background in addition to a normal Finder window. You can also choose to add items like disks and servers on the Desktop. It is easy to keep your Desktop clean and organized with the help of a few commands. But best practice is to use your Desktop only for temporary storage of files and organize them in your Documents folder as soon as you can.
Volumes are drives and other media connected to your Mac. You can view volumes in the Finder using the left sidebar, the Desktop, or in a Finder window. You can access them in several ways. You can also create a Dock Stack that gives you quick access to your Volumes.
In Mountain Lion you can now quickly search for apps by name in LaunchPad. This, in conjunction with the keyboard shortcut for LaunchPad, can make it quick and easy to launch apps. Organizing your apps in LaunchPad is limited, but the search function makes it irrelevant as you no longer have to look for apps by icon.
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.