Aliases are shortcuts to folders and files that you can place anywhere in the Finder, on the desktop or in the Dock. You can use Aliases to have quick access to folders and files, while leaving those folders and files in their original locations. You can create folders full of aliases for even better access to items on the Desktop or in the Dock.
If you are new to using Macs, then you may not know how useful tabs can be as an alternative to using multiple windows. You can use tabs in Safari, the Finder, and even inside of apps for document windows. It is easy to combine all windows into a single window with tabs, and also move tabs around and switch between them.
If you are new to Mac, then the uses for the red, yellow and green window buttons at the top left corner of every Mac window may not be obvious. The red button closes the window. The yellow button minimizes the window, placing it in the Dock. The green button can either take the window into full screen mode, or maximize the window to its logical size.
If you have a folder you need to access all the time, you can give yourself easy access to it in a number of ways. You can use the Dock, the Finder sidebar, the Finder Toolbar and an alias on the Desktop. You can also create an Automator task to open the folder and then a keyboard shortcut for that. Mission Control is another way to keep that folder easily available.
Smart Folders allow you to view collections of files that share something in common, even if they are not all stored in the same folder. You create a Smart Folder just as you would perform a Finder search. But the Smart Folder will live on as a saved search in any location you specify, or nearly the Finder sidebar. Smart Folders update automatically to include new files that meet the same criteria.
If you use Column view in the Finder, it can be useful to understand how you can right-size columns so they are exactly the width the need to be to fit the longest file name. You can also change the default size of all columns in all Finder windows.
The Trash is a temporary storage location for files you wish to delete. You can put files into the Trash in a variety of ways, and take them back out again. To delete the files, you must empty the trash. You can also set items to automatically delete after 30 days. You should never put something in the Trash unless you are absolutely sure you want to delete it forever.
You may come across instructions from time-to-time that ask you to access your Library folder on your Mac. But there are two such folders. One is in your Home folder, and the other is at the top level of your drive. These are used for different things. Most of the time, the Library folder you want is the one in your Home folder. Find out how to reveal it, even though it is hidden, and how to get to it quickly with a menu command.
If you are using iCloud Drive Documents & Desktop, then all of the files you put in those folders are uploaded to iCloud. If you have projects that you would like to only be stored locally, you can create your own folders in your Home folder for these projects. It is a good idea to create one Local Documents folder and arrange those files in there. This can come in handy for those that use large files where uploading to iCloud for those files is an issue.
You can rename a file many different ways on a Mac. In the Finder, you can click the file name after a file is selected, press the Return key, or choose File, Rename. You can also rename files in the app that you are using to view or edit it. You can click on the name in the title bar or choose File, Rename. You can rename files in the Finder or an app and the other will understand the change and follow along without a problem.
You can customize the toolbar in the Finder and many apps. You can add buttons, spaces and other controls. Some apps have a large selection of buttons you can add. You can also revert to the default set easily. See what is available in the Finder, Mail, Pages and other apps.
You can use the Finder or the System About window to quickly and easily figure out which files are taking up the most space on your drive. Either method allows you to find the files and where they are located. You can use this to find files crowding your drive that you may no longer be using.
You can use the Open With feature to open a file with something other than the default app on your Mac. You can also use Always Open With to change the default for that one file, and the Get Info window to change the default for all files of the same type.
It can take several steps to force a window on a Mac to cover the entire screen without using full screen mode. However, this one trick can get you there in a single step.
The Merge function in Sierra's Finder will allow you to merge two folders, keeping the latest versions of each file. The trick is to arrange the folders so they have the same name and use a temporary folder to place them both into.
A key skill every Mac user should master is how to select multiple items. In icon-based situations like the Finder or Keynote, you can drag a rectangle around items. In icon and list-based situations you can select multiple items using the Command and Shift keys.
There are many ways to quickly get to your most recently-opened files on your Mac. You can use the Apple Menu, the open dialog from within the app, the Dock, and also the Go menu in the Finder.
If you have a file you need to access quickly and easy every day, you may be tempted to put it on the Desktop. But you can use a variety of methods to leave the file in its proper place in your Documents folder, and still access it easily. You can place an alias on the desktop, put a shortcut to it in the Dock, or add it to one of two places in every Finder window.
You can save, rename and move files using the title bar while the file is open and you are working on it. There is no need to use the File menu for the most common file functions. You don't need to close a file to rename or move it.
If you find the Ally My Files view in the Finder to be useless, you may want to consider getting rid of it, or perhaps taming it by using the Arrange By options in the Finder. You can set the Finder so new windows show the Documents folder or somewhere else by default. You can also use Arrange By Last Opened Date to make the All My Files list something that is actually useful.