Cool things on Mac

Dictionary has been part of Mac OS X  since 10.4 and there is a feature that not many Mac users know about.

When you are in any of Cocoa (Mac native) applications you can hover your mouse above a word and press Ctrl-Cmd-D on your keyboard. You will get the Dictionary description for that word. Just move your mouse over to any other word and the Dictionary description for that word is displayed instantly.

You don’t need to have the Dictionary open at all.

A few examples where this works are; Safari,, MacJournal, TextEdit, Text Wrangler, Comic Life, iWeb, etc.  Unfortunately it doesn’t work with any of the Mozilla applications, including Firefox, Camino and Flock.

Invert screen

Another function that not many Mac users know is “Invert screen”. Just press Ctrl-Option-Cmd-8 on your keyboard and see your Mac invert its colours.

One could ask – Why would you ever want to do this? It comes very handy when your eyes are tired and some genius has been experimenting with background and text colours on his or her website … MySpace anyone?

It is also irreplaceable tool in photography, during the post production editing. If you have a large, bright picture and you are trying to locate any dark spots that you need to clone out (e.g. sensor dust, birds in the sky, etc.) it gets really tough on your eyes after a few minutes. Reverse colours and look for bright spots on the dark background – they stand out like Christmas lights at night.

It would be funny if you did this in Apple store and watched the salesperson freaking out.

Get 5 GB of free cloud storage with a a bonus 500 MB if you register via SilverMac, so you can safely back-up, share and synchronise your documents, photos, videos, music…

Slow motion

When you want to minimise a window,  simply click on the yellow button in the top left corner. The window quickly goes down to the right end of your dock using either scaled or genie effect.

But  if you hold down the shift key while clicking  the window will minimise in slow motion, approximately five times slower than the normal speed.

Text clipping

I love telling this to my friends Windows users. I ask them how would they save a piece of text from the document they are viewing at the moment, for example a web page.

Their answer is usually something like: “Oh, easy. You select the text, right click and copy. Then you go to the desktop, right click and select New | Text file, give the file some name and click away. Now you double click the file to open it, paste the text in there and save it. Simple, isn’t it?”

Then I show them how to do it on Mac. I select the text and drag it to the desktop and that’s it. Dropped jaws everywhere.

If you want to include this text somewhere, say in an email, you simply drag the file into your composed email. Simple as that.


Screen capturing

This is my favourite of the Mac goodies. There are few ways to capture the screen on Mac.

Firstly, you can capture the whole screen. Simply press Cmd-Shift-3 on your keyboard and the screen will be captured in a PNG file and saved on your desktop as something like Picture 1.png.  As of Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6) this file is named Screenshot-<date>-<time>.png.

Picture 9.png

You can also capture a selection, just press Cmd-Shift-4 on your keyboard and you will see a small cross hair selector on your screen.

Select the area you want to capture and let go, the file will be saved on your desktop, again something like Picture 1.png. As of Mac OS X Leopard (10.5) you also get the infomration on the picture size (in pixels) which changes as you move the crosshair.

And finally you can capture the active window. Simply follow the steps above and once you see the cross hair, press the space bar and you will get a camera icon. Hover the camera above any window and the window will get the gray overlay indicating it’s in hot-spot. You can even capture the window that is in the background, as long as a part of it visible and allows you enough room to hover the camera icon over it.  Click on it and the window will be captured.


Again, the file will be safely placed on your desktop as … good guess, Screenshot-<date>-<time>.png

However, if you’d like to capture the screen (or part of it) to the clipboard rather than to desktop, simply hold the Control key down while capturing, i.e. Shift-Ctrl-Cmd-4.

This is very handy when you need to paste it straight into an email or any other document.

See some More cool stuff on your Mac


266 thoughts on “Cool things on Mac

  1. Marco says:

    Here’s a cool one:

    Open the Terminal and type “KillAll Dock”, without quotes. Do not hit enter yet! Now, minimize a window while holding shift. As the window is minimizing, and before it is completely minimized, hit enter in the Terminal to kill the dock (don’t worry, it’ll restart itself). Have fun playing with the distorted window! Scrolling it is awesome!

  2. KP says:

    I like the invert color feature, but on my PowerBook G4 1.67GHz, I only get the inverted colors for a split second, then it goes to inverted greyscale. Is there a system preference or something?

  3. Graham says:

    Wow thanks man ! The Copy Text and Slow minimise are new to me thanks.

    You can also Shift + click a window that is minimised to slow Maximise it
    this feature is going to be a realy use full feature to me as i am running an old iMac G3.

  4. Big J says:

    Like “T” said, the highlight text and drag to desktop feature also works in linux, KDE, GNOME, FluxBox and probably many more.
    I’ve just tested it in windows xp (just to make sure :)) and yes, it doesn’t work…

  5. Brian says:

    What about the zoom feature? That’s pretty dang cool.

    Hold down command and hit the – or + keys. Or, if you have a scrolling mouse, hold down control and scroll.

  6. Oz says:

    Brian, In addition to that zoom, hold down command + Option and you will zoom wherever you scroll. ( just remember to turn it on in Univeral Access–In System Preferences

  7. Ed says:

    Heres another I found with some keyboard mashing:

    Command + Control + Alt + Eject Key = turn off computer (almost as good as having a shutdown key on the keyboard again!)

    I’m pretty sure this is right, at least my computer shut down and I haven’t bothered turning it on again to test again!

  8. rick rapp says:

    I like another version of the screen capture (Apple+Shift+4) hold Apple+Shift+Ctrl+4 and it auto pastes the selection to your clipboard, then paste it wherever you want it. Great for Photoshop.

  9. MacMonkey says:

    Those are great tips….but something your Windows buddies can boast is a simple cut and paste in their finder (windows explorer). Why for the love of god doesn’t Apple allow you to cut files from one location, store it on clipboard, and paste them in another location? So simple, yet so necessary. Instead we need to rely on a third party app like Pathfinder to do it. Come on Apple, stop inventing time machines and reinvent Finder…..

  10. Jon says:

    If you hold command while moving a file in finder, the file will be put in the new location and the file in the old location will be deleted. Apple’s keyboard cut and paste…for files.

  11. Craig Phillips says:

    Actually MacMonkey you can Copy and Paste in the Finder (and have been able to for a while – can’t remeber is it was 10.3 or 10.3.x) – I not sure why you can’t Cut & Paste…

    Probably because its file desctructive if you don’t paste and log out or suffer a BSD on Windows and that doesn’t jibe well with the Mac philosophy… (“like where’d my file go dude”)

  12. Dan says:

    I can’t use the dictionary function (Ctrl – Cmd – D) in Safari for some reason, but I can use it in other places such as Mail and Help. Any ideas?

  13. MacMonkey says:

    re: cut and paste in Finder

    Jon, yes that is a way of moving a file, but first you have to either bring up a separate window or spring load your way through what could be a jungle of pathways before you get to what you want, and oh…if you happen to let go of the mouse button before you get there bad luck.

    Cut and paste, hold the path in clipboard, find your destination then paste would be so much better. IMHO.

    Besides that, Macs rule

  14. linkinpark342 says:

    *holds super key+mouse 1 and drags from one corner to another* Hey check that out i made a png of what i selected on my desktop….

  15. glibberish says:

    MacMonkey: copy and paste of files works in Finder just fine! However, given how scattered I get, I’m glad Cut doesn’t work–too risky. Requiring a modifier and drag is a safety procedure. Makes for a more noob-friendly OS, too.

  16. trevc says:

    To copy your screen captures to the clipboard, just hold the control key as you draw your box, or if you’ve hit the space bar, before you click on a window with the camera …. saves having to clean up files afterward!

  17. Taylor says:

    How about this one…If you have a bunch of windows open and you want to see something behind the window your in but you don’t want to leave your current window, hold comand and click and drag the back window around. It doesn’t jump to the front when you hold comand.

  18. jaduffy108 says:

    Very useful imo…Target disk Mode:

    How to use FireWire target disk mode

    Important: Unplug all other FireWire devices from both computers prior to using FireWire target disk mode. Do not plug in any FireWire devices until after you have disconnected the two computers from each other, or have stopped using target disk mode.

    Tip: If you will be transferring FileVault-protected home directories (Mac OS X 10.3 or later only), log in as the FileVault-protected user and temporarily turn off FileVault. After transferring home directory contents to the target computer, enable FileVault protection again if desired.

    To use FireWire target disk mode

    Make sure that the target computer is turned off. If you are using a PowerBook or iBook as the target computer, you should also plug in its AC power adapter.
    Use a FireWire cable (6-pin to 6-pin) to connect the target computer to a host computer. The host computer does not need to be turned off.
    Start up the target computer and immediately press and hold down the T key until the FireWire icon appears. The hard disk of the target computer should become available to the host computer and will likely appear on desktop. (If the target computer is running Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, you can also open System Preferences, choose Startup Disk, and click Target Disk Mode. Then restart the computer and it will start up in Target Disk Mode.)
    When you are finished copying files, drag the target computer’s hard disk icon to the Trash or select Put Away from the File menu (Mac OS 9) or Eject from the File menu (Mac OS X).
    Press the target computer’s power button to turn it off.
    Unplug the FireWire cable.

  19. Michiel says:

    @MacMonkey: Am I missing something here? Afaik it IS possible to copy & paste a file within the finder without dragging (no, not by using the terminal). When right-clicking on a file you’ll get a contextual menu which has the option to “Copy “””. Then you can navigate to the place you want put the file and “Paste item”. That does exactly what you just described…

  20. Marksy says:

    I find that the “flash screen” when there is an announcment, alert or error.. its really usefull when an application in the background needs your attention and/or sound is muted.

    I think its available under Universal Access, on or off.

  21. Erik Jon Sloth says:

    A short evaluation (yes, I use Windows):

    – Really cool feature (my jaw just dropped)

    Invert screen:
    – Why on earth would you wanna do that?

    Slow motion:
    – Why on earth would you wanna do that?

    Text clipping directly to a file on the desktop:
    – Cool feature (no jaw-dropping, though)

    Screen capturing:
    – Cmd-Shift-3?!? In Windows you just press “Print Screen” on the keyboard, how’s that for a cool feature?.
    – Cmd-Shift-4 and then SPACE to capture window? Do you have to hurl a dead goat over your left shoulder as well? In windows you just press ALT+”Print Screen” to capture the active window…
    The secret key-combination CMD-SHIFT-3 reminds me of the early versions of WordPerfect (no, thats not a compliment :).


  22. LBE says:

    If you press ⌥ key while you’re over a widget, the (×) will appear.

    You can delete a widget without opening that + in the left-under corner of the screen.

  23. Alex says:

    RE: Erik Jon Sloth

    Invert screen:
    -For use in bright light or if its sunny outdoor to read txt clearer

    Screen capturing:
    – Windows needs you to paste the capturered screen into Paint, photoshop etc and save to req. file type… OSX saves the file automatically to your desktop as the file type you set it to

    Do you prefer it to be complicated?

    and finally

    Slow Motion:
    -Well if your 3D card renders your windows why not show it off? Its not the default minimise mode but windows doesn’t exactly use the genie or scale effect when minimising.

  24. Adrian Bool says:

    The invert screen option used to be pretty useful when it went to inverted grey-scale – but with the inverted colours it just looks ridiculous.

    Does anyone know how to revert to the old (Jaguar?) behaviour of grey-scale invert??



  25. B3NN3TT says:

    Re: invert screen-

    Black pixels use no power, which is a useful feature on a laptop. Battery life can be extended considerably by making all your white pixels black.

  26. Mike says:

    “Uh…. cool trick, the invert thing…. but how do you un invert once you’ve activated it? gulp”

    Actually, you can’t, it stays like that forever.

    OK, just kidding, just repeat the Ctrl-Opt-Cmnd-8 again 🙂

  27. anonymously yours says:

    To copy text and (some) pics from any webpage to another app, all you have to do is highlight the text (and pic) and drag (by the text) to any app in the dock that will show allowance, IE, drag to the dock and textedit and stickies and mail will each grey to show that it is eligible.

    Stickies will show the text only and you have to drag the graphics in separately, same in mail.

    Dragging to text edit in the dock gives you the pics and text and then you can save with pics as rtfd.

    btw, love the invert tip and am using it now.

  28. gareth says:

    Also when highlighting text, if you hold down Cmd and Alt and then select text you can highlight at will from within the body of the text rather than being bound by selecting whole lines – if that makes semse?! Drag to desktop works with this also. 🙂

  29. Nick says:

    Yeah. My wife’s mac got put in the negative color mode by one of my kids. Took me a while to get it out of that mode. Seems like if they are going to create that “feature”, at least they should make it easier to get out of, like put an icon at the top or bottom of the screen to undo it whenever in that mode.

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  31. Jason says:

    The drag text to desktop is also availble in Linux and *BSD, well KDE. And don’t forget kids, the middle mouse button pastes the selected text to where ever you like, no copy/paste required. This has been standard on unix for decades.

  32. ct says:

    Right, text-clipping to the Desktop does not work on Windows. But it does work dragging text into another app, which is where you want the text to begin with. What use, really, is putting it on the Desktop, only to drag it again into another app? Drag directly into your email, word processor, text editor, URLs onto browser, etc. These do work on Windows.

  33. Extra Character says:

    A dictionary is available in most aplication text windows. Highlight the word, right click, and a menu allows you to select the dictionary among other things. If you have a single button mouse control-click does the same thing.

  34. Josh P says:

    You can use the shift key to slow down a lot of other effects as well. Try holding shift while you use Expose to show the desktop or other windows. You can even use the shift key to slow down the rotate effect that happens when you use apple’s fast user switching. Try using shift to slow down other effects you think might work! It’s fun using the shift key to really show off a mac to windows users. I think that’s the number one reason it was put there in the first place.

  35. Chas says:

    Enjoyed your article but wanted to add…

    Re: Text clipping

    This section is not completely accurate. Windows has “Snippets” instead of text clippings. It is the same functionality, though more Mac applications impliment Text Clippings than Windows apps impliment Snippets.

  36. gregory says:

    On the screen capture, you can throw a control in the Cmd-Shift-4 and Cmd-Shift-3 and it will copy the image to your clipboard (instead of just making the png). Then you can just tab over to photoshop and paste the screenshot.. Cmd-Cntrl-Shift-4

  37. Dan Vine says:

    I use the “white on black” option (invert) daily.
    You can take your mac laptop outside and read normal 12pt font in Word or any text editor in direct sunlight. Haven’t tried this is on a new “glossy” mac laptop screen.

  38. dave says:

    Shift clicking works with expose as well. Hold shift and activate it (usually F9-F11) Of course I love expose because its so fast, but it’s fun to watch with a handful of windows open 🙂

  39. monkeyhumper says:

    I wasn’t satisfied with having PNG files as my default picture files, and there is a way to change the format in terminal. I’d look it up, but I’m too busy destroying my rods and cones with the inversion shortcut.

  40. John says:

    The “clipping” effect worked in Windows 98: select and drag a portion of text onto your desktop, and it would appear as a clip. I don’t think it worked in reverse (dragging a clip into an email), and the icon was also ugly (but then again, there were a lot of ugly things in Windows 98).

  41. Rob says:

    On a MacBook(pro) you can zoom to the cursor by holding Function + Control (fn + ctrl) and using two-finger scrolling on the trackpad. Quite useful when you need it.

    It may also work on newer powerbooks as they had two-fiunger scrolling.

  42. Rob says:

    If you hold shift and use Expose or show the Dashboard it does it all in slow motion. And if you have widgets that expand & contract using animation. Those too take it slow with a shift click…

  43. BigJim says:

    Two comments on text clipping…
    1. Any Windows user who bothers to go through the right-click > new > text file gyrations is a newb. Put Notepad on your quicklaunch bar and learn the shortcut for copy and paste. Also, this doesn’t create a file if you don’t want it to.
    2. Is this really a good mechanism anyway? Selected text isn’t a “file” per-se, so Finder is making that decision for you. It’s not horrible, but it’s not perfect.

  44. carl says:

    If you add Ctrl to the screen capture key combinations, then it will take the snapshot and place it on the clipboard instead of to a file. So for example, if you wanted to take a full screen shot and e-mail it to someone but don’t care about saving it in a file for later, you could hit Cmd-Shift-Ctrl-3 and then in a new message window in Mail do an Edit->Paste (Cmd-V).

  45. Richard says:

    • To quickly and easily select a certain word but not any surrounding space or punctuation, double-click on it. It’s also possible to select a paragraph in the same manner by triple-clicking on it. Additionally, you can extend the selection by keeping the mouse button pressed after pressing it for the last time (the second and third time for words and paragraphs respectively).
    • To move to the beginning or end of a line of text, press command-left or command-right respectively.
    • The icon to the left the window title represents the file or folder which that window represents as a Finder object. For example, you can drag this icon into a folder.
    • To quickly navigate to a folder which is open in Finder when selecting a file or folder using a file or folder selection dialogue, drag the folder onto the dialogue.
    • To quickly see the definition of any word, position the cursor over it and press command-control-D.

  46. drew says:

    @ KP – Yeah, my powerbook does the same thing (pretty much same model, but slower). Still really cool, though, inverted gray-scale…

  47. Dis says:

    Also, if you hold the control key during any of the screen-capture sequences, the screen image will be saved to the clipboard instead of a PNG file on your desktop.

  48. hobeaux says:

    additional screen shot features:

    Command-Shift-4 + spacebar: This allows you to capture a single window, dropdown menu, or what-have-you. The file retains the opacity of the original object (drop downs are semi transparent, windows are transparent in the corners)

    don’t want to get screenshots all over your desktop? then get screenshots put into your clipboard instead!
    control-command-shift-3: full screen capture
    control-command-shift-4: crosshair selection
    control-command-shift-4 + spacebar: window/menu

  49. Jethro says:

    Me and my friends did the inverted screens to all the Macs at my school one day (about 90) and the lab assistants could figure out what was going on. I later found out that they ended up wipeing out the user profiles on all of them and recreating them. That made me feel like an asshole. lol oops well thats my story

  50. Tim says:

    What about the system-wide zooming? Make sure you have zooming turned on in system preference, then press command+option+ “=” or command+ option+”-“.

  51. jj jukes says:

    Here’s an addition to the tect clipping feature.

    If you highlight text in Safari, you can than drag it directly to the Mail icon in the dock and it open a new mail message containing the text. This will also work with other applications besides safari, such as TextEdit.

  52. Atvaark says:

    About screen capture… If you hold the ctrl key in addition to the other keys (for instance, Cmd-ctrl-Shift-3), the picture goes to the clipboard instead of being written to a file.

    To remember that, just think about the C : *c*trl = *c*opy

  53. Gabe says:

    One more screen capture tidbit: Once you’ve determined which screen cap method to use, hold Control as you click and the capture will be placed in your clipboard.

  54. John says:

    As a further refinement on your screen captures, you can capture them to the clipboard rather than to a file. Simply add the Control key to any of the standard screen capture sequences and you get the screen capture on the clipboard (ie Shift-Ctrl-Cmd-4). Very handy when you just want to paste into an e-mail and not keep it around.

  55. VivaMac says:

    Microsoft used to have “OLE Scraps” that were like the clipping feature on Macs. This was back in the Win95 beta time period. It might still work if you open WordPad, highlight text and drag it to the desktop. It works in Windows 2000.

  56. laurie says:

    re: screen captures. if you hold down the control key when you click your mouse (after pressing cmd+shift+4), it will copy the picture to your clipboard (rather than create the .png file on your desktop). you can then paste it directly into photoshop, mail, ichat, etc.

    also, if you’re doing a cmd+shift+4 screen grab and change your mind, clicking the esc key will release your mouse from screen grab mode.

  57. Noig says:

    Add Ctrl to the screen capture key combos (Ctrl-Cmd-Shift-3, Ctrl-Cmd-Shift-4) and instead of saving the image to the Desktop, it’s saved to the Clipboard, ready for pasting into another document.

  58. tc says:

    i can’t use the ctrl cmd d in any app. I try to change itu to f7 (just like in macworld article) still nothing happen ??? mini 10.47

  59. cabtrix says:

    Thought you ought to know this – hold down Option before you click on a file (or selection of files) in finder, then drag and drop to copy. Use Command instead to move the file(s).
    So, yeah, there -is- cut-n-paste too.
    Finder also copies files when dropping across different volumes, but moves them when within the same volume (eg from a folder to another folder on Macintosh HD). Pretty cool, huh?

  60. Steven Wittens says:

    Note that you can turn the zoom feature on/off using Command+Option+8. No need to go into the system prefs.

    I love the zoom feature for watching embedded videos (nearly) full-screen for example. On sites like YouTube, it even gives you a smoother picture than if you used their own full-screen button.

    What would be really cool for Leopard though, would be if they would implement the zoom by scaling the entire UI, rather than just zooming in on the pixels ;).

  61. remz says:

    The text clipping feature certainly sounds cool but that still sounds like a lot of work to me. 🙂

    I use ShirusuPad for taking down notes. An awesome, elegant and tiny application that does its job and does it well.

    Just highlight the text you want to copy and hold down Ctrl+C for a few seconds. Shirusupad will quickly pop-up and you can either make a new note or append to an existing one.

    No more click and drag routines…

  62. Geert says:

    There is another option that is really handy:
    If you press the apple-shift-4 gives you the cross hair, that you can size to your likings, pressing space now, gives you the ability to move that selection around, releasing the space lets you size again, pressing space again gives control over the selection again, and so on     

  63. rich miller says:

    Here’s one that I just stumbled across yesterday.

    Holding down the “Command key” and a number key together will open websites in your Safari Bookmarks bar. So, the first website (the one on the far left) in my bar is “Bloglines.” If I hit “Command-1” then it’s off to Blogllnes we go!

  64. Yehudit says:

    You can also drag text from one Cocoa app to another. Actually you can do this with some oehr apps too – I can drag selected text from a site on Firefox to a Mail window, frex.

    I can also drag a browser tab from Safari to Firefox and it opens in Firefox. And the reverse. (Not sure if this is a Mac-only thing but it’s cool.

  65. squeak says:

    I always assign f1 to turn on Zoom f2 to zoom out and f3 to zoom in..
    makes some of them quicktime movies easier to watch…
    (do this in System Preferences/Keyboard) …

    also, most moving graphics (genie effect..etc) slow down when activated
    while holding the shift key down..when I show people these functions
    slowing them down helps them understand what is going on (rather than
    look like spifffy magic)

  66. Matt Yohe says:

    You can also sleep/wake your Mac with your Apple Remote. To sleep it, just hold the Play/Pause button for 5 seconds. To wake it, press play once!

  67. Stand alone says:

    One of my new favorite shortcuts select any word in any program, and hit cmd+shift+L to google it. opens in your browser. Fancy.

  68. Gijs says:

    Sure, Print Screen is all you need in Windows.
    But in newb-mode, I’d expect a button labeled as such to send stuff to the printer, not to take a screenshot. So the OSX key combo isnt all that weird, it just lacks ‘legacy keys’ such as Scroll Lock, Print Screen and Pause/Break.

  69. AppleConvert says:

    These are really cool tips. I recently bought a Macbook and loves it. But I’m having real trouble doing work related tasks on it, mostly b/c I can’t find menu mneumonics (those little underlines in the menubar you see in Windows).

    for example in MS Office Windows versions, you can press Alt-F, which drops down the file menu, the bottom of which lists the most recent files you opened. So you’d do say, Alt-F, 1 for the last file you opened. Another example would be in Excel you do Alt-D, F, F for autofilter. (something anyone in Finance/Consulting might do 100+ times a day…).

    To do the same AutoFilter in Mac version of Excel, I’d have to do
    1: Cmd-F2 to gain focus on menu
    2: press D for “Data” menu item..
    3: Press F,
    4: right Arrow to get to “AutoFilter”, then Enter

    is there a faster way? the above keyboard combo is so cumbersome that I might as well use the mouse. Yes you can try to assign your own keyboard shortcuts but there are just too many of these Keyboard combos to assign.. .for example Alt-DS for sort, Alt IND to define name ranges…etc

    advices would be appreciated. . just dont say use the mouse!!

  70. Kevin says:

    I found a website with a document I wanted to print, but the document on screen is dark green with white lettering. Printing it wastes ink and creates a doc that is hard to read or annotate. Wow, thought I, Invert Screen is just the ticket. The online site inverted to a much more readable black on white page; alas, when I printed, it still came out white lettering on green background!

  71. BDog says:

    Adrian Bool,
    Just do grayscale and invert at the same time.

    Disable the shortcut in Keyboards & Mice prefpane.

    Download Butler. Create a keystroke. That is what you want. Then give it a keyboard shortcut.

    If you take a screenshot of the inverted display, then print it, it will print inverted.

  72. Max says:

    Well, in windows if you want to save a webpage, you do save as and save it. As simple as that. And if you want to include it in an email, just drag and drop it the same way.
    I have to be honest, I bought a mac to give it a try and it is not any better than a pc. It is good, very good, looks good. But it closes doors to so many things that you can only do on pc’s.
    I am sure on the other hand you can do a lot of things on a mac you can’t do on a pc but…
    Well I am not gonna take the mac back to the apple store even though I have to say, yes i like it… but I wanna do use all the softwares that never seem to be compatible with a mac 🙁

  73. csaba j says:

    Well, i have a question. How can I do that cool thing on my MacBook, to get rid of the ridiculous startup sound? I mean without muting the overall sound before shutting it down the previous time. I just want to take that BAAAANG sound out of there (or replace it with something more pleasant, maybe).
    HELP please.

    PS: you can also mail me at bacsasixsixsix on the yahoo.

  74. Corpt says:

    Hi guys,
    If you take a screenshot on a Mac while in Inverted mode and then flip back to non-inverted mode, the screenshot also inverts back to normal. Anyone got any tips on how to stop it doing this? (If there are any). I don’t need it that bad, so don’t beat yourself up about it.

  75. Dave says:


    I want to know how i can switch between windows (when i am browsing with Safari), because when im using cmd-tab, it just switches between programs….
    Thats the only thing i really like about Windows….


  76. Macca says:

    Also in safari you can flick between tabs by pressing and holding cmd shift and then arrowing left or right depending which way you want to go through your tabs.

    macs rock… but i hate iphoto and mail.

  77. Primal says:


    wordpress isn’t taking the symbol :-pp

    so third time’s a charm 🙂

    @ aid…
    for me command-< seems to do the swithcing between windows in the active application

    dunno if it has anything thing to do with other international settings….


  78. Black Strobe says:

    Here’s another for people that use tabbed browsing. If you have a bunch of tabs open and want to cycle through them with you keyboard, try this: cmd + (number e.g. 1 or 2 or 3 to cycle through 1st, 2nd and 3rd tabs respectively).

  79. Primal says:

    Strange, hopping between differente tabs I use command-shiht-arrow left or right.
    If I do command + number it loads the page from my bookmarks bar

  80. Fairly says:

    None of this is new. A small investment of $20 for a Pogue would have revealed all of this. For us with more sense it did. For others who can’t find anything interesting to write about there’s the article.

  81. ecker says:

    ok, so nice, but the simple thing i try found on internet is:

    start screen-saver in welcome login window, you how this is possible.
    if user stay away wend mac os x are booting, the welcome wait for
    type user/pwd, is possible enable countdown script to start a screensaver??

    sorry me english not good like your tips/site…

    is this..

  82. Katalina says:

    Coolness ! These tips are fun .. and useful; thanks! I just got my new mac computer for christmas and i really like it . It`s the 20 inch .. it`s so fun ! And to think, I never liked mac computers before !

    Thankies !!

  83. Jon says:

    These are really cool! Just letting any of you with the new mighty mouse know if you don’t already, If you press one of the side buttons (and hold it down) , all of your windows seperate and if you hover over one it jumps to the front.

    Thanks again,

  84. csaba j says:

    thanks casimir.
    I downloaded it already and tried to use it but i could not run it… In the end it turned out that the downloaded file has the zipped extension but in fact it is NOT a zipped file :)) It works now.

  85. Ryan says:

    You can also shut down a mac by pressing Cmd+Ctrl+power button.This feature works great if your mac is frozen or if you want to restart faster.

  86. JARED says:








  87. SGX says:

    Wow these are intresting tips!!
    That saying :ounce you go mac their is no going back” is completely false – I built a computer for 1,500 dollars that is equivalent in power to a 3,500 dollar iMac and I have Windows XP, OS X 10.4.8 and Vista RTM Ultimate (64bit) all installed nativly and im very happy to switch around. I go into mac for basic internet searching and listening to music, I go into XP for advanced internet research that requires downloading files and gaming, I use vista for everything I use mac for and also for testing. I have to say my favorite os is still XP. There is not a single good game you can put on a mac and im not used to many of it features and i could work faster in xp.

  88. eddienosbod says:

    I don’t usually write to forums like this but have found this site really helpful.

    One tip I’ve not seen, that I love more than anything, is a special sort of desktop zoom… ITS MAGIC and much better for the eyes!

    Hold down ctrl and caps lock key – using two fingers on your tracker pad push forwards and backwards to zoom into the area of your screen where the mouse is.

    Enjoy! (thanks for the invert facility, fantastic)


  89. Rufus says:

    Get your own free psychiatrist!!!

    Go into terminal and type in emacs, after the introductory screen press shift-esc, then type in xdoctor and press enter. You now have your very own psychiatrist! note: she will say ‘type RET twice’ or something this just means press enter twice. She’s not a very good psychiatrist but she’s very entertaining.

  90. questing says:

    does anyone know a shortcut key for don’t save? you know, you’re writing an e-mail on Mail, you decide not to send it so you click APPLE + W but you have to go back to your mouse to click don’t save. Is there a better way to do this?


  91. Ike says:

    The first tip does not work for me! Does anything need to enabled/tweaked to make this happen. All the other tips worked well – great job on this writeup.

  92. ArieBelle says:

    OMG! You just saved me hours of confusion and frustration. Working in Photoshop I must have hit the wrong combo of buttons… and Poof… I was in Zoom mode with no Clue on earth how I got there. Searching and reading your tips I figured out that all was not lost… and a simple Scroll would put my Mac back right with the world. You know there aren’t alot of sites that come up when you enter “Desktop Zoom stuck” in Google! You’ve saved the day and for that I am ever greatful. Will link and check back for more tips often and tell my newly Mac converted friends about your site as well! Thanks again…

    Oh, and tell that windows guy, that he really has no clue what he is missing. I used windows previously also, but was smart enough to see the error of my ways =)


  93. Goobimama says:

    I know I’m late, but the shortcut for “Don’t Save” in that dialog box is “Command + D”. It is a screwup with OS X, cause every time there’s a different ‘word’ which relates to a particular command like, in iTunes, you have “Move to thrash’, ‘delete from library’, all of which can be done by command+somekey….

  94. Aaron says:

    For those of you who can’t get the Cmd-Ctrl-D Dictionary feature to work, make sure the Dictionary program is still in the first level of your Applications folder. I had moved it into a subfolder of the Applications folder and the feature didn’t work for me. Once I moved it back to the Applications folder, the feature worked again.

  95. Maran says:

    Yeah, I have the same question as Corpt….how do you get the screenshots that you take in inverted color mode to stay in inverted color mode? It’s kinda annoying.

  96. Mehrad says:

    Wow i just bought the macbook pro with the nvidia geforece 8600gt and i must say…WOW…i love it…i love the ilife 08 its soooo question tho guys…my friend tells me there is this trick where u put ur finger on the trackpad and just go diagonal across it…and the page will minimize (the whole screen) and come back to normal position when u go diagonal again….down anyone know this trick?

  97. Lars says:

    Hey! great trick but, why nobody on earth read the user’s manual that comes with the mac? I mean, when you First turned on your brand new mac, you just stay looking on it while it configures? i read the manual, it took me about 15 minutes and i learned all this things so I’m using this tricks since the very first minute of using it!
    I was a Windows user, i switch yo mac os and i WILL NEVER GO BACK, this Os is so much better!
    About the user’s manual, i think there in the USA the manual doesnt include this tricks isnt it?… i live in south america and all these trick are in the manual…. well I think I know every trick you’ve posted on here, so if anyone knows another please type it here!!! 😀

    Sorry the bad english but I’m Chilean, and here in Chile we speak spanish! you could try posting in spanish to evaluate your spelling 😀

  98. Adrian says:

    Regarding the comments made earlier about “saving power” on laptops with the inverted display, due to “black pixels” not using any power. That is incorrect.

    With LCD technology, dark pixels actually require a voltage for polarisation. Whereas, light (or clear) LCD pixels do not require an applied voltage, are not polarised and allow light through.

    btw… I’m a OS X user and these are some pretty cool tips.

  99. Troy says:

    Adrian it sounds like you are saying that pixels with color don’t require power and black pixels do? That doesn’t sound right at all. Please elaborate.

  100. andrew says:

    for some reason invert screen doesn’t work with me? running tiger on a macbook…

    have moved around the apple applications to different folders, but that shouldn’t make a difference (it did with dictionary though, thanks to a comment above).

  101. lisa says:

    anybody know how to get those multiple desktops going? I understand I can switch desktops–which is something i really wanna learn how to do.

  102. Erik says:

    About the screen color invert function: this can be used as a workaround to turn of the flash in Photo Booth, which is not possible to do in the application itself.

    If you take a picture in Photo Booth with the screen colors inverted, the screen will “flash” black instead of white. Quite useful imo, since the flash sometimes make pictures unnecessary light and pale in the colors.

  103. Lisa M. says:

    I am a new mac user, and I love your site. So full of information.
    These tips are super. I had no idea. Now I love Mac even more!

  104. daniel says:

    Here’s one i found with a bit of key board mashing. press and hold cmd-alt-shift-tab and it automatically takes you to the bottom of the page. Very useful if you need to get there quickly.. have fun

  105. daniel says:

    About the previous comment of mine if you do that when you are at the bottom of the page, then it takes you to the top.. good huh. Enjoy

  106. roberto says:

    In a finder window (list view), you have a list of files with a creation or modification date. Does anyone know a way to copy the file name and the rest of the info given in the columns? I need to to be editable text, not just an image. There are several applications (text grabbers) able to do it in Windows, but I found none for the Mac.
    Suggestions VERY appreciated, thanks.
    By the way, I tried using windows though Parallel Desktop, but then I find out that Windos gives me a different (and wrong) modification time!!!

  107. benbo says:

    a great way to access hidden functions of your mac is to download Mac Pilot. it is a free download on “”. Is is like a better version of system preferences

  108. Evan says:

    At the replies to MacMonkey’s statement about cut and paste:

    At glibberish (“However, given how scattered I get, I’m glad Cut doesn’t work–too risky. “) and Craig Phillips (“Probably because its file desctructive if you don’t paste and log out or suffer a BSD on Windows and that doesn’t jibe well with the Mac philosophy… (”like where’d my file go dude”), you apparently don’t know how Windows does cut and paste in explorer. It’s not nearly as dangerous as you make it out to be. When you cut a file, the file doesn’t actually go away; it just gets marked so that when and if you paste it, Windows moves instead of copies it. So if you forget about it and copy something else to the clipboard, or if the system goes down, your files will remain in their original location.

    This is a *little* inelegant because it works a little differently than other places where you can cut and paste (where cutting removes it immediately), but I think the utility of being able to more easily move files around far outweighs that.

    Finally, I like the reply from Michiel (“Am I missing something here? Afaik it IS possible to copy & paste a file within the finder without dragging”) who apparently doesn’t know the difference between ‘copy’ and ‘cut’.

  109. phil says:

    i dont know about any of you, but im using a logitech keyboard with my mac (10.5, but worked with tiger as well) and it has a print screen button, and if i hit it it acts as a screen capture button. dont know if it will work with any other non-apple made keyboards.

  110. John Peterson says:

    Hey! Nice website. I knew these tips, but had forgotten CMD-Shift-4 Space for window grab. Thanks! Your website has been very helpful to me!!

    John Peterson

  111. Carradee says:

    As someone who’s grown up with Macs, only the first two were new to me. Thank you for telling me how to reverse the prank a coworker pulled on my computer. I could tell what had happened, so I Googled it and found your post.


  112. Eh? says:

    I have the same question that KP said ages ago. And I don’t think it’s been answered yet but… sorry if it was.

    “I like the invert color feature, but on my PowerBook G4 1.67GHz, I only get the inverted colors for a split second, then it goes to inverted greyscale. Is there a system preference or something?”

    I have the same problem except that I own a different Mac. I was unable to find the exact name of the model (although honestly I only looked for about a minute) so here’s a picture:
    Mine is the Mac on the top left with the swivel screen and the round speakers on both sides.

  113. that guy says:

    Hehe… the other day i went to the local Apple Store and did the Invert Screen on all of the new computers…
    The sales people were not too happy…
    Imagine a bunch of fat sweaty guys in fancy shirts freaking out and button mashing untill the store manager came in and restarted the computers…

  114. that guy says:

    And the Invert Screen function is good for when you’ve been looking at the sleek polished white appearance of your Mac all day and you have a headache… and its fun to play Guitar Hero while inverted…

  115. José Figueroa says:

    i have one… kinda stoopid but…

    if you dont want the POP sound when unmuting or turning down or up you computer’s volume you can use shift-Volume Up, shift-Volume Down, shift-Mute and it will not POP at all.


    hey thanx for the post… some things here i had forgotten ’bout

  116. Gabby says:

    Wow dittity wowzers 😮 been a mac user since I was 8 10 (now 15) and I didn’t know any of this xD I’ve always thought screen shots weren’t possible on macs without the print screen button! it depresses me to know that all this time I could have made a screen shot 🙁

  117. Ryan says:

    Here is another tip for everyone that I found rather useful.

    To change the contrast of the screen.

    ctrl + option + command and start tapping the period key to change the contrast. To reverse the effect use the comma key.

  118. MacMan says:

    WOW GREAT tips i have one too press

    shift-option-then number punction-or letter keys and u will have different types of marks

    also do that same thing but don’t press shift

  119. Rich says:

    Invert screen is excellent for Astronomy. Much easier to get a star count when the background is white and the stars are black dots.

  120. Adrian says:

    Great list.
    Some i knew, some i didn’t. 🙂

    I found the comments very helpful too, some good stuff in there.
    Cheers all.

  121. Shev says:

    The most genius Cool-things-to-do-on-mac comments page I have ever read! Amazing. The phycologist thing you can do with Terminal is genius.

    Thanks all.


  122. joe bonney says:


    the screen grab thing cmd,ctrl and shift 4 when you get the crosshair was awesome, but for some reason i’m hearing the camera noise, but have no idea where the screengrabs are going anymore as they aren’t on my desktop

    any ideas?



  123. kindy says:

    Oh my god, I feel like such a retard. Ive had my mac for over a year and little did I know you could capture an app window like that. Dont tell me this is all in the manual? cos I gotta admit I didnt read it.

  124. dian says:

    well, what can i say? The first one is insanely cool. The first 2 and the 4th ones are the only new ones to me, but men, it’s cool.
    (I know the slow motion thing because sometimes my shift key gets stuck. lol. The screenshot thing is cool, but it’s a common shortcut for me)

  125. dian says:

    the terminal thing is good too. open terminal, Type emacs, press return, press escape, press x,, then type ‘snake’ then you have a good snake game =)

  126. Carson says:

    I just bought a mac today, after being a lifetime PC user… Thanks for the tips.
    I can’t tell you how cool the dictionary thing is. I ALWAYS copy words and then go to an online dictionary and paste it to see what it means… this is awesome

  127. Dan says:

    didnt see anything about the voice command. calibrate your mic to your voice. learn commands such as:
    tell me a joke.
    what time is it
    switch to: itunes ichat safari and so on

    this is a fun one when playing chess. hehe

  128. liljarox says:

    I have a cool trick!!!! ready instead of holding shift to make something upper case YOU HOLD CAPS LOCK!!!!!!!!!!!!! HAHA

  129. Charlie White says:

    The best part about this article is that when you set your computer to negative the picture of the negative screen goes back to normal XD

  130. joshua says:

    last year i went into the apple store and saw they were gettin ready for a demonstration and wen they werent lookin i went under the rope and did the invert colours and they all freaked

  131. Gen Smith says:

    Heyy, how do you have the pic in the Com, Shift, 8 thing. Cause i found this pic and it looks REALLY good inthe gold-ish thing! But it wont stay gold!

  132. really works! says:

    if you want to access your bookmarks quickly, then do the following. Say you have 10 bookmarks and you want to open the 5th tab[count them to be sure] then all you have to do is simply click: command+the number of the bookmark you want to open:
    EX. bookmark 5 is google: command+5 =!

  133. tdawg says:

    There are also some good Mac tips and tricks here.

    Also, be careful using shift+cmd+ctrl+4. I think it copies it and requires an Apple specific viewer of some sort to view it. I submitted an assignment to my professor after pasting a few images using this technique and the images didn’t show up.

  134. something that you'll never be says:

    yeah right, windows sucks! but it’s funny to see other people’s jealousy.

    mac users install windows to run shitty programs that their cheap PC using employers require them to use.

    I’m a mac user and I don’t want windows…

  135. Alexander says:

    Hey! I did the taking picture of the screen thingy and I hear the sound and everything cool but it doesn’t save the picture on my desktop and I don’t know where to find it. Even searching for it as .png or Screenshot or anything doesn’t help… I KNOW it took it but WHERE is it???

  136. Paul says:

    @jesus christ – Stop being a retard… I’ve been using a PC since the 286 came out and have just switched to Mac. There is no comparison between a PC and a Mac. Mac wins hands down. Build quality is second to none, design is second to none, but most importantly, it’s intuitive. I’ll never go back to a PC for my personal computing. Unfortunately I’m stuck with it for work. Yeah, I’m running Win7 under Fusion, but only because I need to run a native app when I work from home.

    Thanks for the tips – they’re great. I keep finding new stuff to do all the time. Now back to drool at my gorgeous 27 iMac

  137. shebang says:

    In addition to the ctrl alt com 8 to turn your screen a different color, you can also hold ctrl alt com and then the period or comma on the screen to make it darker or lighter. try it its really cool!

  138. alex says:

    if you hold down shift and press the minimize button on the top of the screen you can watch the window go into your dock

  139. dandan says:

    this is great. ill nver go back to pc. umm four fingers on trackpad swipe down->up goes desktop and up down does expose

    three fingrs left and right goes foward and backward on safari

  140. itsmeue says:

    Okay, this is totally bias. First, on a windows 7, text is the only thing you can’t drag and drop on a folder/desktop. If you want to do it, just go Right click, n-t, drag, and Ctrl-S and done! And also, screen invert is totally avaible on Windows Magnifier. If you want to screen capture on a windows 7, go Start-S and just drag. And whole screen capture IS ONLY ONE BUTTON ON A WINDOWS 7: PRT-SCRN button! There are many WIndows 7 features that many users don’t know about, like Alt-Tab, Switch to classic view, Start-Tab(SUPER AWESOME). (just for comparison)

  141. Lea says:

    i tried to do the first one, and when i press cmd+ctrl+D, nothing happens. i tried to do it while i selected the text, but all that made it do was make the cursor go away. anything i can do for it?

  142. darkrai says:

    well if anyone has osx lion when you run a mac-native app go to the edit menu and at the very bottom it says special characters they’re really awesome but the only thing is that windows computers cut see them only macs can.

    and option+shift+K makes the apple sign but only macs can see them 

  143. SEAN says:

    Yea, I’m sooo tired of having to use those crappy windows programs for business and school..People need to upgrade to a mac and stop complaining. If anyone got a brand macbook pro they’d understand. If someone bought me a crappy windows computer, id sell it part by part.

  144. AJ says:

    I actually did invert all of the Mac screens when I was working at Best Buy just to show my co-workers the keyboard shortcut. I was talking to them and turned around and the manager was at the Mac table looking somewhat freaked out… heehee… had to show him as well.

    It was a common prank on the iPads though. We were always finding the whole row of them in negative… it looked like the iPads were possessed.

  145. Alex says:

    Dictionary since 10.4, really??? I would have expected it to have been there since 10.0 considering it was a significant feature in NeXTStep.

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  147. Andrew L. says:

    Hold down ctrl+option+cmd, while pressing > button(i think it is called right-arrow)

    to reverse back this…
    Hold down ctrl+option+cmd, while pressing < button(i think it is called left-arrow)

    Have fun messing around with mac noobs..

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