Excellent Mac Tips and Tricks You Might Not Know (But, Should!)

Mac’s popularity is spiking year on year – but it is still a lot to take in for people making the switch from Windows to macOS. Fret not because even those using a Mac for a long time are unaware of many features the machine offers. 

No matter you are a new or an old Mac user, the following tips and tricks will help you get the most of your system. 

    1. Taking screenshots of only a specific part of the screen 

Knowing how to take a screenshot is crucial, especially when remote working is the norm. Screenshots make it easier to explain or share information with colleagues and clients. But, you don’t always need to capture the entire screen. There is an easy way to grab only the part of the screen you want on your Mac by pressing Command + Shift + 4. After that, click and drag out a box over the specific screen part you wish to capture. As you release it, the image will be saved to the desktop. 

If you want to grab the entire screen, press Command + Shift + 3. 

    2. Hide icons 

Want to keep your Mac desktop clutter-free? Or, do you need to temporarily remove the icons because you need a screenshot without distractions? Whatever the reason, one way to deal with the clutter is to remove icons from desktop Mac. By doing this, you’ll be freeing your desktop and make the display clean, but the files will always be there. It’ll just be invisible to you. 

You can use Terminal to hide the icons on your Mac. It is one of the most powerful applications. Alternatively, you can use Mac Finder to remove icons from your desktop. However, Finder will not hide all the icons but those associated with external drives. 

    3. Force Quit unresponsive applications 

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Control + Alt + Delete doesn’t work on Macs because they have their own equivalent. If you find yourself unable to exit an app or program, hold down Command + Option and press Esc. The Force Quit dialog box will pop up, and you can see all the running apps. You can forcefully terminate the ones that are not working. 

    4. Silently startup your Mac

Everyone is familiar with the iconic chime a Mac lets off when it starts up. If the sound is an inconvenience to you, you can hold down the Mute key at startup.

    5. Run Windows on your Mac

Running a copy of Windows on Mac is possible. Go to the Applications folder on your Mac > select Utilities > find the program called Boot Camp. The program can partition your hard drive to run Windows and Mac separately. You can choose how you wish to split the ratio, but note that storage allocated to one operating system cannot be used by the other. To start the process, click Partition. 

    6. Use Spotlight to convert any unit 

Spotlight is an app that can find things on your Mac and online. It can even solve simple queries without resorting to open a new window. Unit conversion is one such query. Simply type the figure you want to convert, and the app will show you a list of conversions as a search result. You can even convert currencies the same way. Ensure that you’re connected to the Internet for Spotlight to work. 

    7. Add spacers to the Dock

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Want to add spacers to your Mac’s Dock? It can be done easily with a few Terminal commands, and you can organize your app icons in a new way. Go to Terminal > Utilities > type “defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-apps -array-add ‘{“title-type”=”spacer-tile”;}’; killall Dock” > press Return. 

The Dock will disappear and reappear again with a spacer tile on the right-hand side. After that, type “exit” into Terminal > press Return > quit Terminal. Now, you can drag the spacer tile to wherever you wish in the Dock. You can repeat as many spacers as you want. 

    8. Annotate images and PDFs

Preview is a highly effective and potent tool. The tool gets even more potent in Mojave. The app does more than letting you preview images and PDFs. It allows for a host of annotations for PDF that are compatible with Acrobat, Adobe’s PDF app. Since Windows users use acrobat, it makes it hassle-free to share annotated images and documents with colleagues, irrespective of the platform they use. 

Ensure the Edit toolbar is visible, and you will see you have options for drawing arrows, shapes, speed, thought bubbles, and so on. There is also the option to strikethrough text, highlight text in various colors, type text into boxes and add notes.

Wrapping up!

Macs can make you incredibly productive and efficient. They’re powerful machines that are built to support and help you finish tasks quickly. All you need are the tips and tricks mentioned above to master Mac and make the most of it. 

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About the author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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