Mac OS X Leopard: The Missing Manual Sneak Preview: Five Tips and Tricks from David Pogue
By David Pogue
With this new Missing Manual, you can count on learning how to use all of Leopard's new features including the Time Machine, Boot Camp, and File Stacks. And here, as a bonus, David gives you six of his favorite Leopard tips:
1. Spotlight has been given two quiet enhancements that turn it into a different beast altogether. First, it’s a tiny pocket calculator, always at the ready. Click in the Search box, type or paste 38*48.2-7+55, and marvel at the first result in the Spotlight menu: 1879.6. There’s your answer—and you didn’t even have to fire up the Calculator.
And it’s not just a four-function calculator, either. It works with square roots: type sqrt(25), and you’ll get the answer 5. It also works with powers; type pow(6,6)—that is, 6 to the power of 6—and you'll get 46656. You can even type pi to represent—you know, pi.
2. Spotlight is also now a full-blown English dictionary. Or, more specifically, it’s wired directly into Mac OS X’s own dictionary, which sits in your Applications folder. So if you type, for example, "schadenfreude" into the Spotlight box, you’ll see, to your amazement, the beginning of the actual definition right there in the menu. Click it to open Dictionary and read the full-blown entry. (In this example, that would be: “noun: pleasure derived by someone from another person's misfortune.”)
3. The Mosaic screensaver is a real stunner, and Apple doesn't even talk about it. It starts with one photo from your collection; your “camera” pulls back farther and farther, revealing that that photo is just one in a grid—a huge grid—that’s composed of all your photos. As you pull even farther back, each photo becomes so small that it becomes only one dot of another photo—from the same collection! And then that one starts shrinking, and the cycle repeats, on and on into infinity. How could Apple not have mentioned Mosaic in its Leopard advertising?
4. You’re floundering in some program. You’re SURE there’s a Page Numbering command in those menus somewhere. But there are 11 menus and 143 submenus hiding in those menus, and you haven’t got time for the pain. That’s when you should think of using the Help menu. When you type "page number" (or whatever) into its Search box, the results menu lists, at the top, the names of any menu commands in that program that contain the words you typed. Better still, it actually opens that menu for you, and displays a big, blue, animated, floating arrow pointing to the command you wanted. You’d have to have your eyes closed to miss it. Slide your cursor over, click the menu command, and get on with your life.
5. That menu-search feature is especially helpful in Web browsers like Safari and Firefox, because it even finds entries in your Bookmarks and History menus! In Safari, for example, you can pluck a recently visited site out of the hundreds in the daily History submenus, like the “Wednesday, January 9” submenu. You’ve just saved yourself a lot of poking around menus, trying to find the name of a site you know you’ve seen recently.)
Ultratip: If you think about it, this feature also means that you have complete keyboard power over every menu in every program in the world. Hit Command-Shift-? to open the Help search box, type a bit of the command’s name, and then use the arrow keys to walk down the results. Hit Enter to trigger the command you want.