Answering reader questions about the arrows on screenshots

I get lots of questions about how to do things on Apple products. In this case, the reader asked:

In her article…”Dealing with Adobe Flash Player" Pat uses some red arrows to illustrate items in the Safari Preferences/ Extensions section. Are those arrows made with Skitch, or if not, what program ? They really help to pinpoint what to look at.

While others extoll the wonder of Skitch, I try to use Apple's included programs as much as possible so that I can easily explain them to others.

For those screenshots, I started with a screen shot made using Command - Shift - 4. This command changes your cursor into crosshairs on your screen. It also shows the position of the cross hairs on the screen.

crosshairs

There is another keyboard combination, Command - Shift - 3. It will take a shot of the entire screen. I seldom use it because I usually want just a portion of the screen.

I have my Mac set to open Preview when I double-click a graphic. To set this up, highlight the file.

select_icon

Now go to the File menu in the Finder . Select Get Info…

Finder_File_Info

You will then see a box similar to this:

info

In the Open with menu button, select Preview. Below that button, there is an button to “Change All… Select that button if you would like all graphics to open in Preview.

When you open the graphic in Preview, the tool bar may be too short to show the Edit tools. In that case, click and drag the lower right corner of the window (notice the red circle below.

resize

The last item in the standard Preview toolbar is Edit. It is possible that you will not see the entire toolbar unless you open the window to a wide view.

When you click the Edit button, it will turn blue and many icons will appear. You will want to open the window wide enough to see all the icons.

editing_tools

You can see the tools and what they control in the above picture. Notice that I snuck in an extra, the Text tool. While its color is controlled by the Color button, the font choice and size are controlled in the Preview > Tools menu

fontsshow_fonts

When you are finished making changes to the picture, Save it.

You can add questions and comments to blog articles by clicking the word Comments at the end of the article.
comments

It will open an additional area where you can type. I use the Disqus commenting system. You may already have a Disqus account if you leave comments on other web sites.
add_comment

The reader asked several other questions. I while I will be answering the one about 1Password here on the blog, another question is specific to his computer. In general, I do not answer that kind of a question here. If you want specific help, please consider sending a request for help. We can use our special software to take a look at your computer to teach you how to do something. The cost is $60.00 per hour. Send us a message at urgentrequest@boblevitus.com or give us a call at 408 627-7577.

--Pat
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Putting icons on the desktop and sidebar

Back in earlier Macintosh Ddays, we tended to have several things on our Finder (desktop), placed there by the operating system. Soon, some people began to think of the desktop as a place to store things. Some people took it to the extreme. Their desktops began to look like this:

desktopclutter

While it might be useful (?), it also causes the computer to continually redraw the icons to keep track of them. When your desktop looks like this, it is slowing your computer down.

To remedy the problem, the engineers at Apple decided to unclutter the desktop by turning off some icons. While a clean desktop is the ideal, there are times when having some icons visible on the desktop is desirable.

If I teach you how to put some icons back on your desktop, will you promise not to leave it looking like this the screenshot?

When you would “prefer” to have your computer act in a different way, you need to work with the “Preferences” There are lots of preferences on your Mac and in order to change them, you need to look for Preferences in each application. They are stored under the application’s name.

preferences

Open the Finder Preferences, choose the button for General. Place a check in each of the boxes and your hard drive and any connected devices will appear on your Finder (Desktop)

general_preferences

Click on the button for Sidebar. I have checked every item. It simply makes it much easier to navigate around my computer and our home network if I can see all these items in my sidebar.

sidebar_preferences

I would recommend marking all the items in “Favorites” and “Devices”. If you have a home network, the items under “Shared” will also be useful.

Look for a coming blog post where I talk about fonts.

--Pat

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