Finder

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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Did you read…

Keeping up with technology requires lots of reading. When I add news, email and friend’s blogs to the mix, I have many items to read each day.

I have found a great way to keep up with my reading while work around my office and home!

You might know about this command in the Macintosh contextual menu:




To get to it, highlight some text--on a web page, in Mail or in most Macintosh applications. Then hold down the Control key and click into the highlighted text. A menu similar to this one will appear. To have your computer read the text to you, select “Speech > Start Speaking.” If you want to stop listening, you will need to click and hold the control button again and select “Speech > Stop Speaking.”

I have used this method for years, but I have always wanted a faster, easier way to have my Mac read to me.

I was recently exploring System Preferences and I found an intriguing item in the Speech Preference:




Click on the icon for Speech and you will see this:




Click on “Set Key” to reveal this:




Now, click on whatever key combination you would like to use, but remember, there are lots of key commands already in use.

I chose Command + Option + Control + S because it is “free” and it is easy to remember. I just hold down all the keys to the left of the Space Bar, and the S key for speak. You. do need to highlight the test you want the computer to read.

The best part of using a keyboard combination is that pressing the same combination again turns the speech off!

There is so much that the Mac can do. If you would like a little help, give us a call at Bob LeVitus Consulting. You can telephone us at 408 627-7577, or visit our web site or send us a message at urgentrequest@boblevitus.com. We offer training, troubleshooting and technical support.

--Pat

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Cleaning up your Desktop

I am a very visual person. I like to be able to see the files that I am using for my current projects. Since I do so many computer projects, it doesn’t take long for my computer desktop to get very cluttered.



I also give quite a few computer presentations. When I will be sharing my computer screen with an audience, I need for it to be clean and uncluttered. My solution is to make a new folder on my desktop. I use the current date to name the folder and then I drag all of the files on my desktop into it.



My screen quickly looks clean and uncluttered, ready for visiting eyes. Computer experts will tell you that your computer will now be a bit faster because it does not have to spend as much time keeping track of the location and position of all the files on the desktop.

Of course, I also need to take care of the clutter that I just hid -- and that is the real reason for this blog post.

When I first open the folder’s window, I put it into the list view, with the contents sorted by name from. In this view it is easy to see if there are any files that are duplicates




Notice that We Rule "Hire your Friend"?.webloc and We Rule "Hire your Friend"?-1.webloc were created at the same time and they are also the same size. The only difference is that the second file has “-1” added to the file name. A quick check of the file on the web confirms that they both lead to the same web page, so I can eliminate one file.

When a two files have the same name except that they have a dash and then a number, it is a sign that they are probably duplicate files. We often find similar files in the Downloads folder. If they are the same size and the Date Modified is the same, then they are duplicate files and you probably do not need both of them.

Webloc files are made when you drag the favicon from a web page to your desktop or a file folder. In essence, it is a quick web bookmark.





As I surf the web, I often drag these .webloc files to my desktop so that I can quickly find the page links to use in emails or blog or Twitter posts.

I often forget to throw away these files when I have finished using them, so sorting the folder by Kind makes it easy to group them for quick disposal.



I tend to find quite a few photos and illustrations on my desktop. Using the Cover Flow view of the finder window allows me to take a quick look at these files to determine what I need to do with them.



The Cover Flow view is also useful for quickly scanning some document types.



You can hover your cursor over some documents to view the contents. Clicking on the arrows in the pdf file shown above would give me a preview of each page.

My favorite way to put files away is to open two windows. I open a window on the left side with my folder in the list view. On the right side of the screen, I open my Home folder in the Column view.


I also click on the “jelly bean” in the upper right corner of the window to cause the sidebar and toolbar to disappear. This makes it easier to drag my files to the right folder without dropping them in the wrong place.



Cleaning up your desktop makes it easier to find thin, just like the counters and tables in your home.

While computers can make our lives easier, there is a lot to learn. At Doctor Mac Consulting, we can show you how to make your computer easier to use in a tutoring session. The cost is $60.00 per hour and we use our special software to “see” your computer.

While tutoring sessions are calm, unhurried and relaxed, sometimes you need quick help to fix a problem. We call those Troubleshooting Sessions. We take a look at your computer, fix the problem, and get you back to work as quickly as possible. We can fix most computer problems in 15 to 30 minutes. The cost of troubleshooting is $120 per hour, billed in 15 minute increments. The cost of most troubleshooting sessions is $30 to $60. We do not bill you for the time needed to install our software to see your computer and if we cannot fix the problem, you are not billed for our time.

Send a note to
urgentrequest@boblevitus.com or call us at (408) 627-7577 for further information.

--Pat




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