Miscellaneous Tips - Mac Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts in easy steps (2015)

Mac Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts in easy steps (2015)


Miscellaneous Tips

In this section we will look at some window tricks, AirPlay mirroring your Mac, and other tweaks you can make. We will also explore the numerous Accessibility options.

Window Tricks

Close a Finder window while you open an app

This is not exactly a killer tip but it is useful nonetheless. Quite often if you have multiple windows open, including Applications or Utilities, and you double-click an app, the Applications window remains open:

•Hold down Option then double-click the app and the window (e.g. Applications) will close

Close all open Finder windows in one go!

If you have lots of Finder windows across your Desktop you can close them by clicking one at a time or you can close them all at the same time:

•Hold down Option then click the Close button and all the windows will disappear at once!

Resize your icons in Finder windows

I like my icons really small but sometimes it’s great to have huge icons:

imageOpen a Finder window and change to Icon View ( + 1)

imageUse the slider at the bottom right and slide to the right to make the icons large


AirPlay Mirroring

This allows you to display your Mac’s screen on a TV hooked up to Apple TV. The “Air” part is there because the mirroring is wireless. Both Mac and Apple TV must be on the same network so they can see each other.

AirPlay mirroring is very easy to set up, as you will see from the instructions below.

To use AirPlay Mirroring

imageYour TV must be connected to Apple TV 2 or later

imageYour Mac must be on the same Wi-Fi network as the Apple TV

imageSwitch on the TV and Apple TV and make sure you can see the Apple TV menu on the screen

imageFrom your Mac go to System Preferences > Displays > AirPlay mirroring: OFF/ON

imageChoose the Apple TV for mirroring

You should then see the Mac screen displayed on your TV.


Creating Digital Signatures

A digital signature is useful if you need to email a PDF of a letter. You can also use it in Apple Mail signatures so a personalized handwritten signature is appended to your emails.

Getting the best scanned image

imageUse a thick black marker pen and write your signature (fairly large size) on white paper

imageScan the image at high resolution using your scanner

imageTake into Preview or Photoshop and crop so that there is not too much redundant white space

imageWhiten the image slightly to avoid having a gray rectangle around your signature when dropped into a Microsoft Word document, for example

Example of digital signature (TIFF) file


Digital signature dropped onto a Pages document.

Apps for Tweaking your Mac

There are several great apps allowing you to make changes to the look and feel of your Mac. These have been touched upon earlier in the book but we will look at the main contenders here: OnyX, Cocktail, and Mountain Tweaks. (Mountain Tweaks is covered here.)


Provides a large suite of maintenance and tweaking tools.



Probably the best suite, with a huge number of tweaks and maintenance tools.


Sharing Using AirDrop

This cool feature introduced with Yosemite allows you to transfer files, photos, and others between your Mac and iOS device.


Using AirDrop

imageOn the Mac choose AirDrop from the left Finder panel

imageYour iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch should show up in the window on the Mac

imageSend your file to the iOS device by dropping it onto its icon



Screen Sharing


This new feature introduced with Yosemite allows you to share someone’s Mac screen from the Messages app. You can also use it to share your Mac screen with someone else using a Mac. You cannot share the Mac screen with an iPhone or iPad.

imageOpen Messages on your Mac

imageSelect a message and click Details (top right)

imageYou will see three icons (screen sharing, FaceTime and Call). Choose the screen sharing icon


imageChoose between sharing their screen on your screen or share their screen

Below you can see my iMac screen being shared with my MacBook Pro.


Record your iOS Screen


This is a great new feature of Yosemite. It allows you to record your iOS device screen as a movie. You can play games and record all the action, or help people with their iOS devices by sending them a movie of how to do things.

imagePlug your iOS device into your Mac using a lightning cable

imageOpen QuickTime Player and choose File > New Movie Recording

imageMake sure your iOS device is selected

imageRecord your iOS screen then save the file