8 Little-Known Tips For Mac OS X Users

OS X includes a number of commands in various system and application menus which give you quick access to file and windows management. In addition to these, there are also hidden options which can be found by holding the “Option“, “Shift and “Command” keys with the various menus open.

Along with all these commands, there are several useful, but somewhat unfortunately hidden behaviours which can be beneficial to some people. These behaviours include information about various system controls, manipulating items in Spotlight and moving windows around on screen.


We’ve compiled 8 of the most useful tips for Mac OS X, so check them out:

1. Tips Regarding Window Controls:

If you have a window open but do not really know what a specific button does, holding the mouse cursor over the button for a few seconds will show you a small yellow tooltip box that describe what the control is.


2. Dock Contextual Menus

As with many aspects of OS X, the Dock supports contextual menus for items in it that offer various commands for managing the items present in the Dock. This contextual menu is usually invoked by right-clicking the Dock item, but it can also be easily accessed by simply clicking and holding the item.


3. File and Folder Path Menus

Most documents that are saved to disk will have a corresponding file path, which OS X makes available in the document’s title. The document’s title can be accessed by right clicking (or Command-clicking) the file title. You can then select any item in the tree to open it in Finder with its child item in the path menu selected. This option works for Finder windows as well, making it a really convenient option for navigating folder trees.

4. Copy Items From Spotlight

A handy tip: if you search for an item in Spotlight, you can click and drag them from the search menu to a location, either embedding them in a document (such as an e-mail, word document etc.), or copying them to a new location. Oh, and if you hold the “Option” and “Command” keys while dragging items from this menu, you can create an alias of the dragged item.


5. Copy and make aliases in Finder

Whenever you click and drag items to another location in Finder, the system will move them by default unless you don’t have permission to remove them from their original location. To change the behaviour of OS X, simply hold down the “Option” key while dragging to force your Mac to make a copy of the item. This is a really convenient way to duplicate a document in the same folder. In addition to copying, keystroking the “Command” and “Option” keys together when dragging will create an alias of the item. Holding the “Command” key while moving items in the background will keep them from jumping to the forefront and changing your window order.

6. Move or resize Background Windows

If you have a background window present on your screen that is obscuring another one, clicking the background window will bring it to the front, and will most likely obscure the window present in front. While you can drag or resize the front window,  a more simple task would be to simply move the background windows to the side without bringing it to the front. To do this, simply hold the Command key and move the background window as you would normally do so.


7. View Animations in Slow Motion

OS X is famous for its number of animated actions such as the zooming of windows in Mission Control view, and the minimization of them to the Dock. While this is not really useful, you can view these actions in slow motion by holding down the Shift key down when invoking them.


8. Power button controls

The power button present on your Mac has several uses that you may have not known of. For starters, you can press and hold it to forcefully shut down the system, as you can do with most laptops. Holding the “Command and “Option” while pressing and holding it forces a restart. If you simply press the power button once, you can put the system to sleep, and holding the “Control” key and pressing power brings up a panel with restart, shut down, and sleep options. And if you have Apple’s latest OS Mavericks installed, pressing the power button once will sleep the system, holding it down briefly will bring up the options panel, and holding it for longer will forcefully shut down the system.


These are only some of the odd tips and tricks you might find in OS X and we thought were useful. Do you know of any other? If so, then post them below in the comments.

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