Tips & Tricks
Well named, for this is where you find the files and programs on your Mac. The Finder is active (or you are "in" the Finder) when you first start your Mac. The Desktop is the main face of the Finder.
The Desktop is the place you will find access to everything on your computer. It is what you see if there are no windows are open. From here you decide how YOU want to find things.
At the very top of the screen is the Menu Bar. The Menu Bar will appear in all programs and house the functions and options for that particular program. Below is the left end of the Menu Bar available when my Finder is active. (You may not see the FaxMenu on yours. It is added when FaxSTF is installed).
At the far left of your Menu Bar is the Apple Menu.
The Apple Menu gives you access to many useful items from desk accessories to Control Panels to files and folders.
The Apple Menu is always in your Menu Bar no matter what program is active. This makes it a very useful tool and is covered in a section all it's own. The Apple Menu.
The File Menu gives you controls and options for working with files and folders. Most of the options are either rather obvious or are covered elsewhere. One thing that bears noting is the symbol followed by a letter. These are keyboard shortcuts, a way to invoke the commands from your keyboard and not have to mouse to the menu bar.
If you hold down a command key (the ones on either side of the spacebar with the Apple on them) and the letter indicated, the designated option will be invoked.
Oh, and by the way, that left pointing arrow with an x in it is the delete key.
The Edit Menu is where you find options for Editing text and using the Clipboard. It also is where you will find your Finder's Preferences.
The Clipboard is a hidden temporary file that houses the items that you choose to copy or cut. The item that you copy (or cut) there is available to paste somewhere else. Note that it can only house one thing at a time so if you copy or cut something else it will overwrite what is there.
Let me explain the differences in the editing commands.
Cut - Removes the highlighted
item (text or graphic) from the document and places it on the clipboard.
The View Menu gives you the ability to view your windows as you would like. More on viewing you windows a little later.
The Special Menu is where you do your maintenance and can restart and shut down safely.
The Help Menu is where you can get access to the help files stored on your computer. The Help Center is the main help index, where you can find help files for the Operating System along with other Apple programs. Mac OS Help is the Operating System only and Balloons are little dialogs that help you with items as you place your cursor over them.
Viewing Your Hard Drive
You have a number of choices as to how you can view and organize your files so you can find them. This is the essence of the Mac experience. You can do it YOUR way.
You will find your hard drive in the top right corner of your desktop.
If you double click on this icon you will "open" your hard drive and be able to view what is "on" it.
Your hard drive will open in a window which can be viewed in a number of ways.
In the Edit menu you will find Preferences
Here you choose how you would like to view your folders. You have 3 basic choices. You can view them in a List, as Icons or as Buttons. The choices here will affect those folders which are set to "Standard Views". More on that later.
In the list view, folders will have triangles which, if you click them, will show you the contents of the folders. You choose an item by clicking once and open it by clicking twice.
When you choose to view folders in a list you are presented with these choices.
Relative dates - This will use "Today" and "Yesterday" in the date column where appropriate. See below.
Calculate folders sizes - This is handy if you are looking for ways to make more room on your hard drive but it will slow down the processor some until all the folder sizes are calculated. I would suggest that you leave this off and use it as you need it.
Show Columns - Here you choose which columns you would like to view.
Icon Size - Choose the size icon you would like to see. Basically the more files and folders you would like to see in a window the smaller the icons should be.
This is how a folder will look with these list choices. This is how I prefer to view my windows because it is the only way you can view the date and size of folders and files.
When you double-click on a folder it will open in a new window on top of the current window.
When viewing with icons, you choose an item by clicking once and open it by clicking twice.
When you choose to view folders as Icons you are presented with these choices.
This is how a folder will look with these icon choices.
When viewing with buttons, you choose an item by clicking on the name below the button and open it by clicking on the button once.
When you choose to view folders as Buttons you are presented with these choices.
This is how a folder will look with these button choices.
The choices you made in preferences control all folders set to Standard Views but you can change any folder on an individual basis.
From the View menu you can change the way you view the active window. First change the format (Icons, Buttons or list) then you choose "View Options" and you will be presented with windows similar to those found in Preferences.