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To launch (start) a program you can find the Application on your hard drive and double-click on it (or a single click if you view with buttons). This can be a time consuming task. There are better ways to accomplish this.




The Launcher is a special desktop window which provides you an easy way to gain access to your Programs and other items. You should find it on the right side of your desktop. If you don't see look here.







When you double-click on it's icon the launcher window will open. You add items (programs, folders or files) by draging the item from a finder window to the launcher. A button appears and a single click will open the item.


The Launcher is a folder of aliases found in your "system folder".


You can create groups (separate pages) in your launcher by adding folders to the "Launcher Items" folder. Open the "Launcher Items" folder by double-clicking on it's icon in the finder window. From the file menu choose "New Folder", a new folder will appear with the name "untitled folder" highlighted waiting for you to rename it.


To make this folder become a group in the Launcher you need to begin the name with a bullet (•). To do this you type "8" while holding down the "Option" key.


Now that you have created a new group you can move items into it. You can copy buttons between groups by option-draging a button to another group button. Notice the green outline around the Graphics button which appears when the button is highlighted. To delete a button, just option-drag the button off the launcher window. Only an alias is made and the item will still be where you found it.


You can change the size of the buttons by Command-clicking an open space in the Launcher window and choosing the size you prefer. You will need to apply those changes to each group window.

You can add most anything to the Launcher, programs, control panels, files, folders, pictures or even movies. Put anything that you use to gain easy access to them.

Have you lost your Launcher desktop alias?

The Launcher is a Control Panel, you can get immediate access by choosing it from the Control Panels in the Apple Menu. To get the alias back on the desktop navigate to the folder of Control Panels in your hard drive(HD:System Folder:Control Panels:Launcher), highlight Launcher (single Click) and choose "Make Alias" from the File Menu, then drag the new alias to the desktop.


Application Switcher

You can have many programs running at the same time. The way that you see which ones are running and easily switch between them is to use the Application Switcher. You will find this at the far right end of the menu bar.

The icon you see there is the icon of the active application (program). When you click on that icon a menu will drop down with the applications which are currently running. The checkmark indicates which application is active and the diamond indicates the programs which are asking for attention. In this case I have got new mail waiting which I haven't looked at yet. You can switch to another application by highlighting the one you want and releasing the mouse button.


You can also turn the Application Switcher into a floating palette so that you can more easily switch between applications. Open the Switcher and click and drag past the bottom of the menu box. Once you see the outline moving with your pointer, the box has been "torn off". Let go of the mouse button.




The floating palette will appear with just icons. You can move it to any part of the screen you would like by clicking on the edge of the palette and draging to the position you want it . You can also resize the palette to include the application names. Place your cursor on the right edge of the palette until the cursor changes as below. Click and drag to the right and expand the palette as you like.



Now the expand box will toggle between these two sizes.





You can make the palette horizontal by holding down the option and shift keys while clicking the expand box.

You can also change the size of the icons by holding down the option key while clicking the expand box.

You can switch applications with the keyboard shortcut cmd+Tab. This will allow you to cycle through your open applications.

You can drag documents onto an application in the Application switcher menu to open them in the application you choose, if they are compatible.

You can opt-click on an application in the Application Switcher to hide the current application when switching to the next.  

You can watch a movie to see the Application Switcher in action.



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