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Tech tips

5 pro tips to get more out of your Mac

Apple’s Mac is a powerful machine that is more than capable of performing complex and resource-intensive actions. But underneath all that circuitry and chrome is a softer side that will allow you to change folder icons to pictures of puppies.

It will even do repetitive stuff for you automatically, so you have more time to watch cat videos. Want to enhance security? Tap or click here for three Mac tips to increase security.

So, if you thought that you knew your Mac inside-out, think again. We’re about to show you five pro tips so you can get the most out of your Mac.

1. Splitting your views

If you don’t have a dual monitor setup, the next best thing you can do is split your views. With the Split View functionality, Apple allows you to fill your screen with two different apps simultaneously.

This makes it easy to see what is going on, as you don’t have to resize or move the windows manually. To enter Split View:

  • Hover your pointer over the full-screen button (you can also click and hold the button).
  • Choose ”Tile Window to Left of Screen” or ”Tile Window to Right of Screen” from the menu. The window then fills that side of the screen.
  • Then click a window on the other side of the screen to begin using both windows side by side.

If the options aren’t available to you, check your System Preferences by going to Mission Control and make sure Displays have separate Spaces is selected. To exit Split View, click on Enter Full Screen.

2. Use Stacks to organize files

Just like on iOS devices, you can also stack files and apps on a Mac. This is a great solution to keeping your desktop space neat and tidy.

To turn on stacks:

  • Click the desktop
  • Choose View and then Use Stacks or press Control-Command-0
  • You can also Control-click the desktop, then choose Use Stacks

To browse files in a stack, swipe left or right on the stack using two fingers on the trackpad. You can click on a stack to open it and double-click to open a file.

3. Search with Spotlight

Finding files or apps that you are looking for should never be frustrating. Luckily, Apple has a robust searching option in the form of Spotlight. It also integrates with Siri to give you the latest scores, weather updates or news.

To search with Spotlight:

  • Click the Spotlight icon (if shown) in the menu bar. You can also press the Command-Space bar.
  • In the search field, type what you’re looking for and results appear as you type.
  • By default, Spotlight will show you top hits first.
  • To open a search result, double-click on it. If you would like to see a preview, click on it once and press the Tab key.
  • If it’s a file that you are looking for, select the file, then press and hold the Command key to see the location of that file.

4. Easily take a screenshot of any size

Windows PCs and some browsers make it easy to take screenshots without fiddling with image editors or MS Paint. Mac also comes with a built-in feature for taking screenshots.

  • To capture the whole screen, press and hold together these keys: Shift, Command and 3.
  • To capture only a portion of the screen, press and hold together Shift, Command and 4. Then drag the crosshair over the area which you want to capture. To take the screenshot, release the mouse or trackpad button.
  • To cancel the screenshot, press the Esc key at any time.

5. Use Automator for repetitive tasks

Now here is something that could save you hours of repetitive work. If you’ve ever had to rename tons of files or photos, you will know that it’s time-consuming and tedious. For those kinds of jobs, you should be using Mac’s Automator.

To rename or resize a bunch of photos with Automator, you will first need to create a workflow:

  • Open the Automator app and choose File > New
  • Select a type of workflow
  • Click Choose
  • To add an action, click the right-pointing arrow to expand the library
  • Select which action you want to add to the workflow by double-clicking it
  • If you want to add more actions, follow the same process
  • To save your workflow, click File and then Save

Bonus: Change file folder icons to anything (even emoji)

Did you know that you can change the look of folders on the desktop? You can change the icons for files and folders on your Mac by using your own photos or images you found online.

To use your own picture:

  • Copy the picture you want to use to the Clipboard
  • Select the file or folder whose icon you want to replace
  • Click File and Get Info
  • Click the current folder icon
  • Choose Edit and then paste

There you have it, five simple tips to get the most out of your Mac. If you want more helpful articles like this one, sign up for our Apple newsletter and you’ll get important tips, security alerts and more delivered right to your inbox.

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