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Cool Things You Can Do with Mac OS X

written by: Donny Yankellow•edited by: Michael Dougherty•updated: 3/17/2011

Mac OS X is a great operating system filled with your basic features, but there are also many features the new user, or experienced user, may not be aware of. Check out the article to learn more.

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    OS X Is Packed Full of Features

    Mac OS X is packed full of features. Many of these features are standard with any operating system, while others are exclusive to OSX. Four of these features will be covered below. These include Expose, Spaces, Quick Look, and Time Machine. Just using one of these features can make you computing experience an even more enjoyable one.

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    Expose

    Expose is a feature that makes it easier for you to switch between open windows and/or applications running on your Mac. With the press of a key on your keyboard, or by moving your mouse to a corner of the screen, you can see all running applications, all open windows, or your desktop. From that view you can click the window or application you want to switch to.

    My favorite feature is the ability to see all open windows. This allows me to quickly switch applications without having to move things around or visit the dock. I just activate Expose and click where I want to go.

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    The settings for Expose can be found in System Preferences under Expose and Spaces.

    Expose 

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    Spaces

    Spaces is similar to Expose in the sense that it trys to help you organize and streamline your workflow, and the settings are in the same System Preferences.

    Spaces 

    Spaces allows you to create separate "Spaces" or desktops or screens for certain applications. If you have a bunch of applications running at the same time and to many windows overlapping you might consider spaces. You can assign certain applications to certain spaces. You could have a space for Internet applications, a space for productivity applications, and a space for everything else.

    When you activate a space you see only those applications that are set for that space. If you are in one space checking email, and want to go to a photo program in another space you can click the application in the Dock and instantly be transported into the other space.

    Personally, I don't use Spaces out of choice, but many people do and love it.

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    Quick Look

    Besides Expose, I think Quick Look has to be my most used feature on my Mac. Quick Look does what the name implies, It allows you to quickly view a document, picture, or even a movie without opening the application it was created in. To use Quick Look you click the icon of the document and press the space bar. A preview of that document will expand onto your Desktop. If it is a moive you can play the movie. If it is music, you can listen to the song.

    If a document you have is not supported you might be able to find a plug-in by searching the Internet. I have found an eps plug-in and an Adobe Illustrator plug-in.

    Quick Look is fantastic, and a huge time saver.

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    Time Machine

    Time Machine is my least activated feature, but one of the most important. TIme Machine is built in backup software for your Mac. You do need an external drive for it to work.

    To use Time Machine you connect the drive to your computer, call it Time Machine, and tell the Time Machine System Preference to use that drive for backup. The computer does the rest. It will back up everything to the drive, and store versions of software and deleted items.

    Let's say you want a file you deleted two days ago. You activate Time Machine and go back two days. Find the file and tell Time Machine to restore it. It will save the file right where it was deleted from.

    Time Machine 

    If the drive gets full it will start deleted older items.

    Time Machine is fantastic, nice to look at, and very useful for getting those files you accidentally deleted, or for a just a standard backup.

    So now you have four tools in Mac OSX that can help you improve your workflow and get some work done. List your favorite cool things you can do with Mac OS X below.

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    Resources

    Article is based on writer's experience.

    Screenshots in the article were taken by the writer.