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Tips On Mac for Migrating Windows Users

written by: Amy Carson•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 1/15/2011

Moving across from Windows to using a Mac can be little uncomfortable at first. The interface is superficially the same but fundamentally different. Here's some helpful tips, from Mac keyboard shortcuts to how to install programs, for making the transition.

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    Tips For New Mac Users

    Windows has many functionalities and functions that are not in Mac OS X, and the reverse is also true. In this article we will show you some useful tips to help transitioning over to a Mac from Windows.

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    Useful Keyboard Shortcuts

    Macs are more shortcuts-driven, with the new user able to do many things very comfortably through clever use of the keyboard. In Mac the Command key replaces the function of the Ctrl key on a Windows keyboard. There is no Windows key and in its place is the Alt key. The Alt key is on a keyboard so simply use your thumb rather than your finger to start using shortcuts. The Ctrl and Shift keys are in the same places.

    There are lot of widely used Windows shortcuts that are replicated on a Mac, so Command+C is for copy, Command+V is for paste and Command+X is for cut. Learning these keys and making full use of them is a great time saving tool.

    Mac keyboard shortcuts make is very easy for you to take screenshots of areas on your desktop. Unlike the Print Screen button for Windows, you can simply hit the key Command+Shift+4 and your cursor will change to a crosshair that you can use to drag a box. This is very easy and Windows lacks such an easy method.

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    How to Right Click in Mac

    Windows users can not probably survive without using the right mouse button. It becomes a lot harder to use a computer without it. On the other hand, Macs have a contextual menu, which is invoked by control clicking. It works in a couple of different ways. All you do is click and hold and the contextual menu shows up. You can do that on links, tabs, bookmarks, etc. The other method involves some settings change first. Just go to System Preference ->Keyboard and Mouse, and then go to Trackpad tab. Now click the “Tap trackpad using two fingers for secondary click" button. The next time when you two-finger-click on the trackpad, the right click menu appears.

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    Installing New Programs

    Installing new programs is just as easy as doing it on Windows. Mac applications are often in .dmg or .sit formats. ‘dmg’ files are disk images whereas ‘sit’ files are Mac compressed files, same as .zip files. The process of installing a program begins by just double-clicking the dmg or sit file and it will mount the application. When this is done, you will either see an Install Here icon or the application itself. If it is the application, just drag it onto your Application folder and you are done See, very easy!

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    Final Thoughts

    One important thing to mention here is that Alt+Tab does not cycle between windows on the Mac; you should use Ctrl+F4 instead. To switch between open applications, hit Command+Tab. Try out these Mac keyboard shortcuts on your new Mac to get used to them. With OS X's easy-to-use interface, you'll be up and running at full speed in no time.