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Tweak Programs You Want to Keep

written by: Joli Ballew•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 9/22/2008

Once you’ve pared down the programs you have installed on your Mac, you should tweak the ones you have for optimal performance.

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    Configure Program Preferences

    Every program you install has some preferences that can be configured for optimal performance. If it’s a game, you might configure the screen resolution (and close all open programs while playing); if it’s a word processing program, you might configure autocorrect options or add words to the dictionary; or if it’s a Web browser, you might configure it to open to a specific Web page every time. Whatever the application, you should search for and configure preferences or options.

    Here are some tweaks I use:

    iChat>Preferences>General>Save Received Files to>Other. Browse to and select a specific folder for saving received files. Do not save them to the desktop (the default).

    iDVD>Preferences>General>Delete Rendered Files On Closing A Project. From the iDVD interface, select Customize. In the window, choose Settings, and click the Audio button to turn off the default music.

    iMovie>Preferences>Advanced>Standard Quality (Smoother Motion).

    iPhoto>Preferences>General>Double-Click Photo:>Opens Photo In, and then click the Select Application button. Select the appropriate program from the Finder window.

    iTunes>File>New Smart Playlist. Create criteria for a playlist that will be automatically updated based on your personal preferences.

    Preview>Preferences>General. Select from Show Image Only and Show Name Only and configure the thumbnail size by moving the Thumbnail Size slider.

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    Configure View Options

    You can also configure your programs to show files and folders in a specific view, and you can configure Safari with tabs of your choice. Let’s take a quick look at the view options for some of the common applications first. As with the preferences section earlier, take some time to experiment with the options so you’ll know what’s available. The more you know, the faster and smarter you can work!

    Here are some tips for getting the most out of some common applications:

    · In iCal--Switch the view to see what is on the calendar for a day, a week, or a month.

    · In iPhoto--Switch the view to Film Rolls for better organizational options and faster opening of the application.

    · iTunes--Turn the Visualizer off if performance suffers when playing music or listening to the radio.

    For any applications, where applicable, choose to view smaller thumbnails or no thumbnails at all, choose not to obtain information from the Internet automatically, turn off animations or visualizations for better performance, and reduce the text size of the file names to increase the amount of items that can be viewed in the Finder.

    Tip: For even better performance, open System Preferences>Appearance, and in the Font Smoothing Style choices, select the option that best describes your monitor (CRT, Flat). In addition, enable Use Smooth Scrolling; this makes documents more legible while you scroll.

Fine-Tune Your Mac by Uninstalling Programs you Don’t Need and Tweaking Ones you Do

You can micromanage your Mac by uninstalling everything you deem unnecessary and fine-tuning everything else. Beware - This series is not for the faint of heart!
  1. Find Programs on Your Mac That You Don’t Want or Need
  2. Clean Out the Applications Folder
  3. Tweak Programs You Want to Keep