Mac OS X Mountain Lion Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Advanced tips and tricks


Mac OS X Mountain Lion Essential Training

with Christopher Breen

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Video: Advanced tips and tricks

During the setup process for OS X, you were assigned some kind of icon. Now, if you liked, you could change that icon or if you had a camera attached to your Mac, you could take a picture of yourself and use that as your icon. But suppose you skipped right past that part because you were so excited about starting to use your Mac. Well, you can still change your icon after the fact and I'm going to show you how to do that now. So, we'll go to System Preferences, click on Users & Groups, I will unlock the preference, add my password. And note, I have been assigned a hockey puck.
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  1. 1m 4s
    1. Welcome
      1m 4s
  2. 6m 56s
    1. Installing Mountain Lion
      6m 56s
  3. 47m 16s
    1. Personalizing the interface
      4m 11s
    2. Touring the Finder
      3m 29s
    3. Staying current with Software Update
      2m 52s
    4. Configuring Gatekeeper settings
      3m 17s
    5. Getting on the Internet
      5m 36s
    6. Setting up iCloud
      4m 55s
    7. Understanding AutoSave and documents in the cloud
      4m 42s
    8. Configuring Mail, Contacts, and Calendar
      4m 33s
    9. Configuring your printer
      3m 39s
    10. Protecting your data with Time Machine
      4m 28s
    11. Learn your way around the Mac App Store
      5m 34s
  4. 11m 17s
    1. Finding files with Spotlight
      6m 6s
    2. Digging deeper with Finder searches
      5m 11s
  5. 23m 35s
    1. Configuring basic personal preferences
      11m 15s
    2. Adjusting Input Device preferences
      9m 38s
    3. Examining the basic system preferences
      2m 42s
  6. 1h 13m
    1. Organizing workspaces with Mission Control
      5m 49s
    2. Modifying Language & Text settings
      4m 5s
    3. Optimizing Security & Privacy settings
      6m 18s
    4. Getting notifications
      4m 38s
    5. Configuring displays and AirPlay
      2m 20s
    6. Using Energy Saver
      6m 1s
    7. Setting up Bluetooth wireless devices
      3m 39s
    8. Sharing files on a network
      6m 1s
    9. Configuring sharing
      6m 28s
    10. Editing your users and groups
      6m 48s
    11. Setting rules with Parental Controls
      7m 4s
    12. Taking notes with Dictation & Speech
      6m 0s
    13. Exploring the Accessibility settings
      5m 54s
    14. Listening with Sound
      2m 53s
  7. 36m 2s
    1. Organizing your business with Mail
      12m 42s
    2. Scheduling time with Calendar
      8m 32s
    3. Keeping tabs with Contacts
      5m 30s
    4. Tracking your tasks with Reminders
      3m 39s
    5. Staying in touch using Messages
      5m 39s
  8. 37m 18s
    1. Tracking your documents in TextEdit
      7m 3s
    2. Looking up words in Dictionary
      1m 56s
    3. Keeping notes with Notes
      3m 48s
    4. Working with images in Preview
      6m 14s
    5. Working with PDFs in Preview
      4m 27s
    6. Installing fonts with Font Book
      4m 42s
    7. Posting a note in Stickies
      1m 55s
    8. Adding things up with Calculator
      4m 46s
    9. Organizing apps with Launchpad
      2m 27s
  9. 34m 5s
    1. Navigating the web
      3m 38s
    2. Working with bookmarks
      4m 49s
    3. Using Reading List
      2m 4s
    4. Saving web pages and creating web clips
      1m 44s
    5. Viewing and saving PDFs
      3m 24s
    6. Using Safari to search the web
      2m 20s
    7. Opening local files in Safari
      1m 59s
    8. Working with preferences in Safari
      11m 1s
    9. Managing your Internet footprint
      3m 6s
  10. 8m 48s
    1. Playing media in QuickTime
      4m 15s
    2. Recording videos with QuickTime
      4m 33s
  11. 10m 13s
    1. Video conferencing with FaceTime
      3m 38s
    2. Taking pictures in Photo Booth
      3m 47s
    3. The great utility of Image Capture
      2m 48s
  12. 12m 40s
    1. Writing a simple Automator workflow
      4m 15s
    2. Creating an Automator application
      2m 20s
    3. Setting up an Automator calendar workflow
      2m 31s
    4. Creating an Automator service
      3m 34s
  13. 22m 1s
    1. Managing processes in Activity Monitor
      5m 13s
    2. Formatting, partitioning, and repairing storage devices
      8m 58s
    3. Taking care of your passwords
      4m 1s
    4. Setting up a Windows install with Boot Camp
      3m 49s
  14. 14m 57s
    1. Creating a boot drive
      3m 19s
    2. Understanding and configuring permissions
      4m 5s
    3. Exploring troubleshooting techniques
      7m 33s
  15. 19m 35s
    1. Getting your game on
      4m 1s
    2. Integrating with Facebook and Twitter
      2m 38s
    3. Advanced tips and tricks
      9m 35s
    4. Sharing files with AirDrop
      3m 21s
  16. 30s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Mac OS X Mountain Lion Essential Training
6h 0m Appropriate for all Dec 19, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, Macworld senior editor Christopher Breen provides a comprehensive overview of Mac OS X Mountain Lion, complete with insider tips for getting the most out of the operating system. The course shows how to configure system preferences, personalize the interface, master gestures, and achieve fluency with applications such as Mail, Calendar, and Preview. The course also includes tutorials on browsing the web with Safari, automating complex tasks with Automator, sharing over a network, performing maintenance operations using Disk Utility, and offers time-saving techniques for using the Mac efficiently. Along the way, Christopher reviews the 200+ new features in Mountain Lion, which gives even experienced Mac users a valuable head start.

Topics include:
  • Installing Mountain Lion
  • Setting up and syncing iCloud
  • Configuring Mail, Contacts, and Calendar
  • Setting rules with Parental Controls
  • Jotting down info with Notes
  • Viewing and saving PDFs, text documents, and images
  • Using Safari to browse the Internet
  • Playing and recording videos with QuickTime
  • Video conferencing with FaceTime
  • Setting up a Windows install with Boot Camp
  • Downloading widgets
  • Sharing files with AirDrop
Business Education + Elearning
Mac OS X
Christopher Breen

Advanced tips and tricks

During the setup process for OS X, you were assigned some kind of icon. Now, if you liked, you could change that icon or if you had a camera attached to your Mac, you could take a picture of yourself and use that as your icon. But suppose you skipped right past that part because you were so excited about starting to use your Mac. Well, you can still change your icon after the fact and I'm going to show you how to do that now. So, we'll go to System Preferences, click on Users & Groups, I will unlock the preference, add my password. And note, I have been assigned a hockey puck.

Now, if you're Don Rickles, that goes over great, and if you're not, you may wish to change it to something else. So, there are a couple of ways you can do this. Hover over it and you see that there's a white triangle. Click on the white triangle and you can browse through Apple's default icons. Let's say I wanted to be a penguin. Click on the penguin and I click on Done. Well, that's pretty good but what if I want to alter that penguin? I can do that too. I'll double click on the penguin. Now, I click on the Edit Icon.

I can zoom in on that penguin. So, we can just have the big penguin head, and I can also add effects very much like I did in Photobooth. And you'll recognize a lot of these effects. I kind of like this outline, this neon look for the penguin. I think that's great. So, I will then click on Done to add it. Now if you've recently worked with Icons, you'll find them under Recents. Also, if you have a camera, and this Mac doesn't, but if you did, select Camera, you would see what's in front of the Camera, you could put your face in front of the Camera, and then add effects as you like.

I'm going to go back to my altered penguin. And there is my icon. There's one other way to add an icon and that's to add an image of your own. That's easily done. So I'll just shift this over. I'll go into my Documents folder, drag a picture of my mug over to the thumbnail, and there's my picture. Same idea, I can zoom in if I want to give people a hairy eyeball. Zoom out, put it where I want it, and then I can add effects to it.

I'll make myself a little bit blurry. Click on Done, and now I have my new icon. No need to put up with what Apple has assigned you. With just these simple steps, you can change your icon. By now you've spent plenty of time with your Mac and with OS X, and there are maybe a couple of things that you're not so tickled with. For example, let's open up Calendar. Notice this interface, have kind of this leather look, the torn page.

You have some stitching. Let's open up Contacts as well. Again, here you've got your little leather look. Now some people don't actually like the look of this, so we can get rid of it. So I'm going to quit Calendar, I'll quit Contacts, and what I have done is I've downloaded a program called Mountain Tweaks. This is a donationware program from Fredrik Wiker. He's a Norwegian, 17 years old, working to make his way through college, and he's created this cool utility called Mountain Tweaks.

Let's see what that looks like. Go ahead and search for it. There it is. So, he provides you with a variety of options for tweaking the Mac's interface. One of them is Remove Leather from Contacts and Remove Leather from Calendar. Let's do that. This is going to launch an installer. We'll go through it, we'll go ahead and install it for everybody, Continue and Install. Enter my password, install software, and it's done.

Let's take a look at Contacts now. No more leather look. So, what the heck let's do it to Calendar too. Yes, Continue, All Users, Continue, Install, my password, Close, Calendar, and the leather is gone. Now, if you've tried this and you find, "Well, you know, I kind of miss that leather look so --." Okay, fine, let's put it back.

We can also add the leather look back. So Calendar, choose No instead, Continue, All Users, Install, password, Install software, and let me do it with Contacts as well while we're here. Make sure it took. Yup, leather, and leather once again. So, as you could see, this is not doing any harm to these applications.

What's happening is that he has created some images that replaced the images of the leather look. What the installer is doing is simply taking those images that he has used and then replacing the leather within the applications. Not hard to do, very inexpensive, though you should give him some money. And if you're unhappy with the look of these two applications, you can change it with this simple utility. Here's a quiz for old-time Mac users. Let's go to your User folder.

Tell me what's missing. Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Movies, Music, Pictures, Public, hey where is the Library folder? That's right, prior to Mac OS X Lion, there was a Library folder within your User Folder, and within this Library Folder were lots of preferences, settings, and other kinds of application support files. Now typical Mac users don't need to go into this folder. However, if you are a more advanced user, there may be reasons to go into that folder.

For example you may wish to throw out a corrupt preference file. So how do you get into this folder? I can offer a couple of solutions. Close this window, click on the Go Menu. Now hold down the Option key. Notice when I do that, the Library Folder appears. Click on that, and here we are in the Library folder at which point I can go into the folders I like and do what I want. But this is not a permanent fix. So, if I don't hold down the Option key, the Library folder is missing.

It's only until I hold down Option that I see that. What if I want that folder to be visible all the time? This is how you do it. I'm going to launch something called Terminal. Now we haven't covered Terminal in this course because it really is beyond essentials. However, as you travel around the internet, you may encounter times when somebody says, "Oh, just enter this into Terminal," to do something wonderful. This is one of those times. So I will now enter a command, so what does this mean? Well essentially, in the computer, there's something called the Flag and the Flag indicates the properties of a certain object.

So in this case, there's a Hidden Flag and there's a No Hidden Flag. What's happened with the Library folder is Apple has set that Flag to hidden for the Library folder. So, what I'm telling it is, Go to the Flag for the Library folder, which appears within your User folder, and that's what that tilde stands for, it means your User Folder, and the command is nohidden, meaning don't hide it. So now I'll press Return. Nothing seems to have happened, but let's see if the command took.

So, I'll go to my User folder, and look, here it is. The Library is now visible within my User folder. Let's keep this around so we can see what happens later. Notice, however, that it is still not in the Go menu. In that case, I have to hold down the Option key to make it visible. Now what if I want to hide this again? No problem. We'll just undo what we just did, so chflags hidden~/Library/, press Return, and notice that when I did that, the Library folder is gone.

So, if you're the kind of person that really wants to see that Library folder inside your User folder, you can use Terminal to do that. Before I wrap up this tip, note that Terminal can be really, really dangerous. If you don't know what you're doing, you could do things in Terminal that are very powerful that could make your Mac unstable or even unusable. So unless you have a very good idea of what you're doing and know that a particular command is going to work, you should probably stay out of Terminal.

This is just a taste of the cool and unexpected things that you can do with your Mac. Thankfully there's a thriving community of people who love nothing better than exploring the Mac's finest features. To learn more, I suggest you visit, which is packed with Apple information. Also check out Mac OS X Hints, where you're sure to learn something new each and everyday. There's, which has some terrific reporting on all things Apple. The Unauthorized Apple Weblog, also known as TUAW, or Arstechnica, which has some great technical information, and of course, the many courses here at

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