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Configuring basic personal preferences

From: Mac OS X Mountain Lion Essential Training

Video: Configuring basic personal preferences

It's time to delve into System Preferences. Specifically, those for configuring the look and feel of the Mac's interface, and we're going to start with the General System Preference. So you have various options that you can configure in the General Systems Preference to change the look of the Mac's interface. So you can change the color of the buttons in the menus. You have blue or graphite as choices. You can change the highlight color. So, for example, currently, if I want to change its Name, it's a light blue, but I can change it to a different color if I like.

Configuring basic personal preferences

It's time to delve into System Preferences. Specifically, those for configuring the look and feel of the Mac's interface, and we're going to start with the General System Preference. So you have various options that you can configure in the General Systems Preference to change the look of the Mac's interface. So you can change the color of the buttons in the menus. You have blue or graphite as choices. You can change the highlight color. So, for example, currently, if I want to change its Name, it's a light blue, but I can change it to a different color if I like.

We'll leave it as the blue. You can change the size of the side bar icons, much bigger now, and very tiny. And medium, and I'll leave it at medium. Then there are scroll bars. Let's pull up a window. Let's pull up one that actually has scroll bars. Now, as you can see, just like in Lion, you have these grayish scroll bars here to the side.

This is much different than what came before. So you can have those scroll bars automatically appear based on whether you're using a mouse or a trackpad, or they can appear only when you're scrolling. So now, I'm scrolling and they appear and then I stop scrolling and they disappear, or you can have them on all the time. Take it away and they're still there. If you have a mouse, they'll be there all the time. If you have a trackpad, they won't, and the reason for this is because it's very much like the iOS.

If you're accustomed to swiping things on your iPhone or your iPod, you don't see scroll bars, it just scrolls, and so they assume that if you're using a trackpad, you want that same kind of experience. You can change how the scroll bars move, depending on where you click, so if I click in the scroll bar, currently it will move down an entire page, or move up a page, or I can choose to jump to the spot that's clicked. So if I want to go all the way to the bottom, I'll click on the bottom, go to the middle, click in the middle, and so on. In another movie, I showed you how to use autosave in TextEdit and other supported applications.

By default, when you close a document, it will automatically save changes you've made. You don't have to allow that to happen, however. If you enable "Ask to keep changes when closing documents," instead of it just closing and saving, you'll see a little dialogue box that asks if you'd like to keep your changes. The next option has to do with closing windows. So by default, if you have a bunch of windows open and you close an application, when you next restart that application, those windows will open up again. In this case, if you enable "Close windows when quitting an application" when you close that application, those windows will close. The next time you open the application, the application will open without any of these windows open.

If you go into the Apple menu, you see that there's a Recent Items entry, and that includes Applications, Documents, and Servers. You can choose how many items are going to appear there. By default, it's 10. But you're going to have no items appear and you can go as far as 50 items. Font smoothing is on by default, and this is a good idea. A lot of times, if you're in your web browser, for example, and this isn't on, some text is going to look a little jagged. If you turn this on, the text is just going to look better.

Here's another font smoothing option, again you can choose which sizes font smoothing will kick in on. By default, it's at four, I like that setting. Now, we'll move to Desktop & Screen Saver. I can close this window here. So within Desktop & Screen Saver, to no one's surprise, there are two options, and one is for configuring the look of the Desktop and the other one is for the Screen Saver. So Apple provides some desktop pictures. To change, simply click on the one you like, and you can also go with solid colors as we have done.

You can also choose a custom color if you like. Wow! That'll wake you up in the morning. You betcha! That's a little too much for me, so I'm going to turn that off and I'm going to change it back to my -- ah, now I feel much calmer. You can also choose items from your iPhoto library if you like. Let me choose photos. That's very nice, too. You can choose how that's going to work, so it can fill the screen, it can fit to screen, you can stretch it to fill the screen, and you can also place it in the center.

Once again, we'll go back to our solid colors. Then if you like, you can choose a folder that has images within it. Now, there you go. Wow, no, not even my wife would like that. Okay, so yes, you could choose your own pictures if you like. Now, also at the bottom, this is something we changed earlier, and that's the Translucent menu bar. If you want things behind the Menu Bar to kind of show through, you can leave this on.

I prefer to have it off, however. Then you can choose how often you're going to change your picture. That can happen every 30 minutes, every hour, every day. Just to show you what can happen if you choose this. Change picture every five seconds. See, it's not terrible, because it fades in and out. However, I would find that really distracting, so I turn that off. Solid colors and back to blue.

Now, let's take a look at Screen Saver. There are a variety of Screen Savers available to you, and a lot of them have to do with slideshows now. They're all very pretty and this comes from a stock library of Apple's images. You can also choose other sources if you like. Again, you could choose a folder or you can choose from a photo library.

Then there are sort of these synthesized effects. This is Shell, iTunes Artwork, I don't have anything in my iTunes library currently, but if I did, you'd see album artwork. I could choose a random Screen Saver. Flurry is the default Screen Saver, and here's Arabesque, and we'll go back to the default. If you like, when a Screen Saver kicks in, you can have a clock up here, and then you can configure some of these things as well.

Now normally, these will kick in after a certain time, and this is configured in the Energy Saver System Preference, which we're going to look at later on, but you can also kick in using a Hot Corner. So you click on Hot Corners, and then you can configure what happens when you take your mouse to a certain place. So in this case, start Screen Savers in the upper left corner, so if I drag my mouse to the upper left corner, here's my Screen Saver, and then just drag it out and it stops. In this case I'll set it back to none and click on OK.

Now, one thing to know about Screen Savers, it used to be way back in the day, when we're all using these huge CRT monitors that you really had to worry about something like screen burn-in. This would happen if you were seeing a static image on your screen for hours. Eventually, that image would actually be burned into the phosphor. And so whenever you look at anything on your computer screen, you would see this ghost image. This is not a concern today with current monitors that we have. You don't have to worry about screen burn-in. So much of this is for your amusement.

The other thing is it's also a security issue. So you can configure your Mac, and we'll look at how that's done, so that when it goes to sleep and shows a Screen Saver, that in order to wake it up, you're going to have to enter your password, so that's one other use for a Screen Saver. And now let's look at Dock, and let's expose the Dock. Go to Dock, Turn Hiding Off, and here's our Dock. So you can change the size of the Dock. It could be big or it could be very little, and you'll change it based on how many items you have in the Dock.

You can also magnify the Dock, which is kind of a cool effect. So as you drag over, your image just get larger and then reduce as you drag away from them. You can choose where you're going to put it, left, right, or bottom. You can't put it at the top. There's a minimize windows effect. Let me show you how that works. So if I click on the yellow button, it minimizes the window. See it sort of swoops down? Here's a cool trick, hold down the Shift key and then you can really see how that effect works.

It also works that way when you bring it back by clicking on it. Again, I have the Shift key held down. And you can scale it down instead. So there's the scale effect with the Shift key. Put it back to Genie. You can double-click on a windows title bar to minimize it, so I'll turn that on. Click on the window. Double-click, there it goes.

You can choose to minimize windows into the application icon. See how that works. So notice, it didn't go to the right side, but instead, because it's a Finder window, it went into the finder icon. You can animate the opening of applications. What happens there is that if I open an application -- see that little bouncing in the Dock, I can turn that off if I want. I can automatically hide and show the Dock, I did that from the menu before, but I can turn that on here.

And very subtle, at the very bottom, any active applications are going to show a very light, whitish-blue, right here, light under an active application. You can have that on or you can turn it off. So you can see there's not a lot of difference, and let's hide our Dock. Then there's Mission Control. We're going to talk about Mission Control in another movie. This is where you modify its behavior and assign keyboard shortcuts to it. Now, a lot of the features here were once known as Expose in earlier versions of the Mac OS, as well as Spaces.

The two have been combined into this System Preference. We're going to talk about Dashboard in another movie. Again, we're going to get to some of these features when we talk about Mission Control, and you're also going to find a Hot Corners option here. Click that and you can choose to have Mission Control activated via a Hot Corner. That wraps up the basic Personal System Preferences.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Mac OS X Mountain Lion Essential Training
Mac OS X Mountain Lion Essential Training

76 video lessons · 21140 viewers

Christopher Breen
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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
      30s

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