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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.
We're going to return to the Personal System Preferences to take a look at Mission Control, a navigation feature that was introduced with Mac OS X Lion, but before we do, let me show you what Mission Control does. This is the Mission Control interface. Mission Control is a way for you to have separate work environments or spaces on your Mac. So on a Mac with a trackpad, you just swipe up with three fingers to expose Mission Control and to make it go away, I'll take those three fingers and I'll swipe down, so it's gone. Swipe three fingers up and here it is, or if you're using a keyboard, hold down the Control key and press the up arrow, and that gives you Mission Control, and make it disappear, The Control key, arrow key down.
So the main screen shrinks down to the smaller screen and above the screen, you see two small windows. One represents the screen you're currently working with, and the other is the Dashboard environment, which contains small applications called Widgets for doing things like checking the weather, time, and stock. So you can switch environments by simply clicking on one. So if I want to go to the Dashboard environment, I click on Dashboard, and here it is. Swipe up with three fingers, I can go back to my desktop by clicking on the Desktop window.
If you have a trackpad, you can simply swipe three fingers to the left, I'm in the Dashboard environment, to return, swipe three fingers to the right, and here is Mission Control again. You can create additional spaces just by moving your cursor to the top right corner and clicking on the plus button. I'll click on that Desktop 2, and now I have a new environment here. If you're going to create additional spaces, it helps to change the look of them, so you can tell which environment you're in. One way to do that is to go to System Preferences.
Choose Desktop & Screen Saver, and then change the background color. So in this case, I'll change this to Solid Kelp. Close that. Now, I invoke Mission Control and note, Desktop 1 is blue, and Desktop 2 is green. So I can tell at a glance which one I'm in. So what good is this exactly? Well, let's move to Desktop 2. I'll click and hold on the Safari icon, choose Options, and then I will assign Safari to This Desktop only, then I'll launch Safari.
So here's Safari, I'll go to Mission Control. Now you notice Safari is in the second desktop environment. If I go back to the first desktop environment, there's nothing here at all. Let's assign the Calendar to the first desktop environment. I'll launch Calendar and here's my Calendar. Back to Mission Control, second desktop environment has Safari. First desktop environment has Calendar. Let's quit that. I'm going to swipe over, so I'm in my second environment and I'm going to launch Calendar, and watch what happens.
I switched back to my first desktop environment. So what's the point of all this? Well, let's suppose that you have a group of tasks that you like to perform together. So, for example, I would use Calendar, I'd use Contacts, and I would use Mail all within the same desktop environment. In my second environment, maybe I want to work with Safari and iPhoto, for example, because I want to take some of the images in iPhoto and I want to upload them to a website through my browser. If I assign applications to particular desktop environments, it makes it very easy for me to work in a particular set of tasks and then change the environment and then work in a different set of tasks.
It's particularly helpful if you're using a laptop with a limited amount of space. For example, if you have a MacBook Air, it can be really easy to have too many windows, so you can't see what you're doing, but if you create multiple desktop environments, when you do that, it's much easier to confine things so that you can work in a less cluttered environment. Now, there's one other thing I need to tell you about Mission Control. Let's open iPhoto, and this isn't assigned to any particular environment at all, so it's going to open in the current environment.
I will then click on the fullscreen button in the top right corner. Now let's see what Mission Control looks like. Note that we now have an additional environment, and that is iPhoto. So whenever you flip an application into fullscreen mode, it will become a separate environment. However, once you close it, it stops being an environment. So how do you close out these environments? Well, simply hold on the Option key, you'll see that an X appears above an environment. So if I want to close Desktop 2, it's gone, but what happens to the application that was there? Well, it goes to my main environment. Here's Safari.
So I don't lose my work, the applications don't quit, they simply move to another environment. Let's go back to iPhoto. I'll get out of fullscreen mode. Look at Mission Control, and it too has moved to the main environment, because I'm no longer using it in fullscreen mode. Let's take one more look at its preference. So you can use Dashboard as a space. I can choose not to do that, and when I swipe to the left, nothing happens.
You can choose how your spaces are arranged, so the most recently used one is going to move to the left. And the other two options have to do with how windows are dealt with with applications. Here's where you can change your shortcuts, and again you have Hot Corners. So if you don't feel like swiping or pressing a keyboard shortcut, just drag your cursor down to one of the corners and you can invoke Mission Control that way. And then click on the environment you want, and back it comes. And that's Mission Control and its preferences, a useful way to organize your work and play.
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