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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.
What you're looking at is how the Mac's Finder appears by default. Now, I'm going to make some changes that not only will make it easier for you to see what I'm doing throughout the rest of the course, but will also show you a few simple ways to personalize your Mac's interface. I'm going to start by right-clicking on the desktop, and I'll choose Change Desktop Background. So this takes me directly to the Desktop & Screen Saver preference. As much as I love the this Galaxy background, I want to simplify this a little bit, so I'll click on Solid Colors and I'll choose this second blue, which is Solid Aqua Dark Blue.
Another thing I want to do while I'm here is turn off the translucent menu bar. You notice that the menu bar is this sort of light blue and this is perfectly okay in some circumstances, but suppose I go back to Desktop Pictures and I choose this green grassy background. If a window shows up near here, it's going to look a little funny, so I'm going to go back again to Solid Colors and then turn that off, so it turns white, nothing will show through behind it. I'm going to Show All and then I'll go to Trackpad. Now, I have a trackpad that's connected to my Mac.
Now, one of the things that they have here that was introduced with Lion is a feature called natural scrolling, and what this does is, if you're used an iOS device, you scroll in a certain direction, that's opposite to the way it used to work on Macs. Because I'm an old time Mac user, I prefer to have that option off, so I'll turn off natural scrolling. If you prefer things that way, you're welcome to leave it on. Now, it happens that I also have a mouse attached, so I'm going to go Show All. I'll click on Mouse and here is the scroll direction option here.
I've turned this off as well. If I turned it on, the scroll will -- would work in the opposite direction. Now, for some people, scrolling in Apple's natural direction feels perfectly okay on a trackpad, but I'll tell you, on a scroll wheel, it seems completely bizarre. So, again, feel free to turn off that option. Now we'll close out system preferences. And there are times when you need as much of the desktop as you can get to, and sometimes this Dock gets in the way. So I'm going to turn that off, so I'll go to the Apple menu, go to Dock, and I'll Turn Hiding On, and the Dock disappears.
It's still there, if I need it, I just bring my cursor down to the bottom of the screen and there it is, but for now we're going to hide it. Now, we have some items in the upper right of the menu bar and we don't need all those either. So we've got a Bluetooth icon here, Wi-Fi, date and time, and sound. One way to get rid of these things is to hold down the command key, click and drag on what you want to get rid off, drag it to the desktop, and it disappears in a puff of smoke. So, we'll get rid of those. and now we have a very nice and clean-looking desktop.
I'm an old time Mac user and I like to see my hard drive on the desktop, so I'll go to the Finder menu, choose Preferences, and I'll elect to show hard drives, and here are the two hard drives that are attached to my Mac, and I'll close that window. I also find it helpful to see how much space remains on my Mac's hard drive and how many items a folder holds, so I'm going to create a new Finder window by pressing Command+N, and I'll go to the view menu and choose Show Status Bar. When I do this in the All My Files view, I see that I have six items in this folder, but I'll select my Documents folder, and you can see that it lists the number of items, plus the amount of storage space, on my hard drive.
Also, sometimes I need to rummage around in my User folder, and for that reason, I like to put my User folder in the sidebar. So I'll double click on the hard drive, I'll go to Users, here's my Home folder, and I'll just drag this in to the sidebar. Now, I can click on that and then I can see the contents of my User folder. I'll close both windows by holding down the Option key and clicking on the red close button and they both close. Now, again, you're not required to perform any of these tweaks. These are simply the things I do to make a Mac more useful for me.
At the very least, you now know how to get some of these settings. Try the ones that make sense for you.
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