Join Christopher Breen for an in-depth discussion in this video Cleaning up the interface, part of Mac OS X Yosemite Tips and Tricks.
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- OS X Yosemite has a bold look similar to that found in Apple's iOS 7 and iOS 8. The appearance is flatter, with a thinner system font, greater transparency, and generally a 2D rather than 3D appearance. Now, I like this look, and I think you will too if you live with it for a while, but if you find it a little too different, there are things you can do to alter it. Let's start with transparency. I'll open my Documents folder, and you see along the left side the sidebar, and it looks a little peachy-orangey.
Notice when I move it around, its hue changes, indicating that there's a measure of transparency here. You see that same view in the menu bar. Again, some of the background is filtering through the menu bar, and, in the Dock, there's also some transparency as you can see from this edge here. We can do away with all these things by launching System Preferences, selecting accessibility, and then enabling the Reduce transparency option.
When you do that, the menu bar goes white. Nothing shines through the side bar, and the Dock becomes kind of a grayish color as well. But there's more that we can do here. If you find Yosemite's look a little less bold than you care for, you can make certain elements stand out more by enabling the Increase contrast option. So I do that, and let's look at this window now. The text is more clearly defined, and there's a darker gray color.
So I'll resize that. And we'll see how it looks as I turn it off and then turn it on. So, when it's off it's a little softer. It's bolder when I select that option. Let's turn it back off for now. Another thing I like to do when setting up a new Mac is to select the Zoom option and then enable the Use scroll gesture with modifier keys to zoom option. When I do that, I can hold down the Control key and then using my mouse wheel, I can scroll in and I can scroll out or you can do the same thing with a trackpad, just use a two-fingered gesture and then swipe up.
This is a great technique when you're dealing with a large monitor and very small elements in it. While we're still using System Preferences, let's explore two other options. I'll go back to the main list, and I'll click on General. A new option in Yosemite is to Use dark menu bar and Dock and let's see how that looks. So, if you find the menu bar and Dock a little too cheerful, switch this on and they go dark. And we'll turn it off.
One other thing you can do is change the appearance. So, right now it's set to Blue. Turn it to Graphite, and we lose the colors here on the buttons and also in menus and windows. And back to Blue. And then there's the Dock. On smaller displays like on a MacBook Air, I almost always want to hide the Dock because it takes up valuable real estate. Let's do that now. Now, in the old days, you'd go to the Apple menu, and you'd find an option for controlling the Dock.
That's gone in Yosemite. So, how do you get to it? Well, one way is to go into System Preferences, go into the Dock preference, and deal with it there, but I find it easier simply to go down to the Dock and Control-click or right-click on the Dock and here are your Dock options. So we'll Turn Hiding On, and the Dock disappears. And while we're playing with the Dock, let's hover over it to bring it back again, and let's deal with the Downloads folder. By default, when you click on it, it opens up in a fan view.
Now, I often put a lot of elements into this folder, and so I want to see it in a list within a folder. So, I'll right-click on it, or Control-click, I choose to view it as a Folder, and then as a List. Now, anything that appears here will appear in a list, which I find much easier to navigate. Anything else we can do? Sure. Let's change the Finder View. So, I'll go to Finder, I'll choose Preferences, and I'd like to view my hard drive.
I sometimes like to dig around in there, and having it visible makes that easier for me. Also, I have never gotten used to having Finder windows open in the All My Files view. I'm constantly creating new files, and I find this view cluttered. Now, if you like it, go ahead and keep it as it is, but I'm gonna change mine so that instead, a new window opens up into my Home folder. I'll now close the Finder Preferences window, along with the Documents window, and I'll press Command-N to produce a new window.
And here it is, my Home folder, along with its contents. And there we have our transformed interface. A little easier to read, and a lot less transparent.
The course also covers automating repetitive tasks with Automator and recording your Mac or iOS device's screen with QuickTime. Need help with basic housekeeping tasks? Chris dives into the utilities that help you resize disk partitions, create encrypted images, recover passwords, and more. The course concludes with great tips on efficiently using email and iCloud.
- Cleaning up the Mac OS X interface
- Using AirDrop to move files between your Mac and iOS device
- Extending Spotlight's reach
- Converting imported images with Automator
- Controlling your Mac with your voice
- Capturing screenshots and recording your screen with QuickTime
- Creating encrypted images
- Recovering passwords
- Archiving email
- Sending large email attachments with Mail Drop
- Working with iCloud