Join Chad Chelius for an in-depth discussion in this video Sharing files between users, part of Up and Running with Mac OS X Mountain Lion.
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When several people share a computer using their own user accounts, it can be really useful to be able to share files between those accounts. Let's say for example, you have a photo that you want to share with another user. In Mountain Lion, you can do this easily. Let's take a look at how this is done. In this video, I'm starting in the Finder, and I'm going to go ahead an click on the Finder icon in My Dock, to open up a Finder window. Now, I'm going to go to my Home folder, just to explain that every user has their own Home folder, with folders inside of there that they can use to file their content.
And there's one folder, however, that other people have the ability to see. To see what I mean, I'm going to hold down the Cmd key on my keyboard, and I'm going to click on the title of my Finder window. And I'm going to choose the Users folder, because now I can see the Home folder of everybody's account. Now, if I go to Jane's folder, we could see that I don't have access to any of these folders, except the Public folder. I can actually see that. Now the Public folder is read-only, so I can put files there to share with other users, but they can't actually save to it.
So what I'm going to do here is I'm going to drag a photo into my Public folder. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to go to the Pictures folder. And I'm going to go to my Fun Pics, and what I want to do, maybe I'll share the sunset photo with other users. So what I'm going to do here is I'm going to click on the sunset photo and I'm going to drag it on top of Trainer. And then I'm just going to keep holding down the mouse button. And I'm going to drag it on top of Public. And I'm going to drop it into that folder.
So what I've done is made it available to other users. Now, what I can do now is I'm going to log out of my account, or really just switch over to another user. So I'm going to click on the Fast User Switching menu, and switch over to Jane's account. So I'll enter Jane's password. And now you can see up here that I'm logged in as Jane. Now, for Jane to gain access to that file, she simply needs to open up a Finder window. She can go to her Home folder. But then she needs to hold down the Cmd key and choose the Users folder. If she goes to the Trainer account, and then to the Public folder, there's the image that she can now access.
Now like I said before, she can't actually save into this folder, but she can drag a file out. You'll notice that it makes a copy automatically. Now, lets say Jane wants to give something to me. Maybe she has a shopping list she wants to share with me. So I'm going to use Launch Pad to go into my Applications, and I'm going to type the word text here, and I'm going to press enter to launch the TextEdit application. I'm going to type shopping list here, and I'm going to press Return, and Jane needs a couple of things. She needs eggs, bacon, and potatoes.
There we go. So what Jane's going to do is she's going to save this to her hard drive. So I'm going to go to the File menu and choose Save. I'll call this Shopping List, save it to her desktop for now. And then we'll go ahead and close this and quit TextEdit. So, remember, this is the Trainers public folder. If I hold down the Cmd key as I click on the title, we could see that I'm in the Users folder in the Trainers folder in the Public folder. Now Jane wants to share this shopping list with me.
So she could try to drag this on top of here. But it's going to tell her that she can't. Unless she has my account information, she's not going to be able to do it. So I'll have to hit Cancel, but that's where this Dropbox comes into play. The Dropbox is what's called a write-only folder. If she tries to open it, she can't see anything. But if she drags the shopping list into that folder, she can write to it, and this is what the dialog is indicating. She can put items into the Dropbox, but she won't be able to see them. That's okay.
She's going to go ahead and click Okay, and then she can close this folder. And now I'm going to log back in to the Trainer account. Now, if I go to my Home folder, and go to the Public folder, into the Dropbox folder, there's the shopping list. And if I double-click on it, I can now see what she put in here, and I can add to it if I wish. So if I wanted to add some additional content here, maybe we'll add cheese to this, and maybe add some additional items.
I can save it, go to the File menu and choose Save. Because I'm the one who has read and write access to that file. As you can see, understanding how to share files between user accounts in Mountain Lion can be extremely valuable. Using either the Public folder or the Dropbox folder will give you the best of both worlds.
- Installing Mountain Lion
- Creating and logging in to a user account
- Setting parental controls
- Customizing the Finder window toolbar
- Sharing files between users
- Browsing the web with Safari
- Sending and receiving email
- Installing applications
- Using Reminders, Notes, Messages, and the Notification Center
- Backing up and restoring files with Time Machine