6 Random Hacks for your Mac Workflow

by Jude Goodwin

Years ago, when I was working on my very first Mac desktop, I used to love picking up mac magazines full of tips and workarounds. In that spirit, here are 6 random hacks for you and your Mac. Yes you can find all of these in the bookstore and library but sometimes a person just has time for a quick list.

1. View as list

In any folder on your Mac you have the option to View As List. When you select this all the items in that folder are presented in a nice text list. This can be handy because you can view alphabetically or you can view according to ‘last modified’ - meaning date and time.

When you view alphabetically, the A items will appear at the top of course. However, did you know item names that have a number first will appear above alphabetical items, and spaces will appear above numbers.

So if you want something to appear at the top of your list, add the number one to the left of its name. Or, add a space - or two!

You can organize all the items in your folder this way and here’s another cool thing. Create a new folder and give it the name of ----------------. Now put a few spaces in front of that line and the folder will pop into whatever position you want it to.

Using folder dividers and spaces and numbers, I typically sort my Desktop and my Documents and my Downloads folders and view by list to easily find everything.

2. Share text tidbits

Right click (or control click) any highlighted text on your mac to quickly share it via Twitter, Facebook, email, or iMessage. Brilliant! Note: this does not work in a browser, just on your desktop.


3. Screenshots are easy

Screenshots on the Mac are pretty awesome, and there are three ways to take a screenshot with your Mac. My favourite is Command+Shift+4. This turns your cursor into a little crosshair and you can select whatever part of your window you wish to screenshot. Of course this is why I tell my photographer and artist clients that there is no way to prevent people from copying and downloading your content. But screenshots are low rez - if that’s any consolation.

There are a few other ways to screenshot on a mac - here’s a handy list.

  • Command + Shift + 4 (see above).

  • Command + Shift + 4 at the same time and then let them go, then hit the Spacebar. Now you can click on any window you want and take a shot of that entire window, shadow included.

  • Command + Shift + 3 to take a shot of your entire desktop. If you have more than one monitor or display connected, you’ll get a separate file for each.

4. Typing in French or -

If you need to type a special character, the easiest way is to hold down the letter and a character menu will pop up. This knocked my socks off when I first discovered it!  All those years of copying and pasting or whatever it was I was doing in order to get that é NOTE: This does not work in Google Docs! But it works fine on your desktop no matter where you are.


5. How much battery does your Apple Pencil have?

Good question and guess what. You do not have to find and download an app for this although you might have been told so. On your ipad, swipe to the right until you get a screen list with all sorts of interesting things. Weather. Screen Time. And at the bottom, Batteries. If your pencil is paired and near your device, it will be listed there along with it’s battery percentage.

6. Click Click Neo

Many of you might already know this but I’m putting it out there for those of you who don’t: Double click on a word and it will highlight. You don’t need to drag your cursor across the word. Triple click in a line and the whole line (or paragraph) will be highlighted. For anyone who has only a laptop and a Touch Pad, this is one of the best tips ever.

Using the keys on your keyboard can save you a lot of grief. Here are a few more goodies:

Select All - command A

Copy - command C

Paste - command V

Quit - command Q

Save - command S

Undo - command Z

Red - Shift-command Z

Watch for more Random Hacks on our blog in the coming weeks!

Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash