More Mac hacks for our Apple fans. We have another installment of hacks you can do with the current OS X 10.11 El Capitan or the newest macOS 10.12 Sierra. Apple announced last June that OS X will now be called macOS as they update to stylistically match Apple’s other operating systems such as iOS, tvOS, and watchOS.
1. Access the Dictionary Just Like That
You can use Spotlight to look up the definition of a word, but you can actually do it even faster by just tapping your MacBook touchpad. Place your cursor over the word in question and touch your touchpad with three fingers. The definition as well as thesaurus entries will popup.
2. Create a Signature
I assisted an attorney with setting up this feature one time. He used it extensively for signing legal documents. No more printing, signing, and then scanning back to email.
a. Open a document in the preview app
b. Click the Toolbox icon that to the left of the search window in the Preview toolbar
c. A second toolbar will open with a bunch of icons – click on the signature icon
d. The signature wizard will walk you through the rest of the process
e. After you create your signature you can drag it and resize as needed in the document
I you are not as good signing your name with your finger you may have the option of using your camera. If you have an iSight camera you can click the Camera button in the signature wizard and hold your signature signed to a piece of paper in front your MacBook.
The real magic is that you only have to do this once. Preview saves your signature.
3. No Notifications = More Work Done
Research is pointing out that all the notifications for text messages, voice mails, emails, etc are sapping the productivity out of our days. You can turn off the notifications on your Mac by clocking on the Notification Center icon in the Menu Bar. Choose “Do Not Disturb” (DND) in the Today tab.
A great keyboard shortcut is to hold down the Option button on your keyboard and click the Notification Center icon in the Menu Bar and will shade out. This means you have enabled DND.
Repeat either process to come back to the rest of the world occasionally. You likely didn’t miss anything too earth shattering.
4. Fine Tune Volume and Brightness
If you need to fine tune the volume of the sound of your Mac or the brightness of the screen try this trick. Before you use the volume or brightness buttons press and hold Shift + Option then press the adjustment keys.
5. Talk to Your Mac and It Types
Dragon Speak was the de factor standard for dictation software. Apple actually licensed the software and it is in your Mac. In spite of the rumors Apple didn’t buy the Dragon Speak makers, but supposedly they tried.
To setup dictation go to System Preferences via the Apple icon in the upper left hand side of your screen. Click on the Dictation & Speech icon near the bottom of the preferences window. From there click Dictation On radio button. Also be sure to check the Use Enhanced Dictation. That features allows you to use it offline and it will be much faster. You can also choose your Language and Shortcut key. The default is the Fn (Function) key on your keyboard pressed twice quickly. That is a quick method to open and start dictation.
6. Rename a Bunch of Files
Choose a group of files in Finder. Right-click and choose Rename x Items in the menu. Name your files in the popup utility.
7. Type Special Characters
If you need to enter letters with accents or special marks just hold the letter key on your keyboard such as C and a popup will show options such as Ć or Ĉ or Č. Just click on your choice using the touchpad or mouse.
There you go Mac users. We will have more tips coming for you soon. Windows users have no fear we have more coming for you as well. You can find more Mac Hacks here.