An application is a piece of software that helps you perform a particular task or set of tasks There is no difference between the words program and application.
By default, all the applications are placed in a folder called Applications, which is located at the top of the folder tree in your hard drive. However, this is just a convenient storage place, as you can put an application wherever you like on your Mac.
Within the Application folder, another folder is located, called Utilities. A utility is an application for technic tasks such as setting something up or diagnosing a problem.
How to Launch and Quit
If you regularly use a particular application, you can drag its icon onto the Dock for quick access.. Likewise you can drag a shortcut to an individual application onto your destop. If you want quick access to your whole Applications folder, a few other possibilities open to you:
- Using the keyboard, when in Finder, press Command key + Shift + A to jump to Applications.
- Using the Dock, drag your whole Applications folder to the right hand side of the Dock to create a Stack.
- You can use a customization program and individual applications (or your whole Applications folder) to add elements to the Apple menu.
- To quickly exit an application, hit Command key + Q. Conveniently, the keys for save – Command key + S and for close window – Command key + W are located nearby. So when you’ve finished working in a particular application you can save and shut up shop with the slightest movement of the thumb and middle finger.
When an application is up and running, you’ll find all its menus at the top of the screen. The first menu will display the name of the application. It contains everything relating to it “as a whole” information about the app, such as preferences for it, options for quitting or closing and finding it.
The application menu also includes Services. Many users ignore this feature of OS X, but it can can be very useful as it provides quick access to a number of utilities and tools. If you are listening to a track in iTunes, for example, and you want to quickly look up the artist via Google, you can highlight the name of the artist and click Services – Search With Google. If you typing something in a program with no spell-check feature, select Services – TextEdit – New Window Containing Selection. The text will appear in TextEdit, where you can quickly check the spelling. To customize the way that your Mac’s Services menu works, choose Services – Services Preferences in any application.
Switching Apps and Windows
If you’re working in multiple applications and windows simultaneously, you may find yourself rooting around for a particular pane. There are a couple of tricks that make it much easier to quickly access the application,, window or file that you’re looking for…
The Mother of All Shortcuts: Command Key-Tab
This keyboard shortcut allows you to access to all the apps which are currently open on your Mac. Hold down the Command key and press the Tab key. A bar will appear in the center of the screen, displaying all the applications which you’ve opened. Keep holding down the Command Key and cycle between these applications with repeated clicks of the Tab key. When you get to the app you want to access, release the keys.
If you want to cycle through the open apps in the opposite direction, add Shift to the combination. You can also keep holding down the Command key and select one of the icons with your mouse.
If you cycle through applications with Command Key and Tab, you can hit Q to quit a highlighted program. You can hit H to hide a program. This is a great way to quickly close lots of programs or clear the decks.
Note however that this shortcut will ignore minimized windows. Besides it won’t work in all applications.
The OS X Exposé exposes open windows and the desktop by keaboard shortcuts. Hit one of these keys
- Hit F9 to see all windows that are open.
- Hit F10 to see windows in current application.
- Hit F11 to hide all windows.
All new Macs also feature an Exposé button on the top of the keyboard (in the F3 position) to reveal all windows. Many computers from the MacBook family allow to control Exposé with Multi-Touch finger gestures.
From the Exposé and Spaces panel of System Preferences you can set up Active Screen Corners for the various Exposé commands. Symply moving your mouse pointer to one of the screen’s corners does the same as a shortcut.
While using Exposé or minimizing windows, hold down the Shift key. In this case everything will happen in slow motion.
Another useful way to cut through the clutter is to hide all the windows of a particular application or of all the applications, except the one you’re working in. These options appear in the menu for an application, though it’s more convenient to hold down Option key, in order to hide the application you are leaving or Command key + Option key (if you want to hide all but the application you are selecting) when clicking to a different application via its icon on the Dock or via an open window.
How to Minimize Windows
To minimize or hide an individual window, minimize it to the Dock by clicking the yellow button on its top-right corner. To minimize all the windows within an application, including Finder, hold Option key while clicking the yellow button.
If you find the way windows “melt” down into their minimized state a bit too cute, change “Genie” to “Scale” in the Dock pane of System Preference.
The Spaces features allow you to set up a number of different virtual working areas on your Mac for different applications and for different activities. Its basic idea is to cut down on clutter by limiting which active applications and windows are visible at any one time. You might create one “space” for work applications, say, anotheer for video and music, and another for email and chat.
To get started, open System Preferences – Exposé & Spaces and click the Spaces tab. Check the Enable spaces box to get the Spaces up and running.
You are now ready to start adding spaces to your grid using the buttons in the top section of the panel and assigning different commonly used applications to always open into a specific space using the loweer half of the panel.
After you do that, you can go back to using your Mac as usual, getting used to the idea tha applications and windows move in and out of view as and when you need them. What’s more, there are various different ways to move between your new spaces.
- You can create rows and columns of spaces
- Associate applications with different spaces
- Assign shortcuts for switching spaces.
Click F8 to reveal the so-called bird’s-eye, view pictured below and then either click the space you want, or use the arrow keys to navigate to the one you want and then hit Return. When previewing all your spaces in the bird’s eye view, click and drag individual spaces to rearrange them on the screen.
Click the Spaces menu bar icon and select a space from the list.
Click the Dock icon of any application associated with a specific space to be whisked to the space. Note that if an application is currently closed, clicking its Dock icon will both launch the application and take you to the associated space.
Use the keyboard shortcuts ^1, ^2, ^3, ^4, etc. To go directly to a space.
Use the keyboard shortcuts ^ arrows to toggle between the various spaces.
In bird’s eye view you can drag individual Finder and application windows between different spaces, even where the applciation is already associated with a certain space. Ths’s useful for keeping a space tidy when working with multiple documents from a single application.
Within System Preferences – Exposé & Spaces, check the Show Spaces in menu bar boc. This offers a quick and easy way to switch between spaces and open Spaces Preferences.
You can create up to 16 spaces arranged 4×4, though anything more than six almost defeats the object of the exercise as it cab become a drag to keep track of where things are and switch quickly between applications.
Check the When switching box at the bottom of the panel, if you want the relevant space to come to the front when you click the icon of an application associated with that space.
Installing and Uninstalling
Some applications can take you through a step by stem installer process. However, in the majority of cases installing software on Mac OS X involvves simply dropping a single file or folder into the Applicaions folder (or somewhere else if you prefer. (If you don’t like an app that you’ve downloaded to be available to other users on your Mac, put it in your home folder, not in the Applications folder).
To uninstall an app, drag the file to the trash. Anyway, installing and uninstalling applciations is very user-friendly element of OS X.
Besides, it’s very easy to share applications (just copy a file or folder from someone else’s Applications folder into yours, and generally it will work straight off – but be aware that you may break the terms of the license agreement in this case).
Keep in mind as well that when you drag an application to the Trash, some residual files may be left in your Mac’s Libraries. This is harmless, but you may want to delete them and clean the Mac if you’re short of disk space. Try to read “readme” file that usually comes with an app (not always, of course), and it may content the names of all the relevant files. You could also you Spotlight to search for the name of the application to locate files that are no longer useful. However, you must be quite sure that you can delete these files, and they are not used by other apps!
Be warned: Small and easily installed applications such as widgets offer an obvious way in for malicious software, so avoid any widgets that look remotely suspicious.
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