Mac Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts in easy steps (2015)
The Finder is the control center for the Mac and you will spend much of your time using Finder windows. There are many ways in which you can adapt the Finder for your own needs.
Using the Apple Menu
The Apple Menu is a great place to start exploring OS X. Click the Apple icon at the top left of the screen and a drop-down menu will appear. Using the Apple Menu you can:
Find out about your Mac’s configuration
Check for Software Updates
Visit the App Store
View your System Preferences
Configure the Dock
View recent apps or documents
Force Quit apps
Put your Mac to sleep, restart, or shut down
Log out of your account
Holding down the Shift or Option keys gives you different options (image below shows Apple Menu with Shift key pressed)
The Apple Menu gives you quick access to commonly-used functions, previously-opened documents, apps, and other utilities.
The New icon pictured above indicates a new or enhanced feature introduced in the latest operating system for Macs – OS X Yosemite.
Force Quit apps
Resizing Window Columns
If you use the multiple column view (probably the most useful view) you often see document titles chopped off since they don’t fit within the column.
You can manually drag the column by placing the pointer on the dividing line and moving the pointer to the right.
Quick, accurate column resizing
Place the pointer on the dividing line between two columns
The column will now resize to the exact width that accommodates the longest document title
Before resizing a column
After double-clicking to resize
The Finder and app buttons in Yosemite are different to other versions of OS X:
Red: closes window
Green: full screen
Change Finder Views
There are several Finder views. You can use the mouse to change views but keyboard shortcuts are much quicker! There are also keyboard shortcuts for many Finder options as shown in the table below.
A more comprehensive list of shortcuts is provided in Chapter Two.
Finder Icon view
⌘ + 1
Finder List view
⌘ + 2
Finder Column view
⌘ + 3
Finder Cover Flow view
⌘ + 4
⌥ + ⌘ + T
⌘ + [
⌘ + ]
Show Enclosing folder
⌘ + up arrow
⇪ + ⌘ + C
Show Download folder
⌥ + ⌘ + L
⇪ + ⌘ + H
⇪ + ⌘ + D
⇪ + ⌘ + K
⇪ + ⌘ + A
⇪ + ⌘ + U
Go to folder
⇪ + ⌘ + G
Connect to Server
⌘ + K
⌘ + M
Cycle through windows
⌘ + `
Option (alt) key
Learn some basic keystrokes to help speed up your workflow.
By default, OS X is not set up to show hard drives and other connected devices on the Desktop (earlier versions of OS X showed these). There are many adjustments to the Finder you can make and all are found at:
Finder > Preferences
Show connected drives
You can find settings for various types of drive under the General tab. You can also tell OS X how you want windows opened and also the Spring-loading delay time:
Use Tags to highlight your files or folders
OS X provides Tags if you look under the Tags tab. These are color coded. You can change the names of the Tags to anything you want to make them more useful.
Default Tags can be edited as shown on the image above
Mac OS X’s Tags make it really easy to find important files and folders.
Fed up with being asked if you want to empty the Trash?
You can easily switch this off using the Advanced tab. Simply uncheck the Show warning before emptying the Trash then it won’t ask you again!
Be warned, if you delete files they may be almost impossible to recover!
Control the Sidebar
The Sidebar contains your folders such as the Home folder, Applications, Movies etc. What you see, and the order they are shown, can be fully modified so you only see the items you want.
Customize the Sidebar
Under Finder Preferences choose the Sidebar tab and check or uncheck until you have the Sidebar customized to your needs.
Remove the Indicator Lights
These are the lights that show on the Dock to indicate which app is running (i.e. as opposed to being on the Dock but not active).
You can see Contacts and Calendar are active in the image above but FaceTime and Reminders are not.
You can switch off indicator lights and modify the Dock in many other ways by opening Dock Preferences:
System Preferences > Dock
Resize Finder Icons
The icons you see on the Desktop and elsewhere may be perfect for your eyes, or you may prefer them to be larger or smaller. Achieving this is easily done using:
View > Show View Options (on the Menu Bar of the Finder).
Drag the slider right or left till you achieve the desired icon size.
You can also change the size of the text and the option to display the preview of the file (showing icon preview can slow down older Macs and switching off the preview speeds things up).
Clean Up the Menu Bar
The Menu Bar is very useful since it holds items like the date and time, Wi-Fi, and many other functions. You can often determine what is shown on the Menu Bar from the Preference file for each item.
You can stop Date & Time showing on Menu Bar by unchecking the box at the top. The same can be done for Keyboard (below) and every other item that shows on the Menu bar.
The items on the menu bar are not fixed – they can be moved around to suit your needs.
Rearranging the order of items on the Menu Bar
Click an item while holding down the Command key and you can move items around the Menu Bar.
FTP using the Finder
Generally, file transfer (copying files to or from a server) is performed using an FTP (file transfer protocol) program such as Cyberduck (http://cyberduck.ch). But you can easily connect to servers from the Finder without using any software.
Connect to an FTP server
Press ⌘ + K to open a server search window
Enter the FTP details and press Connect
The FTP window will open like any regular Finder window and you can view files, upload and delete items easily
Customize Notification Alerts
Notifications in Yosemite are the same as those in iOS (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch). Essentially, apps can send you notifications of events, text messages, incoming emails, and many other types of activity on the Mac. How you see and hear these can be configured to suit your needs.
Go to System Preferences > Notifications to access the settings.
To see your notifications on the Mac click the icon at the top right of the screen (on a MacBook Pro you can see the notifications by swiping two fingers from left to right on the trackpad).
Because Spotlight indexes your files based on their names and the data they contain, you can find any file you want fairly quickly. This powerful Spotlight indexing and search facility means that less filing of documents may be used, but in general it is still a good idea to create folders, much as you would do with a file cabinet, rather than have all your documents in one folder.
There are several ways you can locate files.
Finder search window
Type ⌘ + F
A Finder search window opens
Type the name of the file OR some of the text within the file if you don’t know the actual file name
The Finder will attempt to locate the file for you
The Finder will even find words within your documents. If you cannot remember the name of a file simply type in a word or two that you know are actually contained within the document.
In this example, I was trying to find a presentation about platelets that I had created within the last week: I typed ⌘ + F then typed platelet in the search box. Many files were found so I needed to narrow this down.
I changed Kind to Presentation which narrowed down the list but there were still too many files.
I added a Created date option and specified within last 30 days which reduced the list of files, showing the ones I was looking for.
Keep adding criteria to the search to pinpoint the file you are looking for.
Using Spotlight to Find Files
Instead of bringing up a Finder window, you can use Spotlight. There are two ways to access Spotlight:
Click the Spotlight icon (magnifying glass at the top right of the screen)
Or you can tap ⌘ + Spacebar which brings up the Spotlight search box
Hiding Sensitive Files
Later in the book we will look at ways of making encrypted disks to hold sensitive files. But here is a quick and easy way to create a folder which can be hidden and unhidden using the Terminal app.
To hide a folder called “mysecretfile” (in Documents folder)
Open Terminal and enter chflags hidden ~/Documents/mysecretfile
The file is now hidden
Enter chflags nohidden ~/Documents/mysecretfile
Quick Look at Files
Sometimes, when you are looking through a group of files, you don’t want the hassle of opening each and every one within a program. OS X lets you see the content of a file quickly using Quick Look. If it is the correct file, you can then double-click the file and open it using the appropriate app.
Using the Spacebar
Find the file and click it once to select
Tap the spacebar to open; tap again to close
From File Menu
Select the file by clicking on it then go to File > Quick Look
Click the file once
Press ⌘ + Y
Once you can view the file there are various things you can do, e.g. open in the appropriate program, preview (if it is an image), email it, Tweet it, and a few other actions.
Use Quick Look to see if a file is the one you want before opening it (will save you time).
Keep Files in the Cloud
There’s a lot of hype about cloud computing, but there are so many advantages to keeping files in the cloud that it makes sense to use a cloud to store much of your data.
In essence, the cloud is a remote server (usually multiple) on which you have some drive space. On the Mac you can often use the cloud as you would any other folder on your Mac, allowing you to drag-and-drop files into the cloud. So what? Well, if you have that cloud service running on your desktop and laptop, and perhaps an iPhone, iPad or other mobile device, you can see your cloud documents from any device! You no longer have to carry around USB drives to open your files on other devices.
Apple’s iCloud is a cloud service which provides a folder called iCloud Drive on your Mac.
This is a great cloud service. You can download the free app at dropbox.com. You then have a Dropbox folder on your Mac (or PC or pretty much all mobile devices). You get 2GB free but you can buy more space if you need it.
Opening Foreign Files
Sometimes you are sent files created by an app you don’t have on your Mac. If you double-click the file, the Mac will tell you the program that created it cannot be found. But you can often still open the file and see the contents even if the layout is messed up.
For example, if someone gives me a QuarkXpress file I cannot see the content because I do not have QuarkXpress on my Mac. But I do have other apps that can open it which will give me a good idea of what the contents should look like.
I can also force the document into something like TextEdit and see the text but not the graphics and layout.
On the Mac you can open almost any type of file, although you may not see the contents in their original forms.
Opening with a similar program
Right-click the document
The Mac will suggest a program, in this case InDesign (similar to QuarkXpress). This will let me see the layout and probably the graphics too
But if I didn’t have InDesign on my Mac, I could ask Microsoft Word, Pages, or TextEdit to try to open the file
At least within a word processing document I can grab the text I need and re-edit it
The Mac may suggest an appropriate app
In this case you can see my Mac has suggested InDesign.
But there are other options – simply click Other... and choose different apps till you find one that opens the file.
Viewing in TextEdit
Although the text doesn’t look great, I can at least see the content and I can edit either within TextEdit or copy and paste it into Word or some other app. You can even see what the App Store suggests (tap App Store...).
TextEdit is a great little text editor – it is fast, simple and good for making simple edits to text before placing in Word or Pages.
Viewing File Information
Sometimes you want to see how big a file is, its location, which app created it, and who has read/write permissions. This is easily done on the Mac using the File Information command: ⌘ + I. You can also click once on the file or folder and go to File > Get Info.
This document is 61KB in size and is a PDF file. It is in the Dropbox folder on my Mac. You can see the creation and modified dates. It is not locked (you can lock it from here by clicking the radio box). Sharing and permissions are hidden but clicking the triangle will show who can read and write to this file and these settings can be modified.
This is a folder on my Mac (the Dropbox folder). It is 46.43GB in size and it was created on 3 August, 2012 (the date I installed Dropbox).
It contains 21,712 items (a mixture of files and folders). You can tell it’s a folder because of the Dropbox folder at the bottom of the image.
Sometimes you need to share files with others. Previously, using OS X, you would need to send an email to someone and attach the file. Now, OS X makes it very easy to share documents with others, and also Tweet the file. You can also share image files with Facebook.
The options you see for sharing depend on the type of file you wish to share. If it is a picture, you have the option of sharing to Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and other sharing options, e.g. Mail, Messages, AirDrop and Add to Photos.
You will need to sign into your Facebook account in order to share pictures. If you have not already set this up, the Mac will prompt you to do so.
Document sharing options
Here, a PowerPoint file has been right-clicked:
Sharing options with image files
Yosemite has a very useful range of file-sharing options.
These are great time-savers! If there are folders you access regularly within your documents folder, make an alias and put it on the Desktop.
The alias points to the original file and if you drop anything onto the alias folder it gets added to the real folder. Similarly, if you delete anything from the alias it gets deleted from the real folder.
To make an alias of a folder
Locate the folder
Right-click and choose Make Alias
Or go to File > Make Alias
Or click once on the folder and type ⌘ + L
Create aliases of key folders and place these on the Desktop or left column of the Finder window to speed up workflow.
Locate a Saved File
Sometimes you create documents but you cannot remember where you put them. There are several ways to find them.
You can do a Spotlight search and refine the search to include all documents created within the last day.
If you know the program that you used to create the document, you can open that and look for Recent Files. If you can only remember some of the text within the document, then enter that into Spotlight.
I created a document which is important, but I saved as “Imporrtant” which means if I type “important” into Spotlight, the document will not be found.
If I then type only the first few characters “impor”, then Spotlight will find it.
I can do a Finder search and not enter any name for the file but simply ask the Finder to show me all documents created within the last 0.05 days. My document now shows:
Alternatively, I can open Pages (since I used this to create the document) and it will show me the recently-opened files which include the document I am looking for.
Using the Finder
Defining a specific type of file created within the last 0.05 days brings up today’s file.
Using the app that created the document
Sort your Files using Finder
OS X provides many ways to sort your files. Most of us have them listed alphabetically (the default) but you can sort by: Name, Kind, Application, Date Last Opened, and several other ways.
You can sort your files and folders by many methods, in addition to the default alphabetical sort.
Here is my Documents folder, sorted using different methods:
Create Folder from Selection
If you have a group of documents that you want to place into a folder, you could create the folder (⌘ + N) and then drop the files in. Or, the quick way is to lasso the files to select them all then right-click and choose New Folder with Selection (n Items).
Always Open With...
With files such as PDFs, JPEGs, TIFFs, etc. you can force the Mac to always open with one specific application rather than let OS X decide for you. For example, you may want PDFs to be opened only by Adobe Acrobat rather than Preview, or TIFF files only with Adobe Photoshop rather than Preview. By right-clicking on the file and holding down the Option key you can tell OS X to Always Open With a specific app. After that, every PDF will be opened only by Adobe Acrobat.
If you are tired of having to open files from within a program, tell the Mac to Always Open With... then it will remember to open that type of file with the app you have specified, rather than OS X’s default setting.
To open in your specified app you should only have to double-click the file from now on.
The other way to achieve this is to go to File > Open With then hold down the Option key till you see Always Open With.
Basic Folder Housekeeping
Housekeeping is boring, as is folder housekeeping, but organizing your folders properly will save you lots of time later.
Numbering folders has two benefits: it brings them to the top of the list and it also lets you decide the order in which they are listed.
Make any folder go to the top of the list by adding a space or * before the name. To make it go to the bottom add a Z before the title of the file or folder.
Occasionally, you want special folders to keep “to-do” items in. Start the title of the folder with a Z then it goes to the bottom of the list (you know it’s there even though you may have to scroll down).
Putting a space or * before the folder title also forces it to the top of the list.
Use OS X’s Tags feature to coordinate your folders into Personal, Work, Travel, Tax, etc.
Let Smart Folders do the Work
OS X Smart Folders are special folders that automatically include any file within a specified set of criteria.
In the example below, I wanted a folder that contains only presentations created in the last seven days.
Create Smart Folder
Go to File > New Smart Folder
Add criteria one at a time, e.g. Kind is Presentation, Created date within the last 7 days
The Smart Folder will be added to the Sidebar
Inside, you will see only those files you have specified. As the days go by, the files will change. If no new presentations are created over a week the folder will be empty
Smart Folders take the grunt work out of finding specific types of file (defined by the criteria you set).
Name the Smart Folder
Here, you can give the Smart Folder any name you want and also specify the location where the folder is stored.
Look inside the Smart Folder
You will see the only files that fulfil these strict criteria.
Hide Running Apps
It is very easy to hide a running app. This is useful if you are on Facebook at work and the boss comes in!
Hiding an app quickly
The app you want to hide needs to be active, i.e. it is not enough just to see the open app window; the app must be active (menu bars will not be gray)
With the app active, press Option + click anywhere on the Desktop
Before Option + Click
After Option + Click
Launch Apps using Spotlight
To save time, rather than navigate your way to the Apps folder, you can launch apps directly from Spotlight.
Launch apps from Spotlight
Bring up the Spotlight search box by tapping ⌘ + Spacebar
Enter the first few characters of the app’s name, e.g. “Wo” will bring up Microsoft Word
If Microsoft Word is highlighted, press Enter
If Microsoft Word is not highlighted, click on it then press Enter
Rather than go to the Applications folder to find an app, use Spotlight.
Stop Spotlight searching the web
Sometimes you only want to find things on your Mac. It’s easy to change these settings.
Go to System Preferences > Spotlight and choose the items you want included in your search.
Streamline the Login Items
Each time you log in, certain apps and services are launched. The more items you have, the longer login takes and the more resources you use. It is a good idea to check your items from time-to-time and weed out any that you don’t use:
Open System Preferences > Users & Groups
Click the padlock and authenticate to unlock in order to make changes
Click the Login Items button
Check through the list and remove those you don’t need by pressing the “-”
Save time and resources by removing unwanted login items.
Quick App Switching
You can switch between apps by clicking each app’s icon on the Desktop or you can use the App Switcher feature.
Bring up App Switcher
Type ⌘ + Tab
The App Switcher showing running apps will appear
You can cycle through the apps by repeatedly hitting Tab
Quit an app by highlighting it, then hitting ⌘ + Q
Make an app active (come to the front) by selecting it, then clicking on its icon
Other actions while in App Switcher
•tab – move selection to the right in the app list
•` – move selection to the left
•h – hide the selected application
•q – quit the selected application
•mouse scrollwheel – move the selection back and forth
•left arrow – move selection to the left
•right arrow – move selection to the right
This security feature is built into OS X Yosemite and is there to protect you from installing rogue software. If the source is not recognized by your Mac, you will be prevented from running the installer for that app.
This can become irritating after a while and you can switch this feature off.
Go to Apple Menu > System Preferences > Security & Privacy
Click the padlock and authenticate in order to make changes
At the bottom part of the window choose whether to allow software from Anywhere to be installed
Alternatively, you can choose only to allow installation from apps bought on the Mac App Store
Quick Hide/Show the Dock
If you have a huge screen you may not need to hide the Dock but if you are working on a smaller screen, hiding the Dock gives you a bit more screen real estate.
Hiding & Showing the Dock
Tap Option + ⌘ + D to hide the Dock
Tap Option + ⌘ + D to show it again
Before hiding Dock
After hiding Dock
Spotlight is a Calculator!
Spotlight can be used to perform calculations, saving you time since you don’t need to open the calculator app.
Using Spotlight as a calculator
Open the Spotlight search box by tapping ⌘ + Spacebar
Enter your calculation
The result will be shown in the Spotlight search window
Spotlight can even be used as a currency converter!
Turn on Dark Mode
This option increases the contrast in the menu bar and the Dock.
Go to System Preferences > General
Select Use dark menu bar and Dock
Screenshots in Other Formats
On the Mac you can take screenshots using a variety of methods. The easiest is ⌘ + Shift + 3. Other methods are detailed elsewhere in the book. The default image is a PNG file but you may prefer to have the image saved as a JPEG or TIFF. There are no system settings for this. Instead, you have to use Terminal and use a UNIX command to change the way OS X takes pictures of the screen.
Commands to change screenshot format
Type defaults write com.apple.screencapture type jpg if you want the screenshots saved as JPEG
If you want it saved as PDF type defaults write com.apple.screencapture type pdf
To change to TIFF enter defaults write com.apple.screencapture type tiff
Taking different types of screenshot
Full screen (Save to Desktop) – ⌘ + Shift + 3
Full screen (Save to Clipboard) – ⌘ + CTRL + Shift + 3
Select region (Save to Desktop) – ⌘ + Shift + 4
Select region (Save to Clipboard) – ⌘ + CTRL + Shift + 4
Select item (Save to Desktop) – ⌘ + Shift + 4 then Spacebar
Select item (Save to Clipboard) – ⌘ + CTRL + Shift + 4 then Spacebar
The easiest way to edit screenshots is in Preview. If you double-click a screenshot, Preview will open (unless you have told the Mac to open PNG files in another app).
Once open, you can crop, rotate, annotate, and more from within Preview.
You can see some of the editing tools available in Preview below.
I have added an arrow, thought-bubble, and text to this image.
Create an Encrypted USB Drive
If you have sensitive files and want to hide them, you can buy an encrypted USB drive but they can be expensive. You can easily make one yourself using a standard USB drive.
Make an encrypted USB drive
Open Disk Utility
Click the Erase tab
Choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled, Encrypted)
Name the USB drive
Enter the password you want to use
Add a hint if necessary
Do not add to Keychain otherwise the drive will open automatically when you insert it into your Mac (the whole object is to have it password protected!)
Now, when you insert the USB drive you will need to enter the password in order to access the drive
Reveal your own Library
The User Library is hidden by default (oddly, the Main Library remains visible, however). The User Library contains the Preference files for the apps you use.
Temporarily show User Library
On the Menu Bar select Go then press Option
After pressing Option, the User Library is visible. Click it to open it
Permanently show User Library
Go to Home
Then open View > Show View Options
Make sure Show Library Folder is checked
Running Multiple Desktops
If you want to run several apps simultaneously, the Desktop can become crowded, with the windows of the various apps overlapping. It is much easier to assign a separate Desktop to each app and flick backwards and forwards between them.
Mission Control in Yosemite allows you to make several Desktops as you need them. In the Mission Control window you can place apps into separate Desktops.
Assigning apps to Desktops
Launch Mission Control (from the Dock or double-tap the mouse or keypad)
Drag apps to separate Desktops
Make new Desktops by clicking the icon at the top right of the screen (a + symbol will appear)
Toggle between the various Desktops by tapping Control + right or left arrow
Mission Control can make it easier to work with multiple apps.
Switch Resume On/Off
Shutting down the Mac used to involve quitting all apps and the need to save all your work. Now you can shut down your Mac and it will remember which apps you had open and reopen these when you restart (even if you do a full shutdown).
If you want all apps to reopen on restart
If you do NOT want all apps to reopen on restart
Hide Unwanted System Prefs
The System Preferences give you control over many aspects of your Mac. By default, all preferences are displayed when you open the app. You can, however, choose to hide certain preference panes by editing the window:
Go to System Preferences > View > Customize
Uncheck the preferences you want to hide
You can modify OS X on your Mac piecemeal using Terminal commands and other options hidden within various apps but there is a freeware app that lets you change a ton of features.
Mountain Tweaks (works with Yosemite, too)
Go to tweaksapp.com/app/mountain-tweaks/ and download the app. Drag it to your Applications folder and run the app from there. Be careful what you change in case your Mac starts behaving oddly. If all goes wrong, you can always click the Restore button and your Mac will be back to where it was before you started tweaking it.
These let you change features common to both Mountain Lion and Yosemite.
Hidden Second Clipboard
The Mac only has one clipboard. When you select Copy (⌘ + C) the information is sent to the Clipboard. If you copy again, the original clipping is lost. Within certain apps, e.g. TextEdit, you can use a hidden second clipboard by using certain commands:
Kill: Ctrl + K
Yank: Ctrl + Y
With text selected, Ctrl + K works as a secondary “cut” command by removing the highlighted text without replacing what is currently residing in your clipboard.
To bring the text back, use Ctrl + Y.
Kill has other uses
“Kill” has other uses apart from the “cut” command. If you place your cursor at a given point in a paragraph and hit Ctrl + K, all of the text from that point forward will be cut. This is a useful way to quickly grab and move an entire paragraph of text.
Ctrl + K only works on editable text (e.g. TextEdit and Mail). You can’t “kill” text on a web page.
If you like using emoticons (picture images that act like text characters) you can find these easily from the Character Viewer.
Show Character Viewer
Open System Preferences and click on Keyboard
Make sure Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in the Menu Bar is checked
You will then see the Keyboard & Character Viewer icon in the Menu Bar
Click to show Character Viewer
Choose the option you want (People, Nature, etc.), find the character you want to use in your document and double-click it. It will then be placed into the document
Mouse & Trackpad
When you click, double-click, or triple-click the trackpad, you have to physically click the trackpad by default, depressing the trackpad in order for the Mac to register the click. It is much easier to allow Tap to Click so that gently tapping the surface of the trackpad registers as a click.
Configure Tap to Click
Go to Apple Menu > System Preferences > Trackpad
Check the top option Tap to Click
Speed up your mouse!
Some people (me included) are speed freaks and like their mouse pointer to zoom across the screen at high speed.
Speeding up the mouse is easy.
Speed up your mouse
Go to Apple Menu > System Preferences > Mouse
Drag the Tracking slider right or left until you find the speed that suits your needs best
Access the Dictionary
OS X has an inbuilt dictionary that can be invoked from within any app.
To access the Dictionary
Double-click the word you wish to look up
Once highlighted, right-click and choose Look Up
The definition and pronunciation will be shown
Within many Apple apps you can type a word then hit Esc. This will bring up a suggested list of words.
You can bring up the Dictionary from within any app.
Widgets are small apps that run continuously, showing you the weather, stocks and shares and other information. They can be found on the screen to the left of the main screen (press Control + left arrow to see or use Mission Control).
There are thousands of widgets you can install but these use RAM and can slow your Mac down. In general it is best not to have too many of these running at any one time.
Deactivating is easy
Go to the widget screen (Control + ←)
Click the symbol and you will see appear on each widget
Tap for every widget you wish to remove
Add more widgets by clicking the (+) symbol.
Save Text as Snippets
You can drag pieces of text from documents onto the Desktop and use these later by dropping them onto a word processing document or other types of document. This gets round the limited number of clipboards provided by OS X. You could keep several small pieces of text, all dragged from a website or other document, and drop these one-by-one onto a new document.
To make a Snippet
Select the text you want to save as a Snippet
Drag the highlighted text to the Desktop or folder
When you want to use the text Snippets, drag onto a new document
Drop the Snippet onto a new document
You can then tidy up the text, reformat, etc.
Using System Information
The About This Mac app under the Apple Menu provides a lot of information about your Mac.
Launch System Information
Go to Apple Menu > About This Mac
Click More Info...
Cycle through the tabs to see the full specs of your Mac, including RAM upgrade options
Clean Install of OS X from USB
OS X is purchased from the App Store, and after installation the installer is deleted from your Applications folder. In order to get OS X onto a USB stick you need to download OS X but not install until you have made a copy of the installer!
Creating the OS X Yosemite on USB stick
Locate the Install OS X Yosemite installer in the Applications folder
Right-click to Show Package Contents
Double-click to show package contents
Double-click the SharedSupport folder
Right-click InstallESD.dmg file
Select Disk Utility from the Open With menu
Select your USB drive from the list on the left and click the Partition tab
Set the Partition to 1 Partition, set the name to YOSEMITE, set the format to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and then click the Options button
Choose GUID partition table and click OK
Click Apply to save changes
When asked to confirm, click the Partition button
Right-click the InstallESD.dmg image from the left side of Disk Utility and choose Open Disk Image from the pop-up
Select the new Mac OS X ESD partition then click Restore
Ensure Max OS X Install ESD is set as the Source and then drag YOSEMITE partition from the list on the left to the Destination field
Click the Restore button then click Erase to begin the install
Log in and enter the administrator password
When the restore is complete, the USB drive will mount and is ready to use