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5 tips, tricks and shortcuts to help you conquer Mac OS Yosemite

1. New Spotlight search Yosemite tips

Spotlight received a significant overhaul with Apple’s introduction of OS X Yosemite, making it more powerful and useful than ever before. Press Cmd+Space, and the new Spotlight search bar will appear on the screen. Just as in the previous version, it’s possible to search through your files in real-time, but what’s really useful is it will now do currency conversions, simple calculations, and word or phrase definitions. What’s more, the searches provide interactive previews, which means you can do all sorts of things – send emails, make phone calls – right within Spotlight.

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2. Sign your name with the trackpad Observer Tech Monthly top tipsApple OS

If you’d like to put your signature in a text document at the end of an email or even overlay it onto an image, you’re in luck. Preview now has a feature that allows you to scribble your signature using your laptop’s (or an external) touchpad. Let’s say you want to sign a document that’s in PDF format. First, open the PDF using Preview. Then, click the Toolbox icon in the top right corner. A new Markup Toolbar will appear. Now click the Sign icon, which looks like a small signature, next to the Text icon. Click Create Signature and follow the on-screen instructions.

3. Dark Mode Yosemite tips

Yosemite comes with a Dark Mode, which can be accessed by going to System Preferences > General and checking the ‘Use dark menu bar and Dock’ box. This significantly changes the look of Yosemite. The menu bar and its drop-down menus will now be a dark, slightly translucent charcoal color. Almost every app you use will now have dark menus. The Dock will also be darker, but it will also retain some translucency, like the menu bar. This is a great feature that can help battle excessive glare from your screen, plus it looks pretty good.

4. New Maps Yosemite tips

Apple Maps is still in many ways inferior to Google Maps, but recent updates mean it might be worth taking another look at what’s on offer. The most useful feature is the traffic option. Open Maps and click the menu on the bottom left of the screen before clicking Show Traffic. You’ll now get live traffic updates on many major roads across the UK, including road closures and road maintenance. There’s also a 3D model. Click the 3D button in the middle of the compass on the bottom right of the screen, and the viewing angle will tilt. For the best effect, you should also click the satellite button in the top right corner. Major landmarks and buildings can now be seen in 3D. Search for a large city, such as London, and a 3D Flyover button will appear. Clicking the button will provide an impressive bird’s-eye tour of the city.

5. Rename large groups of files Yosemite tips

This feature is small, but it’s a fantastic time-saver. If you’ve ever had a large number of files that you’d like to rename, you’ll know that it can be tedious clicking on each separate file and typing in the new names individually. In Yosemite, it’s possible to rename these files en masse. Click, drag and highlight the files you want to rename, right-click your selection, and click ‘Rename X Items,’ with ‘X’ denoting the number of files selected. This brings up a window, which has a list of naming options. From here, you can replace the text entirely, add text before or after the original file names or format the text in several different ways. For instance, you can index each file and/or add a custom name. So let’s say you’ve selected fifty image files, and you want to rename them Photo 1, Photo 2, etc. Select all fifty, set up a name and index format, and Yosemite will fill the rest in for you.

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