Note that some of these tips and tricks will vary depending on which exact iteration of OS X you have.
1. Use Command + Shift + V to paste text without formatting.
If you’ve ever copied and pasted text from a website into an email, you’ve experienced the frustration. All of a sudden your email has this chunk of mismatched text, and it takes you at least a minute fiddling with the font options to make it all conform.
For some programs (like Word), the shortcut is Command + Shift + Option + V.
2. If you need to type a special character, the easiest way is to hold down the letter and a character menu will pop up.
From there, you can select the special character you want to use. This will especially come in handy if you’re fond of typing words like resumè, Beyoncè, naïf.
3. Place your mouse cursor over any text and press Command + Control + D to get an informative pop-up menu.
It includes the dictionary definition, the thesaurus entry, and the Wikipedia entry.
5. Invert the colors of your screen to make it easier to read if you’re sitting outside in the sun.
Just press Command + Option + Control + 8 again to switch it back.
Note that this feature is by default disabled on Mountain Lion, so you’ll have to go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Accessibility to turn on the feature (just check the box that says “Invert Colors”).
6. The “Purge” command will free up memory when your computer starts to feel sluggish.
It’s less complicated than you think! You simply open the Terminal application and type “purge” into the command line. Keep Activity Monitor open in the background so you can see exactly what’s going on. The first time you do this, you’ll free up 500MB+ of memory. You’ll need OS 10.7+ in order to do this. Watch this video if you need more exact instructions.
7. Get the date to show up in the menubar with just a simple checkbox embedded in your System Preferences.
Open up System Preferences, go to “Date and Time,” click on the “Clock” tab, and check the option “Show Date” under “Date Options.” Now you’ll always know what the date is with a simple glance.
8. If you have a couple different audio output sources that you toggle between, click Option + Volume Icon to get an input/output menu.
Maybe you frequently toggle between using headphones and speakers. This is an easy way to access those audio settings without having to go into the System Preferences.
9. To get the volume or brightness to your exact preference, you can fine tune the settings in smaller increments by adding Shift + Option.
10. When restarting your computer, keep it from making that notorious startup sound by holding down the mute button.
If you’re in the middle of class, or just work in a super-quiet office, this trick will save you from ruining everyone else’s concentration.
11. Along the same lines, press Shift + the volume button to turn the volume up or down without making noise.
12. Did you know that the Preview application provides a handy way to sign forms from your computer? No fax or scanner needed.
Just open the PDF document you want to sign, click “Annotate” in the toolbar, and then click the Signature drop-down menu. Choose the first option. Sign a piece of paper and hold it up to your iSight/Facetime camera while Preview snaps a photo. It’ll then detect the signature and allow you to add it to your document.
14. If you just converted to PC from Mac, this little shortcut will let you keep using the delete button the way you’re used to.
Use the fn + Delete shortcut to delete the letter in front of your cursor instead of behind. Another handy tip: use option + delete to delete the last word typed. You’ll get the hang of it eventually.
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