Sunday, May 12, 2013

Master Your Mac

I've got this book out, it's due back tomorrow. I would really like to return it with at least the first chapter's info tightly lodged in my brain. The chapter is called The best shortcuts (and how to make your own) in the book Master Your Mac by Matt Cone (2013). I love the idea of keyboard shortcuts and I know most of the basic ones, but there are so many more!

In my job I get a lot of students plopping their laptop or tablet on the reference desk and asking for help with all sorts of things, from finding articles in our databases, to importing PDFs into Mendeley, to formatting their Word document... all sorts of things. I need to know how to troubleshoot on a pretty wide range of devices and operating systems, and actually I quite enjoy doing it. Things change fast though, and I'm often learning on the go (Windows 8 ... um...). I've decided the next step in my learning is widening my knowledge of keyboard shortcuts! Starting with Mac, and also Gmail (this infographic has been all over the Internet lately, I stumbled on it through good old Twitter).

The one thing that around 95% of the students have in common when they come to see me for help is that they don't have a lot of time. They're in a rush and they want an answer fast. Keyboard shortcuts come in super-handy (and always impress the students too!). Something a student asked me recently is how to do a screenshot on a mac. Here are a few good shortcuts I found for that from this website.

Use Command-Shift-3 to take a screen shot of whatever is on the screen, save as a file on the desktop
Use Command-Shift-4 to select an area, take a screen shot of it, save as a file on the desktop

Use Command-Control-Shift-3 to take a screenshot and save to the clipboard
Use Command-Control-Shift-4 to select an area, take a screen shot of it, save to the clipboard

As I've been writing this post I've come to the realisation that I can't remember more than a few new keyboard shortcuts at a time. I have to go off and practice a bit before I get carried away!

So, back to the book I was supposed to be getting these shortcuts from... I tried out a couple of their suggestions and they didn't work! I ended up using Google to find out how to do them. I'm still not the master of my Mac, but I'm making progress.