There’s more to your Mac than you might realise. Your machine is packed with clever bits, bobs and oojamaflips which are ready and waiting to make your computerised life easier. To celebrate the panoply of smart odds and ends buried in your Mac, we’re taking this opportunity to introduce you to a few of our favourite things you can do with your Mac (aside from taking it for a nice trip to the park).

1. Shortcut your way to almost anything

It’s a busy old world, these days, which makes taking clever shortcuts an essential  timesaver. Your Mac is crammed with smart corner-cutters, so why not take some time to become shortcut proficient?  Apple have a complete list of keyboard shortcuts for you to get to grips with, ready to make your computing life a heck of a lot speedier. If you don’t have time to memorise all 300+ of these, we’ve cribbed a few of the most helpful and obscure. Fingers at the ready…

  • Command + E – Eject your DVD/RW
  • Command + Option + M – Minimise all open windows
  • Command + Shift + Option + Q – Log out immediately
  • Command + Control + Option + Media Eject – Shut down after giving you the chance to save changes to any open documents
  • Command + R – Run OS X Recovery

2. Talk to your Mac

Even computers like a bit of conversation these days and your Mac is no exception (as long as you’re working with OS Mountain Lion or above). Dictation allows you to turn your talk into text in any application with a text entry element.

If you’re a total Apple devotee and have an iPhone or iPad, you need to let go of Siri before you start with Dictation. This feature won’t be opening your apps or searching the web – instead it will be helping you to write documents and emails, without you lifting a finger. Lifehacker have a great guide to this if you’re feeling chatty!

3. Colonise your Mac with Twitter

Addicted to Twitter? Why not turn your Mac into a lean mean Tweeting machine? There are tons of ways you can integrate Twitter into your Mountain Lion Mac, pretty much anywhere you see a share icon, you can turn what you’re up to into a tweet (as long as you’re  signed in through the Mail, Contacts and Calendars section under System Preferences). If you just want to enter a quick 140 characters of text, however, the best tool has to be the Notification Centre. Just type, tweet and go right from your desktop.

4. Rename your files in the document header

OS Mountain Lion has cunningly solved a little annoyance that you never knew you had. Remember how irritating it was to rename an open document? You’d need to save it, close it, rename it in your folder and then reopen it again. What a pain? Now you can rename a document right in the document header. Just type it on in and feel entirely zen about the whole process.

5. Turn a bundle of files into a new folder

Another little annoyance solved. Macs with Lion and above now allow you to turn a collection of selected files into a whole new, handy folder in two clicks. Forget about creating a new folder before finding and adding your files, now you can select the files you want, right click and choose New Folder with Selection. Hey presto! It doesn’t get much handier than that.

What are your favourite secret Mac features? Have we missed anything really cool? Let us know in the comments!

Ben Russell is the Director of Intelligent IT Solutions, an IT support company based in South Wales, UK. In addition to Microsoft support, IIT offer Apple Mac support services to businesses in the region. Follow Ben on Twitter and Google+.

[Image credit – Will Hastings]

Ben Russell
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