33 Stupid Simple Mac Tips
We started the Stupid Simple Mac Tips in 2019 and after a few bumps along the road have finally hit our stride publishing a new one every week.
On this page we have gathered our first 33 Stupid Simple Mac Tips so you can skim through them all in one place.
We tried creating a PDF guide with them all, but embedding the GIF and videos proved to be too difficult so we opted for this long-form guide.
Couple ideas to approach this long post:
- Skim the headlines for each other tips and write down the 3 that grab your attention the most. Go back and read them to apply to your workflow.
- Read one per day.
However you go through them, regardless of whether you are a Mac newbie or a 20+ year veteran, you’ll learn something new or get a refresher on a tip you forgot about.
My approach is stacking efficiencies. If you find 6 out of this list that end up saving you 5 minutes per day, that’s 30 minutes per day or 10 hours per month! Get to it!
- Set Default Folder
- Set Default Open With for Calendar and Email
- How to Enable Right-Click on your Mac (which Apple calls Secondary click)
- Screen saver lock.
- Dock Hygiene for your Mac
- Quick to enable, learn and put to use.
- Staying too late at the office? Could be due to unmanaged notifications.
- The Fastest Way to Get Around
- Fastest Way To Navigate Folders
- App Shortcuts
- Sidebar Favorites
- Device Camera
- Smart Folders
- Quickest Way to Markup a PDF
- Increase + Decrease Indent
- Saving a PDF File Without a Single Click!
- Harness the Full Power of Text Shortcuts
- Seeing Things Clearly with Command AND +/-
- About that mess on your Desktop
- 80/20 Web Browser Tab Trick
- Magical Navigation Tip
- A Screenshot is Worth a 1,000 Words?
- Learn these Tricks of the ‘Menu Bar’ Trade
- Discover the Allure of Exotic Characters
- Sharing (Quick and Efficiently) is Caring
- Split Screens: Twice the Screens, Twice the Productivity
- Soothing Your PDF Annotation Pain
- Working on Your Image
- Never Lose Your WIFI Passwords Again!
- Making Your Own Keyboard Shortcuts
- Have a Two-Way Conversation with Your Mac
- Turn Your iPad Into a Mac Display
Tip #1: Set Default Folder
When you get a new Mac, the default folder that Finder opens to is “Recents” aka all the junk that you’ve recently touched. Personally I find it useless and changing this is one of the first things I do on a new Mac.
As a big fan of the 80/20 rule, if you think about it, when you open a Finder window, 8 out of 10 times, if not more, you go to the same folder. Maybe it’s your Clients folder. For me, it’s the Marketing folder since my core role in the company twofold – Visionary and Marketing/Sales.
Tip #2: Set Default Open With for Calendar and Email
Another annoying default when you use your computer for work.
I’m a strong believer in SILOS – keeping my work email in Outlook and my personal email in Apple Mail.
This way I’ll never send an email to someone from the wrong account (which happened more than I’d like to say before adopting this practice).
Problem is, by default when you are sent a calendar invite, vis a .ics file, it opens in Apple’s Calendar.
And clicking on an email link opens in Apple Mail.
So if you click on an email address in your web browser or in a document, it opens and created a new email in Apple Mail.
And if you double-click on a .ics file it adds the vent to Calendar.
This is fine if those are your default apps.
But what if you use Outlook for work stuff? Then you want to change these defaults.
Tip #3: How to Enable Right-Click on your Mac (which Apple calls Secondary click)
Being able to right-click gives you all kinds of power, from the basic copy and paste to all the different options offered by the apps you are working in.
Most importantly, if you’re a PC convert, it will give you back the powers you thought you had lost.
If you haven’t enabled this yet – DO IT!
If this tip is so basic and stupid you’re rolling your eyes at me, congrats – you’ve using this already!
What you can do is share this SST with the Macs users you know to help them like their Macs a little bit more ????
Ok here’s the HOW to do it for Trackpads:
- Open System Preferences
- Click on Trackpad or Mouse
- Check the box that says “Secondary Click”
Tip #4: Screen saver lock.
Here’s a fun prank to pull on those who walk away from their computers without locking it. (Security no-no)
When they step away, sneak on their computer, take a full size screenshot of their computer as it is now, then set that image as the background. Then walk away and chuckle as they scratch their head in confusion![This is only an idea, I do not condone nor support engaging in any criminal activities]
Moral of the story is – you should lock your computer when you step away.
Some Mac users confuse locking the screen with logging out. The latter means all your files and programs need to be saved and closed – to log out.
Locking the screen leaves everything as it is, and, as the name implies, it locks the screen requiring you to enter your password to unlock it.
Option 1: Click on Apple in the top left corner and choose “Lock Screen”
Option 2: Enter the keyboard combination ^????Q [control + Command + Q]
Both these options lock your screen immediately.
Go ahead. Try it. I’ll wait. Then come back to learn the automatic option.
. . .
Cool, right? Did you try it?
- Open System Preferences
- Click on Security
- Under the General Tab, check “Require password” and choose “Immediately” after sleep or screen saver begins.
- Go back to the main System Preferences page.
- Click on Desktop & Screensaver
- Under the “Screen Saver tab”, in the bottom left, click on Never and choose the time-out you want. I recommend 5 minutes at the most. That’s what I have, since I almost always lock my screen when I step away. If I forget, it’ll happen automatically in 5 minutes.
Tip #5: Dock Hygiene for your Mac
The simple Mac settings and features you may not using if no one ever showed you.
Today’s tip is all about your dock and is a 2fer – two tips for the price of one!
First part is Mac hygiene related. When you get a new Mac, out of the box, it comes pre-loaded with a bunch default applications in your dock. And if you’re like most of the hundreds of Mac-using attorneys I’ve helped over the past decade, you don’t use most of them.
Tip 1 – Purge your dock, then add with what’s useful.
If you never use it, get rid of it!
- Right-click on the icon in your dock you want to remove
- Hover over Options > Choose ‘Remove from Dock’If you use it, add it!
If you use it, add it!
- Next step is to add the apps you use 80% of the time.
- When the app is open, right-click on the icon the dock
- Hover over Options > Choose ‘Keep in Dock
Ok – STOP – before reading ahead, Clean up your dock, then make it useful with the apps you constantly use.
Next Dock tip. This is a preference (but I’m right on this) :)
By default the dock is always there. it never goes away.
I’ve done measurements – with default settings it takes up around 8% of your screen’s precious real estate. And it’s even more precious when you’re on a laptop.
You can hide it so it only pops up and shows itself when you actually need it.
And how LONG do you really need it for? Just a sec, to click on the app you need.
Let’s hide it:
- Open System Preferences
- Click on Dock
- Check the box that says ‘Automatically hide and show the Dock’
Click on DocLast suggestion – I’ve seen people struggle with this who they first enable hiding the dock. When you go down to the dock, to get it to show, don’t try to place your cursor on the edge of the screen to get it to pop up. Take your cursor and go ALL the way down, as if you were going through your screen (you won’t lose your cursor!) and up pops the dock. Click on what you need and poof! it hides.
Tip #6: Deletion
In this week’s Stupid Simple Mac Tips for Lawyers, we tackle deletion:
For new users to the Mac, there are a lot of UI (User Interface) quirks that feel odd. If there’s one thing any Apple power user will tell you, however, it’s that there is always a method to the madness.
One example of such a quirk is the delete key. Provided you’re not on a full-size keyboard, the standard Mac keyboard comes equipped with a single “delete” key – different from the usual PC setup of a backspace key to erase the previous character, and a delete key to erase the following character.
To make matters more confusing, the Mac delete key actually functions like the Windows delete key – it deletes the previous character.
Ready for your weekly make-your-life-more-awesome-Mac-tip-that’ll-blow-your-mind?
You can forward delete using the delete key by pressing the Fn key at the same time.
Mind blown, right?
Mind blown, right?
So instead of having to use two different keys for different types of deletes, Apple lets you do it through a single key – and believe me, it’s way more efficient.
But wait, there’s more!
Here are 2 bonus tips for Mac deletion mastery:
– Pressing Option + Delete will delete the entire previous word
– Pressing Command + Delete deletes the entire preceding line
Have fun deleting!
Just, you know, remember Cmd + Z for the inevitable oopsie.
Tip #7: Quick to enable, learn and put to use.
How many of us have folders that are nothing less than the black hole from Interstellar?
They might as well contain the 5th Dimension due to the sheer complexity of various documents, legal or otherwise.
To create Luckily, I’ve found a way to save you from going down the wormhole of folders or the seemingly endless search for that ONE file which happens to have the same name as 50 other files?
Here is what you’ll be able to do once you implement this:
Play by play:
- For more professional functions, we have a private channel which is called Find your desired parent folder, e.g. ‘Active Clients’ in Finder. Pro-tip, pick the one you use the most.
- Drag and place it on the right side of the Dock
- Right click the folder and under ‘Display As’, check ‘Folder’
- Right click the folder under ‘View Content As’ and check ‘List’
Tip #8: Staying too late at the office? Could be due to unmanaged notifications.
Lawyers – what if I said that you can spend less time at the office while getting more work done?
Sadly, that’s a pipedream if you’re spending 3+ hours each workday reading pointless emails, like most professionals. This concept was discussed in a book I am reading called Indistractable by Nir Eyal.
How to Rescue Your Day from Emails:
Notifications can add value, but more often than not, they go unmanaged and become a never-ending source of interruptions. Email alerts are expertly designed to spring you into the desired action of reading incoming messages. It’s much like Pavlov’s Dog.
Here’s how to rid yourself of this overwhelming distraction:
- Open ‘System Preferences’
- Click on ‘Notifications’
- Scroll down the menu on the left side of the window
- Click on Microsoft Outlook or Mail (depending on your work email client)
- On the right side of the menu, click the box that says ‘none’
- Uncheck all the boxes below
Here’s a GIF that shows the play by play:
Yes, emails are important. But that does not mean you should interrupt you. By disabling the #1 source of interruptions in your day, you’ll get far more in less time.
Following the above advice and our other Stupid Simple Tips will help ensure your workdays remain streamlined, on track, and relatively short.
Tip #9: The Fastest Way to Get Around
Switching between open apps is something you do dozens (hundreds?)of times per day. Are you doing it the easiest way possible?
Most use their mouse or track pad to go to the dock and click on the app they want. Or show all windows, and click on the one you want to go to.
There is a MUCH faster way!
There is a MUCH faster way! This is a simple function on your Mac, which I love and have fully built-in as a reflex. I’d be livid if they got rid of this, yet few people use it. Best part, you don’t even need to turn it on, it already is! Plus you can do this without taking your fingers off the keyboard, where they already are.
Now, to switch between your open apps, press‘Command + Tab’. You’ll see the logo for all of open apps displayed in the center of your screen. Holding down the Command key, just press Tab until the app you want to switch to is highlighted.
Want to jump back to the app you were just on? A quick Command + Tab and presto! You’re there.
Like I said, this is now baked into my subconscious and I use this command probably more than any other on my Mac.
Super easy to use and it makes switching between open apps a piece of cake. Try it out and if you found it helpful, share it with your colleagues.
Tip #10: Fastest Way To Navigate Folders
Welcome to this week’s SST – Stupid. Simple. Tips.Quick to enable, learn and put to use.
How many of us have folders that are nothing less than the blackhole from Interstellar?
They might as well contain the 5th Dimension due to the sheer complexity of various documents, legal or otherwise.
Luckily, I’ve found a way to save you from going down the wormhole of folders or the seemingly endless search for that ONE file which happens to have the same name as 50 other files?
Here’s how to drill down through folders:
Find your desired parent folder, e.g. ‘Marketing’ on Finder. Pro-tip, pick one you use the most.
Drag and place it on the right side of the Dock
Right click the folder and under ‘Display As’, check ‘Folder’
Right click the folder under ‘View Content As’ and check ‘List’
Access sub-folders and files with just one click
This setting will let you easily drill down through your folders instead of using the finder. Accessing your files, no matter how deeply stored will no longer be a tiresome task. This is particularly helpful for us lawyers who have a seemingly never-ending list of folders and files stored throughout our macs.
Tip #11: App Shortcuts
Word to new email with PDF attached in 1.3 seconds!
While we do strongly suggest using the Zoom integration, Slack has its own Are you as psyched as I am for the latest stupid simple Mac tips for lawyers? Well, you should be, because this one’s a genuinely snazzy little hack.
Today, we’re talking keyboard shortcuts and the example I’m giving is awesome, if I may say so.
First, click on the little apple on the top left of your Mac’s desktop to open System Preferences, then select:
- System Preferences’ > ‘Keyboard’ > ‘Shortcuts’ > ‘App Shortcuts’
For the purposes of this breakdown, let’s say we’re in Microsoft Word. If you use this program, you’re likely regular selecting:
- ‘File’ > ‘Share’ > ‘Send PDF’(or maybe I just added an additional tip!)
You’ll notice that there’s no direct keyboard shortcut for this action.
So, in the ‘App Shortcut’ window, start by selecting the ‘+’ button on the mid-bottom-left.
Then select Microsoft Word.
You’ll see a Menu Title field, where you must enter it precisely the same as the menu command, meaning you can’t leave out the ellipsis (i.e., ‘PDF…’).
Including the ellipsis necessitates pressing ‘option,’ ‘semicolon’ on your keyboard.
You cannot enter whatever isn’t already taken as a shortcut into the ‘Keyboard Shortcut’ field (e.g., ‘shift,’ ‘option,’ ‘command,’ ‘p’). Once you press those buttons in Microsoft Word, it’ll directly convert the Word file to PDF, launch your email client, create a new email and add the PDF an attachment!
BAM –1.3 seconds! How you like me now?
Please, feel free to let me know if my Mac tips have helped you out at all!
Tip #12: Sidebar Favorites
When we talk about stupid simple Mac tips for lawyers, the main focus is performing tasks or ‘hacks’ that require minimum effort that save major time.
Let’s say it saves you 15 seconds each time, but you do that 10 times per day. Seems weak sauce and not worthwhile, right? Wrong!
That adds up to a little under an hour per month. The power comes in stacking these tips. You get 5 of these little tips in place and you are saving 5 hours per month.
You’re more than likely working on an array of projects throughout a day. Some of them are everyday demands, while others are higher-priority.
How many times per day do you search for a file?
You could double-click through the array of folders necessary to manually to the file(s) you need to complete the work. And, it likely wouldn’t take that long if it was just one item on your agenda. However, when you start piling up your work, having to repeatedly dig through your folders to access your work ends up piling on wasted time.
Which brings us to sidebar favorites:
There are two kinds of folders you place in your sidebar:
- Permanent shortcuts you access all the time, thus, necessitating immediate access
- Temporary folders with high-priority assignments you’re working on for a short period, but still, need instant access. Current projects/cases you are working on.
In the sidebar finder, there are standard folders that arrive with the macOS. Then other finder shortcuts are added by programs like Box.
Just click and drag a folder to add it to the sidebar. You’ll see a line in between where it will end up. Also, drag items around into your desired order.
Take for example this email series, Stupid Simple Mac Tips. To get to that folder I need to do this took me 13 seconds to get to:
I am batching these articles, doing 4 at a time, so while I am working on it this week, I’ll add the folder to my sidebar, which takes me 2 seconds:
Furthermore, you can remove something from the sidebar by right-clicking and selecting ‘remove from the sidebar.’This will make it easier to find what you need and remove the ones you never use –they are just in the way.
Once I’m done and don’t need quick access to that folder:
If you don’t see the sidebar, you can go to ‘view’ and select ‘show sidebar.’ Or you can just press ‘command’>option>’s’ on the keyboard.
Tip #13: Device Camera
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it one million times (is that even possible?): Stupid Simple Mac Tips are the SMARTEST investment any lawyer can make. After all, who wants to spend 80 hours a week at the office, when you can halve that time with easy, time-saving hacks?
Today…a magic trick to scan a file faster than I’ve ever seen!
This will maximize the use of your device cameras, on what Apple calls iPhones and iPads.
The act of scanning a document to send to someone is usually a multi-step, time-consuming process and you don’t always need a perfect scan, sometimes you need a quick and dirty to keep things moving along.
A feature called Continuity Camera allows you to control your iPhone or iPad cameras from your Mac and has a magical scanning feature built-in that most people are not aware of.I admit it, this was even new to me until recently!
Sounds pretty cool, right?
There are a few prerequisites, which most already meet:
- There are a few prerequisites,You’re on Mojave or newer macOS –10.14
- Your Mac and iOS devices have both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on AND are signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID
Ok -First, visit the Finder, a document, mail message, an iMessage, or other places on your Mac that supports the Continuity Camera.
Step 1: Right-Click (or a 2 finger tap depending on your settings)
For the sake of this tutorial, let’s scan a document—which will create an instantaneous PDF with the scanned document.
Choose that option and your iOS devices camera is activated. Capture the scanned page(s) you need, adjust the corners of the documents, apply a filter or rotate each page if needed, hit “Keep Scan”, then Save when done.
Presto! A PDF file is inserted right where you started!
That’s as straightforward as it gets.
Imagine how often you need a quick scan of a file but don’t do it due to the steps previously involved. This feature is a handy time saver you can to your quiver.
Tip #14: Smart Folders
Welcome to another stirring rendition of Stupid Simple Mac Tips for Lawyers. I hope one day that lawyers worldwide begin treating this like their own Ted Talks.
A man can dream.
For today’s topic, imagine you need to categorize work, whether it is for a client or a kind of case—and you needed it streamlined into one folder. Not everyone categorizes files together in the first place and grouping everything together manually would both be inaccurate and time-consuming.
This brings us to smart folders:
These folders allow you to gather collections of files from anywhere on your Mac. Such a feature is invaluable if you need to filter your files down to only what you need to see fora high-priority project. You can see these files no matter where you are on your computer.
Strangely enough, a Mac Smart Folder isn’t actually a folder. It’s a saved search. But macOS displays these saved searches as folders so they’re easier to find and access.
When you create a Smart Folder, you choose a property or series of properties. macOS then looks through all your files and displays everything that matches this in a single folder, no matter where the files are stored on your computer.
Here’s an example of what to do for when you need a permanent view to all the PDF files for a company called Vandalay Industries:
- Click on ‘Finder’ in your dock
- Go to ‘File’ > ‘New Smart Folder’
You’ll get a new window with a search bar that wasn’t present before. You’ll see that you can search This Mac, your current Finder folder, or Sharedfiles. (Selecting This Mac makes the Smart Folder search through every file on your computer.)
Tip #15: Quickest Way to Markup a PDF
It’s your favorite time of the week. Nope, I’m not talking about Thursday night happy hour at TGIF. Instead, it’s time for your Stupid Simple Mac tips that’ll save lawyers more time than they ever imagined.
Today I’m talking about using quick actions—to markup a PDF faster than a speeding bullet!
Let’s say you want to quickly markup a PDF. In this example, a fun W-2 file.
Find your PDF file, then right-click on said file.. In this example, a fun W-2 file.
From there go to ‘Quick Actions’ and choose ‘Markup’
It’s then possible for you to markup the PDF via the built-in tools in Apple’s built-in Preview app.
By clicking the ‘Markup’ button or right-clicking and choosing ‘Markup,’ you can zoom in and alter the image. And you didn’t have to go any further than the finder.
Don’t you love all that time you’re saving?
Tip #16: Increase + Decrease Indent
It’s your favorite time of the week.
There are instances where time saving measures are so obvious, you’re almost annoyed that you didn’t already know about them.
But you’re a glass-half-full-type, and the fact that you can be more efficient with minimal effort is overwhelmingly positive.
That’s how I felt when I found out about decreasing the indent of paragraphs or bullet points—without my mouse.
I always find it irritating and clunky to move around the indentations while working with text –mainly in email and Word. Sure, going forward is easy(just hit TAB) , but going back –not so much
Maybe you know this one, but if you’re like me, for years, when the need arose, you’d take your hands off the keyboard, get your mouse and move to the little Decrease Indent button.
During each individual moment, perhaps it only was 5seconds. But continually having to lift hands off the keyboard when a lawyer is in the drafting zone is no fun. So you can move your mouse around and very…slowly…clicking…with…the…little button to increase or decrease indent.
There’s a better way.
You don’t have to click your mouse at all. This is a keyboard-driven process.
Most people know the first method: To increase the indent, hit TAB.
This next one is the bonus that I got excited about.
To decrease, just press the shift and tab keys simultaneously, and you’ll decrease the indent!
Yeah. I know. It’s really that easy.
Tip #17: Saving a PDF File Without a Single Click!
What if I told you that you could save documents as PDFs without leaving the comfort of your keyboard?The ability to easily convert most file types to PDF quickly is something I have done thousands of times over the years.
In the bottom left corner of the print dialogue (fancy way to say –the window you see when you hit Print) is a button that save “PDF” then you have a few options to choose from. 98% of the time, I choose “Save as PDF” then set the name and location.
That may be new to you, but that’s NOT today tip. Thanks to the wise words of another Mac Efficiency guru, David Sparks, I’ve learned a little trick to make this even faster and easier!
Once done, when you want to save something as PDF, you’ll just hit Command + P then repeat:
Command + P
Command + P
And you’ll be at the save window!
It takes a few steps to setup once, then you’ll be ready to rock!
- Press Command + Space to bring up Spotlight
- Type ‘keyboard’ into search field
- Arrow down to ‘keyboard preferences’
- Select the ‘Shortcuts’
- Click ‘App Shortcuts’
- Select ‘All Applications’
- Type in ‘Menu Title’ field: ‘Save as PDF’
- Type in ‘Keyboard Shortcuts’ field: ‘Command, P’
- Then click add
- Once you’re a program in which you want to save to PDF, you can click ‘Command, P’ twice and it will bring up the dialogue box to save as PDF
I’ve been using this a lot and once I told someone on my team about it, it spread like wildfire!
As a lawyer who’s dealing with an array of critical documents throughout the day, this measure should make you jump for joy.(bonus to the reader who sends in a photo actually jumping for joy!)
Tip #18: Harness the Full Power of Text Shortcuts
Before delving into today’s Stupid Simple Mac Tips, I want to bring up something to highlight the value of these seemingly minor hacks.
Type ‘how much time do keyboard shortcuts save,’ into the Google machine, and you’ll see an article about how keyboard shortcuts can revive America’s economy.
The article surmises that these incredibly (stupid) simple tips can save you up to eight days a year.
I’ll admit it, these are all new to me, suggested by one of my team members. This makes getting around text so much more efficient!
Here’s a list of essential text shortcuts that’ll save you over a week in 2020:
- option + right arrow = move right entire word
- command + right arrow = move to end of line
- shift + option + right arrow = select entire word to right
- shift + command + right arrow = select to end of line
- shift + option + down arrow = select entire paragraph from cursor
[keep holding keys down and hit the down arrow to select next paragraphs]
On any given document, as a lawyer, each of these shortcuts can come into play. Imagine how quickly you’ll skip around your text by picking up a few or even just one these! Why not leverage their full power… they’re too easy to ignore!
Bonus: For all of the above,replace right with left to perform the same action –but –to the left!
Ok, if you’re like me, seeing these new feature scan still be overwhelming.
This is the OPPOSITE intention of Stupid Simple Mac Tips.
Only action will commit these to memory.
- If you could only learn ONE of these, which would it be?
- Write it on a post-it note
- Draw 10 little boxes on the post-it note
- Check a box each time you use it
Over the next week, I challenge you to use the command 10 times.
Tip #19: Seeing Things Clearly with Command AND +/-
What I love most about the Stupid Simple series is the feedback from my readers. I learn so much and garner insights that –otherwise –would have remained unknown and unlearned.
For instance, I’ve seen that no shortcut must remain unsaid.As obvious as something might seem, it’s foolish to assume everyone knows about these tricks. Remember, we all had to learn these shortcuts before becoming experts.
Which brings me to this week’s tip, which elicited for me a flashback to Zoolander.
Sometimes website text seems like it was written to be read by ants.
As such, I’ve been known to strain while looking at said websites.
Guess what? The solution is mouse-free.
You can zoom in with your keyboard to give your eyes some reprieve—thereby, reading the content about 7-million-times faster.
Enter Command AND +(plus sign)to zoom in or Command AND –(minus)to zoom out.
Command AND 0(Zero)will reset the site back to default, 100%, given you’ve zoomed in–or out–too far.
Check out this nifty zoom in, zoom out, zoom all around
Best of all? This trick works in all email programs (Apple Mail/Microsoft Outlook), web browsers (Safari, Chrome), and other apps as well.
Don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself.
After all, seeing is believing.
Till next time,
Tip #20: About that mess on your Desktop
This week we’re here to talk about your Mac’s Desktop.
Specifically, the chaotic mess of files littered there.
You might not realize the impact, but it robs you of your time as you painstakingly read the name of each and every file as you search for what you need.
Let’s improve this with some quick changes, by adjusting your preferences for how files are sorted.
I personally change my icon size and sort them by Kind as well while I’m in there.
This does 3 things:
- Change icon size = more items on the desktop without feeling crowded.
- Sorts by Kind, meaning Folders, PDF, Screenshots, etc.
- An added bonus is that it sorts alphabetically.
For example, your PDF files will be first grouped together and then sorted alphabetically. Just with those little changes, it’ll now be much easier to find what you’re looking for on your Desktop.
To do this:
1. Get to the settings:
- Click on Finder in your dock
- In the menu bar, click on Go > Desktop
- In the menu bar, click on View > “Show View Options”
2. Make these changes:
- Set Group By to Kind
- Set Sort By to Name
3. Adjust the icon size to the smaller option
Whammy! That’s it, quick easy and it’s now just a little bit easier to find what you are looking for. If you like these settings, you can check “Use as Defaults” and it will use these settings for all other folders.
Now, if you are have TONS of files on your Desktop (you know who you are), here’s the advice I’ve given to hundreds of messy lawyers over the years:
Do it the right way. Spend some time purging and cleaning that mess:
1) On your Desktop, create 3 folders:
- To File
2) Clean up
- Quickly move each file into one of 3 folders
- Drag the “Delete” folder to the trash
- File all the files in that folder in their proper location
- Do another pass with the Unsure files
From there, your desktop will be far more organized as your items will be easily identified and won’t overlap. You’ll also feel less anxiety over your out-of-control desktop.
Tip #21: 80/20 Web Browser Tab Trick
If you’re like most lawyers I work with, chances are the 20-30 tabs I often have open on my browser doesn’t even compare your usage. In fact, my long-time client – and friend – high-profile civil-rights litigation attorney Subodh Chandra knows this struggle all too well—often with dozens upon dozens open at a time.
Trying to find a specific tab can be maddening.
Every second you waste looking around for the right tab is time lost. What’s most annoying is when you need a commonly used tab, but it is lost in the sea of tabs.
When you are working and are in the zone, you want to remove bottlenecks, things that make you stop or slow you down.
Lets remedy this problem by “pinning” the 20% (more likely 5%) of the tabs you use 80% of the time. These tabs will remain pre-loaded on the left side of your browser’s bar.
Regardless of how many tabs you have open, you can now access your top 5 or top 10 and always in the same order, on the left-hand side. This lets you build muscle memory to access these faster than before.
See how I pin them below and how thy shrink into icons on the left.
I suggest you are selective about which tabs you pin, as overloading these can drastically slow down your Mac (aim for 5, with no more than 10). Each tab takes up RAM.[Tip: As a preventative and to future-proofing the Macs you buy, always purchase as much RAM as is available (except for the Mac Pro – maxing out the RAM will set you back $25k).
Here’s how to do it in Safari:
Pin a Website
- In the Safari app on your Mac, click and drag the tab you want to pin to the left side of the tab bar.
- Then, drop the tab’s icon or initial in place after it shrinks. Alternatively, it’s possible to select Window > Pin Tab, or Control-click a tab, before choosing Pin Tab.
Customizing the Order of Pinned Sites
In Safari’s tab bar, drag pinned sites in your preferred order.
Unpinning a Website
In Safari, drag the pinned tab to the right side of the tab bar.
You can select Window > Unpin Tab, or Control-click a pinned site, before selecting Unpin Tab.
Here’s how to pin a tab in Chrome:
- Open a new tab in Chrome
- Right-click on tab
- Select ‘Pin tab’
These efforts seem small, but they make a big difference.
Tip #22: Magical Navigation Tip
Do you still minimize each window manually with that little yellow button and moving windows around to you can get to the one you need?
You’re killing me smalls! (Let’s learn a quicker way)
Well, in this week’s Stupid Simple Tips, you’ll see why this practice should’ve been left behind in the stone ages. Back when lawyers used floppy discs and CD-ROMs…remember those days?
Let’s tap into the hidden powers in your laptop’s trackpad or Magic Trackpad.
*If you don’t have a Mac laptop, I highly recommend you splurge on a Magic Trackpad, it is a serious productivity tool when leveraged beyond ‘mouse-control’ and basic clicking.
Let’s discuss Mission Control—a Mac service that offers a bird’s-eye view of all your open windows, desktop spaces, full-screen apps, and Split View spaces, making it easy to switch between them. There happen to be many ways to activate Mission Control.
Put another way – this is a blazing fast way to switch between windows.
Today, we focus on using Mission Control via the Trackpad.
Once activated, with the flick of a finger (not THAT finger) ALL your open windows reveal themselves and you click on your desired window.
Swipe/Flick. Click. Done.
Far more efficient than minimizing windows one by one or rearranging them so you can access what you really need.
As such, when it’s time to navigate from one app the next, it’s a complete and utter breeze.
Here’s the setup:
- System Preferences > Trackpador Magic Mouse
- Click on the “More Gestures” tab within the window.
- Check the box “Mission Control” then select “swipe up” with either 3 or 4 fingers. I prefer 3.
Here’s how to use your various potential devices:
- Swipe 3 or 4 fingers up to show all windows
- Click on your desired destination or swipe back down to return to where you were
- Double-tap then click on your desired destination or swipe back down to return where you were
You’ll be navigating around faster than ever with this little tip.
If you like this added functionality, get your PhD in magic Gestures here
The more you learn, the faster you go :)
Tip #23: A Screenshot is Worth a 1,000 Words?
You know the old saying…a picture is worth a thousand words?
Yeah well, so is a screenshot.
On this edition of Stupid Simple Tips, we’re learning the super-quick way to get a screenshot, edit (if needed) and send.
This is useful when documenting processes, asking for feedback on something you’re working on, graphic design and a WHOLE lot more!
Fortunately, there’s a keyboard shortcut that allows you to grab a quick screenshot and Apple has made the editing and sharing process very easy.
1 . Press and hold these three keys together: Shift, Command, and 4.
2. Drag the crosshair to select the area of the screen to capture. To move the selection, press and hold Space bar while dragging. To cancel taking the screenshot, press the Esc (Escape) key.
3. To take the screenshot, release your mouse or trackpad button.
4. This part is easy to miss > If you see a thumbnail in the corner of your screen, click it to edit the screenshot. Or wait for the screenshot to save to your desktop.
Once you click on the thumbnail, you can edit it and then click on the share button to choose how to send it out.
Ridding your desktop of clutter only takes one stupid simple trick at a time.
Tip #24: Learn these Tricks of the ‘Menu Bar’ Trade
A crowded desktop display is a lot like solving a complex murder mystery. What you seek does exist somewhere, but it’s shrouded amongst irrelevant facts and misdirection.
Well, you are not Sherlock Holmes, and you do not have time to solve the mystery of where a vital client document is on your desktop.
Fortunately, in this Stupid Simple Mac Tips, we will be showing you a simple, efficient way to declutter your laptop by automatically hiding and showing your menu bar.
A simple step-by-step process
Your menu (or dock bar) will be visible at the bottom of your MacBook’s display.
By navigating to ‘System Preferences,’ it is possible to automatically hide the menu. Then, it will only appear when you place your cursor over the bottom of your laptop’s display.
The process of doing this is straightforward. It’s merely a matter of someone telling you, and then you’re good to go from that point forward.
Here’s how to do it:
- First, go to the main toolbar menu and click the Apple icon Then, select ‘System Preferences’
- From there, click the “Dock” icon
- Lastly, choose the ‘Automatically hide and show the Dock’ option
Not only does this declutter what is displayed on your desktop, but you do not have to waste time clicking back and forth to access the menu.
Tip #25: Discover the Allure of Exotic Characters
It’s your favorite time of the week. Nope, I’m not talking about Thursday ni
There is nothing worse than when you are putting together a document that necessitates a special character. Whether it is an accent or the symbol for a different currency, it may come up, and you do not want to waste time looking, on Google, for example, to clunkily copy and paste.
Do not fret if you run into one of these exotic characters.
Today’s Stupid Simple Mac Tips will show how you can type these characters on a Mac through various keyboard combinations and other tricks.
How to do Accents
One feature on a Mac allows you to streamline the character accessing process in your document without needing to manually insert them through a multitude of menus.
Start by holding down the relevant character key that requires an accent. From there, a small menu will appear for the letter. It will indicate what to press to enter a special character.
A common example is creating the é character by holding down the E-key while pressing the 2-key to insert a given character.
Conversely, you can click your desired character or cycle through options with the arrow keys.
You can also use the return key to choose a character.
Some special characters are not available through the long-press method. For these instances, OS X provides the Keyboard and Character Viewers that allow you to choose and insert individual special characters.
Accessing either of these two viewers necessitates your enabling of the ‘Menu bar’ shortcut:
Do so by clicking on the Apple menu in the menu bar.
Lastly, navigate to ‘System Preferences’> ‘Keyboard> ‘Input Sources’ before selecting the ‘Show Input Menu in Menu Bar’ Viewer tick-box. Now you are able to access “Emoji and Symbols” using the Menu Bar! (Edit>Emoji and Symbols)
Now, these exotic characters do not seem so complicated, do they?
Tip #26: Sharing (Quick and Efficiently) is Caring
As a lawyer, throughout the day, you’re sharing any number of things with friends and colleagues.
It could be a vital document, or it could be a joke about how you eat too many tacos.
Also, as a lawyer, time is of the essence—and the quicker you can share, the better. For that precise reason, Apple provides a dedicated ‘Share’ Menu on all its systems—which is the topic of today’s Stupid Simple Mac Tips.
Accessing the ‘Share’ Menu
On most Mac OS systems, the ‘Share’ Menu is accessible via clicking the icon of the very same name.
Say you’re in Safari, for instance. It’s possible to share your currently viewed website, merely by clicking the ‘Share’ icon.
In the absence of this ‘Share’ icon, you can control-click the content you’re aiming to disperse amongst your friends. A context menu should pop up with its own ‘share option.’
Generally, the ‘Share’ menu should adjust and customize itself based on what you’re sharing.
Options should be different if you’re sharing text via Notes versus sharing an image via Apple’s Photos application.
Sharing the love has never been more streamlined and efficient!
Tip #27: Split Screens: Twice the Screens, Twice the Productivity
When you’re continually going between two apps or programs on your laptop, it’s infuriating to navigate between the two.
As a lawyer, you are continuously working on complicated tasks and projects that require this kind of feature. That is unless you utilize a nifty little tool that’s the subject of this Stupid Simple Mac Tips: split screens on your Mac OS.
A Brief Breakdown of Split Screens
In newer Macs, something called Split View is available that enters split-screen with ease (One pivotal reason to always have an updated Mac).
Here’s how to get it done:
- Open two-plus windows that you wish to pair in a split-screen layout, be it browser windows, apps, documents, etc.
- Select the first window and find the three colored dots in the upper left corner that are respectively red, yellow, and green. These dots control the window.
- Hover the cursor over the green dot to display two small ‘expand’ arrows.
- Hold down on the green dot to generate a list of options that includes ‘Enter Full Screen,’ ‘Tile Window to Left of Screen,’ and ‘Tile Window to Right of Screen.’
- Selecting the second or third option in the list will fill that portion of your display
- The first app will now appear on one half of the screen, with thumbnails of any other open windows on the other side.
- Select your other desired window for Split View mode to expand it and fill the empty space. This action will complete the Split View experience
- Now, switching from each screen only requires your tapping of either window
And, so ends the story of how to do two things at once!
Tip #28: Soothing Your PDF Annotation Pain
This edition of Stupid Simple Mac Tips will prove that annotating PDFs is painless—once you know what you’re doing.
How to Annotate on a PDF
The most basic way to annotate a PDF is by navigating to the ‘Preview’ app on your Menu (or Dock). It’s the icon that resembles photos under a magnifying lens. This handy tool has already been preinstalled, completely free.
Just follow these steps:
- Upon right-clicking on the ‘Preview’ app, you’ll see the files you recently accessed with ‘Preview.’
- Select your desired file you want. But what if you wish to access a new PDF? Opening the file will also open in ‘Preview’ automatically (if this fails, then right-click on the PDF. This action will provide more options, and you can select ‘Preview.’).
- There are a few different annotation options. Go to the menu at the top of your screen and select ‘Tools,’> ‘Annotate.’
- In the ‘Annotate’ menu, the top option will say ‘Highlight Text.’ Select this option.
- ‘Highlight Text” will add the annotation toolbar to your ‘Preview’ window while allowing you to highlight text in the PDF.
- Highlight a section of your text, then right-click your highlight to see the option to change the highlight colors or ‘Add Note.’ Select ‘Add Note’ to annotate that section.
There are other options for annotation, but these tips should have you well on your way to successfully annotating on PDFs.
Tip #29: Working on Your Image
If you’re no stranger to problems with displaying images, read our latest Stupid Simple Mac Tips. We’re teaching the most efficient, straightforward way to tweak and crop your images.
Dealing with Dimensions and Positioning
Here’s what you need to do if you need to alter your image:
- Open Image in “Preview”
- Provided the ‘Markup’ toolbar isn’t showing, click the ‘Show Markup’ toolbar button before clicking the ‘Adjust Size’ button.
- From there, you can alter width and height by entering new values. Also, you can select the ‘Fit into’ pop-up menu, where you can choose a size.
- By selecting ‘Scale proportionally,’ you can change either the width or height and the other value changes to maintain the proportions.
- Deselect “Resample image” before changing the width or height to make dimensions smaller without losing detail
- By clicking the ‘the Rotate Left tool,’ you can shift the image left. Conversely, to do so in the other direction, press and hold the ‘Option’ key before pressing on the ‘Rotate Right tool’ until the image is rotated to your satisfaction.
- Selecting ‘Tools’> ‘Flip Horizontal’ or ‘Flip Vertical’ is how to flip and image.
Your image should now be a pristine representation of your firm!
Tip #30: Never Lose Your WIFI Passwords Again!
At this point, WIFI is a necessity. Forgetting a password is an inconvenience that’ll prevent you from doing your job.
Are you dealing with a situation where you need your password, butit eludes you? this Stupid Simple Mac Tip will give you the necessary information to avoid this issue:
Showing Your Password on MacOS
First, you must enter ‘Keychain Access’ into Spotlight search at the top-right menu bar. Then, in the sidebar, click on ‘Passwords’ before looking for the password-adjacent network and double click.
At this point, select ‘Show Password’ before confirming your ‘Administrator’ username and password. Upon entering those successfully, you’ll be shown your WIFI password.
Now,you’ll never have to worry about losing your WIFI access again.
Tip #31: Making Your Own Keyboard Shortcuts
Did you know that there are theories that keyboard shortcuts could revitalize America’s economy? At the very least, they can vastly streamline your workflow as a lawyer.
Today’s topic for Stupid Simple Mac Tips shows you how to create these valuable keyboard shortcuts.
How to Create Keyboard Shortcuts
The steps to create keyboard shortcuts on your Mac are as follows:
- Navigate to the Apple menu before selecting ‘System Preferences’
- Go to the ‘Keyboard’ preference panel
- Select the ‘shortcuts’ tab
- One the left side menu, choose ‘App Shortcuts’
Now that you’re in the right place:
- To create a new keyboard shortcut on your Mac, click on the ‘+’ button
- Decide whether you want the keyboard shortcut to be used in all applications or a specific application –this option will be next to ‘Application’
- After clicking into ‘Keyboard Shortcut,’ press the precise keystroke, you’ll be using for your custom shortcut
- Upon completing the above step, select ‘Add’
- Then, visit any given application with the menu item available
- To confirm your custom keyboard shortcut is available, pull down the menu
Here’s one example most people will find extremely useful:
Export the item as a PDF
Application: All Applications
Menu Title: Export as PDF…
Keyboard Shortcut: Shift + Command + E
With this information, you might be responsible for giving a tremendous boost to our economy…or you’ll just be able to work a bit faster.
Tip #32: Have a Two-Way Conversation with Your Mac
Now, I’m not suggesting you pop open a bottle of wine and have in-depth conversations over candlelight with your Mac (though I’m not saying you shouldn’t!). But in this edition of Stupid Simple Tips, you’ll learn that you can talk and listen to your Mac.
Let’s Get the Conversation Started
On older macOS models, Dictation made for a valuable listen-and-talk feature. But as of 2016, the macOS Sierra launched and made Siri a part of the Apple Mac arsenal. This upgrade has led to a far more versatile set of capabilities.
Using the tool is straightforward, you can either:
- For a couple of seconds, hold down ‘Command’ and ‘Space.’
- Navigate to your Dock or Menu Bar, click the ‘Siri” button
- On newer Macs, such as the 2018 MacBook Pro, it’s possible to use the voice command, ‘Hey Siri.’
It’s worth noting that Siri on an advanced macOS is way more useful than the regular iPhone version. For instance, on the macOS Mojave, you can control Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Also, it’s possible to pull up files in your system, depending on the information you can provide your Siri. Lastly, on the latest devices, you can access apps through voice commands.
I hope this rendition of Stupid Simple Tips really speaks to you.
Tip #33: Turn Your iPad Into a Mac Display
When your client list starts piling up, and you’re up to your ears in paperwork, it’s like there isn’t a computer display big enough to fit your workload.
This challenge isn’t a big deal at the office, where it’s easy to fit multiple monitors in offices and cubicles. Sadly, most of us have been stuck working remotely due to lockdowns and require a more space-efficient solution.
Which brings us to the topic of this Stupid Simple Tips, using your iPad as a secondary display: aka Sidecar.
Intelligent Use of Your iPad Can Help You Reach Peak Efficiency.
Apple recently introduced the Sidecar feature for the macOS Catalina.
With this upgrade comes the ability to take your iPad and turn it into a multitasking tool.Here are the steps involved in making this work:
- Install macOS Catalina.
- Install the most updated iPadOS on your iPad.
- Ensure that you’re signed into iCloud on both devices with the same Apple ID.
- Turn on both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on both devices.
- Navigate to the menu bar then click the ‘Airplay’ icon.
- Select the iPad you’ll be using to connect both devices wirelessly—(you can also connect them with a compatible cable.)
- The ‘Sidecar’ icon will appear in place of the‘Airplay’ icon on the menu bar.
- Click the ‘Sidecar’ icon before selecting ‘Use as Separate Display’ to use an extended display or ‘Mirror Built-in Retina Display.’
And voila, it’s almost like you can be twice as productive with all that extra space.