Learning method

General points
Files and Folders
The Finder
Apple menu*
Scanning panel
Mouse action
Electronic mail
Keyboard shortcuts
System Preferences*
Making scanning panels I*
Making scanning panels II*
The Finder

It is the beginning of all. When you want to open a file, you go to the Finder to fetch it, then you double click it (, see chapter “Mouse”), or you select it (with arrows in the four directions) and choose “Open” in the File menu or type “Command O” () keyboard shortcut. In the Finder, you can also open all applications you have on your computer, by the same method, but for the most frequent ones, you have faster means. You are in the Finder after having clicked the desktop, which is the screen apart from the windows, which would put you in the window’s application. The white line on the top of the screen is the menu, clicking on a word of the menu makes the sub-menu appear. In the Finder, going from left to right, you have : Apple menu, Finder menu, File menu, Edit menu, View menu, Go menu, Window menu and Help menu.

Apple menu : a whole chapter is devoted to it.

Finder menu : enables you to open the Finder Preferences, “Command ,” (, to change certain settings), empty the trash, “Shift Command Backspace” (, it must be done fairly often, see chapter “Dock“), and hide the Finder, “Command H” () keyboard shortcut, when the screen is crowded, hiding some windows makes place, they reappear when you launch the Finder again. 

File menu : lets you

-open a new window, “Command N” (), useful to transfer a file from a folder to another by “drag and drop”.

-close a window, “Command W”, you make the window active (see chapter “Window”), and then choose “Close” in that File menu, or type “Command W” () keyboard shortcut. 

-make a new folder in another folder. Select the folder in which you want to make a new one, either by clicking it, either by reaching it with the arrows in the four directions ; then choose “New Folder” in that File menu, or type “Shift Command N" () keyboard shortcut, and give it a name.

-open a file, “Command O”. Either you double click the file, either select it and choose “Open” in that File menu, or type “Command O” () keyboard shortcut. That will open the file’s application before opening the file.

-duplicate a file or a folder, “Command D”. Select file or folder, then choose “Duplicate” in that File menu, or type “Command D” () keyboard shortcut. At the end of the duplicated file’s or folder’s name, will be added “copy”, but you can change it’s name.

-make an alias, “Command L”. An alias is a file of a few bytes attached to a file, so that when you open an alias, it opens the corresponding file. This is useful for files you often open; instead of having to find it each time in the Finder, you put its alias on the desktop (you cannot put heavy files on the desktop), so that it is easy to find. To make an alias, select the corresponding file, then choose “Make Alias” in that File menu, or type “Command L” () keyboard shortcut.

-move to trash, “Command Backspace”, a useless file or folder. It is recommended to get rid of useless files or folders, it releases memory, but careful, never get rid of files or folders you did not create yourself, they can be essential to keep the computer in working order. To move a file or folder to the trash, select it, and then choose “Move to Trash” in that File menu, or type “Command Backspace” () keyboard shortcut. But you can also drag and drop it in the trash.

-get info, “Command I”. Each file or folder has attached information, according to its weight in number of bytes, whether it is a folder or a file,  to what  application it is due, whether it is locked or not (files are locked in order not to be modified, but then certain operations cannot be done, as emptied from the trash), the path to reach it, when it has been created, etc… to read a file’s or folder’s information, select it and then choose “Get info” in that File menu, or type “Command I" () keyboard shortcut. A window appears on which you can read all information concerning that file or folder. To lock/unlock a file or folder, just click “Locked”.

-search a file or folder, “Command F”. When you save a file, if you forget to say in which folder it must be put, you will not know where to find it next time you need it. Luckily you have a way to find it back. In the Finder, choose “Find” in that File menu, or type “Command F” () keyboard shortcut; a window appears which you fill in with the most possible information concerning the searched file or folder ; the less information you put, the more answers you will get. When the window is filled, all files and folders having the introduced properties appear. Select the searched file or folder, and at the bottom of the window you can find the path to reach it. Double clicking () on the file’s name, will open it.

Edit menu : lets you

-copy a file or folder, and then paste it in another folder ; this operation is called “Copy and Paste”, very useful to change the place of a file or folder, when a “Drag and Drop” does not work. Select the file or folder  you want to put in another place, choose “Copy” in that Edit menu, or type “Command C” () keyboard shortcut, then select the folder in which you want to put it, and choose “Paste” in that Edit menu, or type “Command V” () keyboard shortcut, the file or folder appears in it.

Note : in such a “Copy and Paste” operation, the file or folder stays in the first folder, instead of copying it  you can cut it, which copies and rubs, all at once. Instead of choosing “Copy”, choose “Cut” in that same Edit menu, or type “Command X” () keyboard shortcut. 

-undo last operation, “Command Z”. When an error is done, you can immediately cancel it by choosing “Undo” in that Edit menu, or by typing “Command Z” () keyboard shortcut, it avoids repairing which can be complicated.

-select a whole list, “Command A”. This is very convenient when you want to open or copy all the files of a same list. Select a file of the list, then choose “Select All” in that Edit menu, or type “Command A” () keyboard shortcut.

-display specific characters palette. I recommend  you to put your characters in the “Favourites”; there are so many characters that you spend a lot of time looking for the character you need. Double clicking on a character puts it where you are writing.

View menu : lets you

-change the presentation of the active window.

  • The best presentation is the one with columns, “Command 3”, for you see the entanglement of folders the ones in the others. Either click the fifth icon, top left of the window, either choose “as Columns” in that View menu, or type “Command 3” () keyboard shortcut.
  • If names of files and folders are long, you can choose the list presentation, but then you cannot see folders before and after. Either click the fourth icon, top left of the window, either choose “as List” in that View menu, or type “Command 2” () keyboard shortcut.
  • You can also choose the icon presentation, but it is not convenient at all. Either click the third icon, top left of the window, either choose “as Icons” in that View menu, or type “Command 1” () keyboard shortcut.

-hide the toolbar, “Option Command T” (), the tool bar is the set of icons at the top of the window. Each icon has a task which is done when it is clicked.

-customize toolbar. When choosing “Customize Toolbar” in that View menu, a window with plenty of icons appears. Each icon has a task, done when you click the icon. You can put some of those icons on the top of a Finder’s window, by drag and drop.

-show view options, “Command J”, which means decide if you want each file to have an icon showing the application that manages it, and specification column attached, with information on the file.

Go menu : lets you choose from which folder you want to start, for starting from Macintosh HD can be rather long. The four most important are :

-Computer, “Shift Command C” (), which is the hard disk Macintosh HD, the top of the pyramid, the beginning of all.

-Home, “Shift Command H” (), which is the folder where you should put all files and folders often needed.

-Applications, “Shift Command A” (), folder containing all applications present in your computer.

-Utilities, “Shift Command U” (), folder containing plenty of little applications for little tasks, as Grab to make screen captures, or Installer to install a new software, etc…

Window menu : lets you

-minimize the active window, which means putting it in the Dock, either by choosing “Minimize” in that Window menu, either by typing “Command M” () keyboard shortcut.

-zoom, selecting “Zoom” in that Window menu, makes the active window as long as the screen, selecting “Zoom” once more, makes it take its original size.

-change active window, by choosing its name in that Window menu. You can also type “Command <” () keyboard shortcut, which jumps from window to window until you switch.

Help menu : lets you open the help application, “Help Viewer”, where you can find a solution to all sorts of problems.