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*
System Preferences

I have no intention to do an exhaustive presentation of what can be done with the System Preferences application. That presentation exists in the Help Viewer application, when you choose “System Preferences Help” in the Help menu of the System Preferences application. I just want to point out certain important things.

System Preferences governs your computer, it stands before any other application. When loading System Preferences application, a window appears with plenty of sections. To choose a section, either you click its icon in that window, either you scan the icons with the Tab key, and when you are on the right icon, type Space ; but you can also choose the section in the View menu. 

Note: in chapter Tricks / Preferences window, is explained how you can move and “click” in the System Preferences windows without using the mouse at all. In the following, when I say “click”, remember that you can avoid using mouse.

Desktop : choose Desktop and Screen Saver / Desktop. Then choose the picture you want as background of your screen, it can be a personal photo that you drag and drop in the “Pictures Folder”. Then choose the desired settings. 

Screen Saver : when your computer is in sleep mode, because you have not been using it for a time (time that you set in the Screen Saver section), you have the possibility of letting the screen dark, or of scrolling moving pictures or photos that are in iPhoto phototeque. Choose your settings in Desktop and Screen Saver / Screen Saver.

Dock : in that section, you can change its size, its position, decide whether or not you want it to get bigger when mouse cursor approaches (Magnification), etc… But all these settings can also be obtained by Apple menu

Input Menu : is the flag menu, top right of screen. You can change it in section International / Input Menu, and choose more languages, insert the Character Palette, etc… Beware, if you change language, letters of your keyboard panel might change place. 

Keyboard Shortcuts : plenty of keyboard shortcuts are given by Apple ; you can see and modify them in section Keyboard and Mouse / Keyboard Shortcuts.

Note: in that section Keyboard and Mouse, you can change keyboard parameters (in Keyboard section) and mouse parameters (in Mouse section), most are the same as in SwitchXS preferences. 

Print and Fax : if you have a printer, connect it to your computer and restart so that it can be recognised. Then configure it in section Print and Fax / Printing, by clicking “Printer Setup”, it opens the Printer Setup Utility application, in which you enter the printer’s parameters. If you want to receive and send faxes with your computer, you must enter in the Faxing section, the phone number to which your computer is connected, and tick on the “Receive faxes on this computer” case.

Display : if you have more than one screen, you have to tell your computer which is the main one with dock and menu. It is very simple to do by drag and drop, in section Display / Arrangement.

Brightness : sometimes your screen can darken, often it is just that the brightness button goes left, putting it on the very right, makes screen become bright again. That brightness button is at the bottom window of section Display / Display.

Resolution : if your screen characters are either too big or too small, you can rectify it by changing the resolution, in section Display / Display. The more the number of the resolution is big, the smaller are the characters. To change resolution, just click the number in the Resolution window.

Modify Password : at any time, you can change the computer’s password, which is asked each time you do updates or you install a new software. Go to section Accounts / Password, select your account in the left window, and click “Change Password”. You can also change your account picture, and for example put a photo, by drag and drop, after having clicked the “Edit” button in section Accounts / Picture.

Login Items : you can organize your computer so that when you log it in, the most important applications, those used every day, such as Mail and SwitchXS, open automatically, avoiding you to launch them manually. Go to section Accounts / Login Items, click the cross (+) under the right window, a window appears with all applications on your computer, choose the right one (careful, if the application is in a folder, select the application, not the hole folder), and click Add, or type Return. If you do not want an application in that list, to log in any more, select it and type Backspace, or click the “-“ case under the right window.

Date and Time : it is very nice and convenient to have the right hour on a computer, on the top right menu ; all the more that when you log in, it goes on internet and readjusts time if “Set date and time automatically” case is ticked on, in section Date and Time / Date and Time ; so when the hours change twice a year, you do not need to worry, time is changed automatically. In section Date and Time / Clock, you set your presentation preferences.  

Software Update : it is very important to do updates regularly, essentially “Security Updates” which are antivirus. In section Software Update / Update Software, tick the case “Check for updates”, and in the popup menu, choose the period, so that your computer checks automatically if new updates are available ; if there are, it will propose you to do them ; when they are done, you have to restart so that they become operative. You can also do those updates by choosing “Software Updates” in Apple menu. Of course these updates only concern Mac OS X softwares, those given by Apple with the Mac OS X operating system ; for others, you have to go on their web sites.