20 Useful Tips, Tricks and Features in Mac Os X 10.6 : Snow Leopard


Snow Leopard’s official launch on 28 August has been received well by the community. Even though you may find the interface as being awfully similar, there are many small changes that make a big difference. Here are 20 feats, tips and tricks for Snow Leopard that, in our opinion, make the $29 you have to pay to upgrade from Leopard worth it.

1. Synchronizing the contacts with your iPhone and Mobile Me was possible in Leopard. Now you will be able to sync your Gmail and Yahoo address books so you can talk to your contacts and get the contact info. Go to the Contact preferences, click the Accounts tab and then click the Accounts tab. Press the configure button and follow the instructions provided.

2. Showing the date in the menu bar can prove to be useful sometimes and it can be done as simple as entering the “Date and Time Preferences” menu and adjusting the settings.

3. Text substitution and auto-correct. When entering text in applications such as Text Edit, Mail, and iChat, you can turn to the build in auto-correct and text substitution tools for a better and faster experience. Text substitutions macros that you can enter and the software will self type a longer phrase (you can define the macros and phrases from the “Language and Text Preferences” window). Control + click in the text entry field for turning these features on or off.

4. Password Delay. If your computer is password protected, when it goes to sleep for a certain time, Snow Leopard will ask for the password. Enter the Security Preferences panel to edit how long the computer has to be in sleep mode before asking for the password. This can prove a quite useful feature.

5. Google and Yahoo calendars. If you have something planned on your Google or/and Yahoo calendars, it can be a good idea to import them into Snow Leopard. Add a new account under the iCall preferences, select the server and you are done.

6. QuickTime X movie editing. Now you no longer have to buy the QuickTime Pro application to be able to edit and convert videos. This can now be done without any fee in QuickTime X. The editing is limited, but sometimes you don’t need more.

7. Upload YouTube clips from QuickTime X. If you want to upload a clip to YouTube, open a video with QuickTime X and press Share on the menu bar. The same menu will enable you to upload movies to MobileMe and convert movies so you can send them to iTunes.

8. Video capture with QuickTime X. You don’t need any other application to capture video from the iSight camera, a FireWire camera or an audio input of your choice. You can also choose to record your screen and save it as a movie.

9. Drive Eject Improvement. Snow Leopard will give you tell you what application is using the drive so you can’t eject it. This is way better than the “busy” warning in Leopard.

10. Recover Trashed Files. In Snow Leopard, the trash will look more like Windows’s Recycle Bin, meaning you can simply click “Put Back” to restore the item to its original location. This beats dragging the file to its location like you had to in Leopard.

11. Time-Zone Detection feature. No matter where you may be in the world, Snow Leopard can detect your location via Wi-Fi hotspots and adjust the clock and the time zone to match your movement.

12. Chinese Characters. Snow Leopard allows you to use the trackpad to enter Chinese characters into a text application by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Space.

13. Quick Shift to 64 bits. Pressing the 6 and 4 keys at the startup, Snow Leopard will start in 64 bit mode. Some applications will run faster, but it may be possible to lose some support. In any case, an interesting shortcut.

14. Mail Event Invitations. When you receive a mail from a friend that invites you to a certain event, giving you the date, iCal will be able to create a new event on your calendar by putting together the information from the message. Thus, you event will automatically show the date and the location if you accept the invitation.

15. Sticky Notes Shortcuts. Probably as a reply to Windows 7’s sticky notes, Apple managed to improve what Microsoft first brought on the market. The cool thing is that you can assign a keyboard shortcut for creating a sticky note with the text you have selected. Quite nice. To set the shortcut, go to System Preferences -> Keyboard).

16. Zoom by touching the pad. A cool feature is that you can make the desktop icons bigger or smaller by pinching the trackpad. If you extend, it will zoom out, if you pinch, it will zoom in. Very fast and very useful when your desktop gets too crowded.

17. Preview Image Importing. There is no need to go to the Image Capture screen just to import photos and edit them. With Snow Leopard, this can be done from the Preview.

18. Quick uppercase/lowercase morphing. When entering text, you can go to edit->Transformations to make the selected text appear in uppercase or lowercase entirely. Another option will capitalize the first letter of each word you selected (useful when writing headlines).

19. Trim Silent Parts. When editing video with QuickTime X, you have the option to select the silent parts from a video and trim them. A nice trick if you like spying on people

20. Open 3D .dae files from preview. Preview brings a fast way of zooming rotating and viewpoint playing animations. You can also print the image out from Preview.
There you go. There are a lot of new features, and a lot more tips and tricks, but these are the most important ones in Snow Leopard.

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