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    1. 9

      Great list of tips!

      cmd+shift+4 pops up a crosshair to take a screenshot of a region.

      And pressing space after cmd+shift+4 lets you screenshot a particular window.

      And since 10.14 (I think) taking a screenshot now gives you a little preview in the bottom-right of the display which delays it writing to a file. If you just want it to write the file and skip the preview, cmd+shift+5 gives you an Options menu where you can disable “Show floating thumbnail”.

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        Don’t miss the fact that ⇧⌘5 can also do screen recordings, with or without audio. Previously you had to run QuickTime Player and find it in the menu.

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        Pressing control along with either of those just copies the image to the clipboard, ready for pasting!

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        The nice thing about that floating thumbnail is that you can drag & drop it like a real file. Sometimes I’m screen shotting just to share with someone in chat, and that dragging that thumbnail over means I can send images without ever having them written to disk.

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          Mentioned in the other comment but yeah– pressing control along with wither hotkey just copies to clipboard inmediately which I’ve found to bw the best path for this usecase. Then I’m able to just Cmd + V in the target.

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            On Catalina (not sure about previous versions), you can also hit cmd + shift + 5 and select the clipboard as the default destination. Then you won’t need to add control for screenshots to go to the clipboard.

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      I’ll add a bit:

      • The Mac Human Interface Guidelines ask developers to put everything the user can do in the Menu Bar, regardless of whether a function is also available someplace else like as a toolbar button or a context menu. It’s ostensibly, mostly, an index of every action you can do in an app.
      • Some menu items are variants of other items, and only show up when you hold a modifier key. For instance, a lot of apps will reveal Save All if you hold ⌥.
      • You can search the menu bar for a capability you think the app might have by opening the Help menu and typing.
      • You can bring up the Help menu in order to search by using a systemwide keyboard shortcut, ⌃⌥⌘Space. I’m not sure if you have to turn on this shortcut before using it, but if so it’s available at System Preferences / Keyboard / Shortcuts / App Shortcuts / All Applications / Show Help Menu.
      • You can move the mouse diagonally down-right from a highlighted submenu heading to one of its items without the menu closing on you in the gap. But if you move straight down instead, even a little, the submenu will hide since it predicts you didn’t want the submenu open anymore. Try it! It’s one of my favorite touches.
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        You can search the menu bar for a capability you think the app might have by opening the Help menu and typing.

        This is probably my favorite Mac feature. I’m curious (and can’t remember or test right now) if it also brings up the Option-dependent menu items.

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          It bugs me how close Office comes to copying this feature, yet misses the most useful part. In Office, you can also search for anything that’s on the ribbon, but when you find it the buttons just appear in the result. On macOS, when you select the item, it opens the correct menu or submenu and shows you where it was so that you can find it next time. With the ribbon search, you learn nothing.

          One of my favourite features in the macOS Terminal is the fact that this same interface also searches man pages and will open them in a new terminal window (with a yellow background, so it’s easy to find and close them all).

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          I just tested by searching for “Close All” in TextEdit, and yes it does cover those.

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      ooo, I was thinking of writing something like this! here are a few seriously insane ones, but I won’t say what they do:

      • try dragging the border of a window as if to resize, but instead dragging in the orthogonal direction. like drag the bottom edge to the left. useful if you like having a million tabs open and don’t want to drag from the top
      • try cmd-dragging menu bar items! (like the battery indicator, wifi, date/time)
      • try cmd-dragging the buttons in the finder hotbar!
      • go to /Applications in finder. cmd-drag an app like Terminal onto the finder hotbar. then try holding down the little folder icon next to “/Applications” and dragging onto that Terminal icon. (I often use this feature for iterm, firefox, and sublime text)
      • when you get a notification with so much text that it gets cut off, drag its bottom edge down as if to resize it (before it disappears)
      • hover over a dock icon and scroll up (it must be up)

      we should really appreciate how awful these features are in terms of discoverability! like you can’t get worse than this. that’s why I left out what they actually do

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      Here are some more that I find super useful.

      • Holding Option while clicking on the Notifications button (the list icon at the top right hand corner) mutes them — a quick way to prevent embarrassing messages when you have someone watching over the shoulder
      • if you have more than one Apple device ( presumably connected to the same ID, and in close proximity?) you can copy from one device and paste on another
      • Printing to PDF rather than a physical printer is built into the OS
      • Holding Option while clicking the Fullscreen button on a window (the green one) will make it work like a sort of Maximize, not quite equivalent to the Windows one, but much more useful than the default button action (I have never used it for Fullscreen intentionally)
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        Holding Option while clicking the Fullscreen button on a window (the green one) will make it work like a sort of Maximize, not quite equivalent to the Windows one, but much more useful than the default button action (I have never used it for Fullscreen intentionally)

        Is that the Zoom button? The Mac has always had that instead of maximize, but I suspect Apple’s de-emphasized it for various reasons (cross-platform software, fullscreen on small screens, Windows switchers demanding Windows behaviour).

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          Ah yeah, I wanted to say the “sort-of-maximize behavior of yore” that has been replaced with Fullscreen circa OS X Yosemite, didn’t know it was called the Zoom button :-)

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      Thanks for introducing me to Hammerspoon. I’m used to Ratpoison and after 1 hour of crude hacking I now have the features I miss most from it on macOS.

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      Three apps I can’t live without on my Mac:

      1. Witch - https://manytricks.com/witch/ - I originally came from windows and hated MacOS not automatically maximizing windows when you Command tab to it. This made that possible.

      2. Sizeup - https://www.irradiatedsoftware.com/sizeup/ - Size windows with key strokes. Move them to 50% size left or right of screen. Etc.

      3. Launchbar - https://www.obdev.at/products/launchbar/index.html - A better version of the Mac finder. Actually for me the most important feature is the clipboard history. I use that for everything.

      I’ve been using MacOS for 10 years and these are the first apps I install if I reinstall my Mac or get a new MacBook.

      I’m sure there are open source replacements for all of these or maybe MacOS has them built in now (let me know if you use one!). But I’ve just been happy with each app and I always pay to upgrade them.

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        The OG LaunchBar, which was sherlocked by the release of Spotlight, is Quicksilver, which is open source.

        There are more window-arranging utilities to choose from; I like Divvy.

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          LaunchBar came out on OS X a couple years before Quicksilver.

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            Oo you’re right, I didn’t know LaunchBar had such a long history. I think I was conflating it with Alfred.

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      Re: filling the screen with a window, there are two levels of additional options besides the green traffic light full screen button. If you point at the button for a moment, you get a menu, including options to enter full screen paired with a second app on either side.

      If you hold ⌥ while that menu is up, you get options to do equivalent things but just as window arrangement, not entering full screen mode. ⌥-clicking the button itself gives you the traditional Mac OS X “zoom” from before full screen mode was a thing.

      Zoom, however, is not the same as maximize, which a lot of users coming from other operating systems would expect. Maximizing isn’t a thing in macOS: The whole point of having windows is to use more than one app at a time, so zoom exists as a “make it big enough” option. When zooming, an app computes how big a window would have to be to fit its content without scrolling. If that rectangle is bigger than the screen on any axis, the window will fill the screen on that axis and still have to scroll. Otherwise it will just enlarge to fit on that axis. Zooming a second time restores the prior size. When I got my first Mac in 2005 or so, I took the hint and relaxed about maximizing. However, I do use a third party app to arrange windows (Divvy, linked in this thread someplace), sometimes including full screen.

    8. 1

      The last time I was on a Mac, about three years ago, I simply could not adjust to not having highlight-and-middle-click paste. I hardly ever touch the rodent, but when I do that is what I need it for.

      Are there any good solutions to adding that feature to a Mac now? At the time all the “solutions” were workarounds that came with their own set of new problems.

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        I use BetterTouchTool and a mouse with extra side buttons, and bind copy and paste to the side buttons. Also both Apple’s Terminal and iTerm2 support middle click paste.

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          Thanks. This is yet another workaround, though.

          For one thing, being able to copy without having to click a button - on the keyboard or on the mouse - is very streamlined. Call me spoiled.

          But more importantly, being able to paste with the middle mouse button means that I don’t have to first click or alt-tab to focus the receiving window. I just move the mouse over the non-focused window, middle-click and that window gets focus and the paste. With a dedicated “paste” key one would have to first focus the field that is to accept the paste.

          Therefore the proposed solution is less streamlined on both sides of the operation.

    9. 1

      I should put something like this about the shell commands available in Mac OS up. There are some pretty nifty tools, that integrate nicely into idiomatic Mac usage, but can also be integrated into shell pipelines.

    10. 1

      Thanks for the tips!

      Can you elaborate on the display scaling point? If I understood you correctly you are recommending something completely opposite to https://tonsky.me/blog/monitors/ but I may just misunderstood you

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        I believe I recommend the same thing, which is to try and stick to integer scaling factors.

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          thank’s for clarification

    11. 1

      Being a +10y Linux user, I have sometimes looked at Apple side with desire for the homogenous ecosystem (or Golden cage depends on my mood). For users that had make the switch what did you loose besides the freedom to chose many alternatives? What did you gain?

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        I didn’t switch, but for a few months my work laptop was a Mac. My biggest gripes were:

        1. No highlight-middle-click-paste. I’ve asked elsewhere in this thread if there is a solution to that today.

        2. I’ll use KDE terminology, because every system redefines the same terms. I have two physical monitors. In KDE they are called Screens and I have assigned a keyboard shortcut to move an app from one to the other. I believe that this cannot be done (at the time) on a Mac.

        3. The two Screens are inside a Desktop, of which I have two. One Desktop is called Communication, which permanently has Slack and Telegram on the left screen and Thunderbird on the right screen. The other Desktop is called General and I’ll have my IDE, console, web browser, Anki, LibreOffice, Keepass, and other apps open as needed. On the Mac, switching a Desktop (collection of applications each which is on a Screen) would only change the visible apps on a single monitor. Id est, in KDE Screens are inside Desktops but on a Mac Desktops are inside Screens.

        The only other problem that I had with the Mac was working on the train with it. My Kubuntu laptop would draw no attention, and if somebody did happen to notice that I’m using a Linux distro, and also saw fit to say something, then I would find myself having a conversation with a smart individual. But with the Mac, almost every day some giddy stranger would start telling me how great their Mac is, and how great their iPhone is, and wow he’s a coder too, I should see what he wrote in JavaScript this week.

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        As someone who switched to linux from Apple everything 4 years back:

        • An awful lot of things look the same because they are electron apps or well-written cross-platform apps (eg: sublime text hasn’t changed, vscode hasn’t changed, slack hasn’t changed). I haven’t found a visual git client I like as much as gitx. Mail clients suck on linux, but they also suck on osx, so I’m calling that a wash.
        • I switched intending to do a lot of configuring. As a result, everything I use on linux is non-portable to other systems (not a problem for me) whereas every mac has the same keyboard shortcuts (baffling and undocumented as they are, learn them once and take them everywhere).
        • The performance difference for your money is pretty damn stark (from a MBP to a desktop, the test suite for $WORK went from 50m down to 8m for less money).
        • I added an mp3 file to my itunes library, plugged in my iphone, synced the song to my phone. Phone refuses to play the song; “This song is not available in your country or region”. I can listen to it with VLC, but the homogenous ecosystem can definitely be a cage.
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          Yep, sounds like a lot of different feedbacks I get sometimes. I think I am just jealous of the hardware ecosystem (the iPad Pro in particular) but too much to loose to make that change, at least it seems.

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            The basics (itunes sync) can be had with virtualbox and a free windows vm.