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Tuts+ Team Top Tips

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Marius Masalar

Displays have different Spaces

Marius Masalar, a composer, web developer and tech journalistfrom Canadasays:

"The first thing I would do is probably disable Displays Have Separate Spaces. To do this, go to System Preferences > Mission Control. Also allow apps from anywhere System Preferences > Security & Privacy."

When setting up new Macs, Marius finds a number of apps indispensible, going on to say:

"TotalFinder, Alfred, PopClip, and F.lux immediately go onto any Mac I'm using.I also spend some time adjusting settings for Notification Center > Do Not Disturb times, especially when screen mirroring, and which apps I want what kind of notifications from."

"There's no sense adding a redundant app like Growl for my uses when I can just refine the existing system. For some people, using dictation is a big help too, especially with its offline mode enabled."

Jay Inman

Jay Inman, from the USA, says:

Stay organised, says Jay Inman

"Stay organized with your file structure in Finder. It may seem tedious to put everything in specific subfolders, but once your files start adding up and you're looking for one file out of hundreds, having a meticulously organized folder structure will make your Mac life so much easier."

That's good advice that applies to a user of any computer system.  Of course, things have moved onin the world of computingjust in the last five years.  It's all about the cloud, now.

"Use a cloud syncing service for every single essential file that isn't too large. There are several decent options here, but in my experience, Dropbox is the simplest, fastest, and most reliable cloud option. It sits perfectly in Finder and on your menubar and I've almost never had any issues with it. I've occasionally had some bugs with services from Box and Google Drive."

"By keeping the files that are crucial to you and your workflow continually synced to the cloud, you never have to worry about losing a file if the unthinkable happens. Also, this setup allows you to access your important files from any computer, a very handy and useful feature in today's world."

Alex Spencer

Alex Spencer, a Ruby on Rails Developer in Florida, USA, says:

Learn keyboard shortcuts. It's good for you!

Alex Spencer, a Ruby on Rails Developer in Florida, USA, says:"Learn as many keyboard shortcuts as you can. It may feel slower or more uncomfortable at first, but within a few days your efficiency will increase dramatically. Think of it this way: Every time you move your hands off the keyboard to the mouse/trackpad, you are slowing yourself down."

In my mind, this is great advice.  Starting to learn just a few commands, such as Command-X, Command-C, Command-V for cut, copy, paste can be used across so many apps.  Command-Tab to switch between open applications allows you to navigate OS X with ninja-like agility.

Richard Guay

Alfred is a personal assistant for OS X

Richard Guay, from Thailand, uses a number of apps to assist his workflow: 

"Definitely, get new users in touch with Alfred. My stats say my average usage is 120 times/day! Keyboard Maestro and ShortCat are great for keyboard maneuverability."

"Fantastical in necessary for the a calendar app. Growly Notes is the best note taking software, while Scrivener is needed for serious writing. Scapple is the best idea processor! TextSoap is a must for processing text. It is better than awk!" 

"Dropbox is a must for keeping important information across several computers and backups. DropZone is a very handy file processor."

Admittedly, Richard realises he's keen on apps, stating:

"Need more? Okay, I love tools!"

Nope.  That's fine for now, Richard.  You've given me plenty of suggestions with which to experiment,

Harry Guinness

1Password is an incredibly useful tool

Self-proclaimed international man of mystery, Harry Guinness, from Dublin, Ireland, recommends a number of apps, saying:

"Become a power user. Learn to use tools like LaunchBar, TotalSpacesKeyboard Maestro and BetterTouchTool. They might have a bit of a learning curve but they are well worth it."

For me, Harry's next recommendation I find indispensable.  

"Use a password manager. You get more convenience and more security. I like 1Password but LastPass is good. There's no excuse to still be using 123456 or your granny's birthday as a password."

What's no mystery is that everyone should use a password manager to ensure that all of their passwords are unique and strong.

Nick Palovits


Nick Palovits, from the USA, says:

"Don't underestimate little utility apps for the Mac, small apps like Alfred, CPU LED, Growl and others just make the experience so much better, and they integrate into the operating system so well that using a Mac without them seems almost incomplete."

"I use Alfred at around 20 times a day according to the app's tracking stats."

Well Nick, compared to Richard, you could be getting Alfred to do much more for you!

Pedro Lobo

Explore System Preferences to learn more about your Mac

Pedro Lobo, a Systems Administrator and writer from Portugal, has recommendations for both new and existing Mac users. The advice for people new to Macs, is:

"I'd recommend you explore the System Preferences. There's quite a bit you can learn about your new Mac just by poking arounds the System Preferences window."

"There's a barrage of great apps that make the Mac experience so much better. Many of which have already been mentioned. Most are must haves for me too.  Try incorporate all the tips already mentioned by the rest of the team."

Pedro also has recommendations for those who have been using Macs for a little longer, with these tips to aid your workflow:

"Learn some keyboard shortcuts. Get an app such as Cheatsheet or KeyCue to aid in that endeavour, it'll be worth it."

"Automate as much as possible. I you do it more than twice, automate it. Use apps such as HazelKeyboard Maestro or a launcher to such as AlfredQuicksilver or LaunchBar to launch little scripts and workflows."

Johnny Winter

Keep an eye on for new tutorials every week day

Well, it's only fair that I give my recommendations, as well.  There's a stack of great advice from just some of the Mac Computer Skills instructors.  For me, indispensable apps are 1PasswordAlfred and Dropbox.  These are the first apps that I install on my new Macs.

The other piece of advice I'd give would be to keep abreast of new tutorials appearing on Tuts+ Mac Computer Skills.  For the last year and a half the site has published a new tutorial each day.  Since early February 2014 the site has increased it's tutorial output to two tutorials each weekday, including one new software training tutorial that gives in depth advice into achieving specific tasks on your Mac.

Of course, you'd do well to follow Tuts+ Mac Computer Skills on Twitter, Google+, YouTube and Facebook!

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