10 useful Mac tips for busy workers

Here's another short collection of useful Mac tips for anyone trying to get too much done in too little time.

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If you work from home, you’re probably busier than ever these days. These 10 Mac tips should help you get more done faster.

How to combine files into a PDF with Preview

So, you’ve got two or more different PDF documents and you want to combine them all into one, perhaps for a report? There are two ways to achieve this:

  • Find and select the documents you want to combine and Control-click them to access the available controls. At the bottom, select Quick Actions and then choose "Create PDF."
  • Or open one of the files in Preview and use the top left drop-down menu to select Thumbnails. You should then see previews of each page of the document appear in the sidebar. Once the thumbnails of the first PDF are visible, you can add more PDFs using drag and drop into the sidebar — like adding a page. Even multi-page PDFs can be added with this one gesture. It’s dead useful.

How to merge calendars

As can happen with other data on our Macs, we may eventually end up with multiple calendars for different purposes. That gives rise to the need to merge some of these to help keep and organize the data inside them. Here is how to merge different calendars.

Open Calendar and click on Calendars at the top of the screen to find all your current groups. Now select a calendar you want to merge and control-click its entry in the list; that will summon up a menu from which you should choose Merge. You’ll be given the opportunity to merge this calendar with another from the list. Events from both calendars will be combined.

One more tip: To see all your upcoming entries from all your calendars, just type a period (.) in the Calendar search box.

[Also read: 10+ WFH tips for Mac users]

How to speed up iCloud

Saved something on one of your Apple devices, but it hasn’t showed up yet on your Mac? Or are you looking for a Photo that doesn’t yet seem to have proliferated across iCloud? There are a few things you can do but one that seems to work best is to ensure both devices are connected to power — and restart the Mac.

Send a Safari page… fast

Here's a super-useful Safari tip: If you are working on or researching a topic in collaboration with someone else, or simply want to quickly share a web page, tap Command-I to open a new email containing the content of the page you are on. Or you can use Command-Shift-I to create a new email containing only the URL of the page.

A fast way to access System Preferences

This is a quick way to access specific System Preferences: Press and hold the System Preferences icon in your Dock. Wait just a second and a contextual menu listing all those preferences will appear, just select and click on the one you need to access. 

Make use of Smart Folders

Automate project management with Smart Folders. These can automatically gather tasks with certain keywords, dates and many other parameters. Take a look.

Use Text snippets

I’ve been a fan of these ever since I came across them. If you have text you regularly need to write, why not make life a little easier to use snd re-use by creating a Text Snippet? These are snippets of text you can automatically place in any document by dragging-&-dropping the snippet into any document.

Here is how to create one:

  • Write the text (addresses, legal warnings, whatever it might be, and it can include links).
  • Select the text and drag it to your desktop.
  • You’ll now find a Text Snippet on your Desktop.
  • Give it a memorable name and save it in a new folder somewhere.
  • Call that folder Snippets and drag the folder into the left-hand column of a Finder window, after which it should always be visible there.
  • You can add as many Snippets to that folder as you want.

In the future, you can just drag the relevant snippet from the easy-to-access folder in the Finder sindow sidebar directly into the document to save a little time.

Many people like to use Text Replacement for tasks like these. But I like the ease-of-use of Snippets, plus I don’t need to remember keyboard combinations.

If your Mac seems slow and sluggish...

If your Mac performance seems slower than normal, it might be that an open browser window, email app or some application processes may be using all your available memory. The solution is simple: quit your browser first. If you see an improvement, then it was probably a website eating up the memory. If you don’t, restart your Mac.

If no discernible improvement is then seen, then you may need other forms of support.

What to do if you forgot your Apple ID

If you forget your Apple ID password, you can reset it at the Apple ID website; just tap Forgotten your Apple ID or password and follow the process there. You will need to use the email address associated with your account and answer some security questions.

How to type a degree symbol

There are two keyboard shortcuts that let you type a degree symbol:

  • Option-Shift-8 gives you 99° (the temperature symbol).
  • Option-K provides 99˚ (the degree symbol).

I can’t really tell the difference between the two, but now you know.

There is also Option-0, which is used in some languages. º

Want more tips? Try these.

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Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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