Mac Tips from a Windows Guy

2015 September 1

I’m a Windows guy – I always have been.  I’ve used Apple products in the past, I mean I’m a tech guy for crying out loud.  I think my first resume was composed on a Mac way back in the computer lab at college, but my professional career has largely been Windows focused.

Until the iPhone cam along.  With the passage of just a few years, Apple products are everywhere and not just in pockets; iPads are commonplace in the enterprise and the demand for access to corporate resources through whatever device people have increases every day .  More and more that means Apple computers and devices.  With the continued maturation of remote access technologies like Citrix, and the increased use of virtualization for applications and desktops in the enterprise, BYOD is easier than ever to implement.  What does this mean for us mild mannered tech support guys?  It means we have to know Apple devices.

This turns out to be an awesome thing – Apple stuff is really good.  I know, duh, you say, and I hear you.  I’m not a naysayer cum fanboy yet, but I like what I see.

To that end, I’ve put together a little list of things that make navigating the OSX environment a little easier for us Windows Ham Handers.

  1. Ctrl-Home – in Windows, if you want to get the the top of a page, document, spreadsheet etc, you just hit Ctrl-Home.  On a Mac, there’s no Home key!  What to do?
    Fn – Left Arrow will get you there.
  2. F2 key to edit.  I use this one a lot – in Windows,  you hit F2 to edit the text in a lot of places – Cells in Excel, file names in Explorer etc..  How to do the same on a Mac?  This is a little trickier.For file names (in Finder) just hit the enter key to get to edit mode.For Spreadsheets is a bit application dependent.  For LibreOffice, Fn – F2 will put you in edit mode in a cell.
    For Numbers you can click in the cell to edit the text, or option-Return will put the cursor at the end of the text in the cell.
  3. Right Click – This may have been obvious to others, but it took me weeks to realize how to get a right click on my MacBook.  Simply two-finger tap the track-pad to bring up the right click menu.
  4. Open a second Finder window.  On Windows, I often have multiple frames for an application up at one time, especially explorer windows for file browsing.  On a Mac, it wasn’t immediately clear to me how to do the same.It’s quite easy – simply right click on the finder icon and choose “New Finder Window” from the menu.
  5. How do I save Word files from Pages?  If you have to live in both Windows an Mac land, you may have to edit documents on both platforms.  You can do this in many, many ways, the cleanest of which is to run MS Office on your Mac, but if you don’t want to pay for that, or your Office 365 subscription is Windows only (thanks Microsoft) then you may have to edit and save Word format docs from the Pages app on your Mac.  Lucky for us, that’s easy too -In Pages, click the File menu, then Export to then choose the format of choice – word, PDF, whatever floats your boat.  Note that for the most part Word formatting works well, but if you have a complex word document, I would not try and edit it in pages and expect that all formatting will work exactly as planned.  Caveat emptor here – if it’s complex formatting, stick to one format or the other – don’t cross the streams – it would be bad.

There are literally thousands of sites to explore looking for tips and tricks for Mac, this is just a tiny tiny sample from my personal experience.  Share if you find more stuff, and I’ll likely post more of these as I find them.

One thing I’ll mention is that the track-pad on a Mac is amazing as compared to it’s Windows counterparts.  Two finger gestures, swipes etc are intuitive (for the most part) and work really well.  Once you get get used to it, its very hard to go back to Windows clumsiness.


Inching ever closer to fan boy –

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