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Mousing in style! Time-saving tips, part two.

Leveraging your Hot Corners

My favorite setup with Hot Corners is below (see screenshot below). I move my mouse into the top right of my screen to get at my Desktop, I move it into the bottom left to see all windows across all applications through Exposé, and I start my screen saver from the bottom right – with password locking, for privacy reasons.

To make this possible: Just explore the Hot Corners area of System Preferences -> Exposé & Spaces -> Exposé tab. You can also change the Screen Saver settings from System Preferences -> Desktop & Screen Saver -> Screen Saver tab. I like the word of the day, as per my Feng Shui article. Lastly, enable Screen Saver password from System Preferences -> Security -> General.

Ideal Hot Corners

Adding attachments to an email message – the convenient way

There are several ways to attach a document to an email in Mail. You can click the paperclip in the message toolbar, you can open a new message, position it properly on screen, and drag the file straight into the message body, or you can press command-shift-A from within the message to access an Open dialog.

One of my favorites, however, is just dragging the item onto the Mail icon in the Dock. It’s particularly handy if another window (like Safari or iPhoto) takes up most of your screen space, and the attachment is coming from there.

Try this:

  • If you already have a Mail message open, bring up a Finder window, iPhoto, or a Safari page with an image.
  • Drag the image or file you want to attach straight from there onto the Mail icon in the Dock, and hold it there for a moment.
  • You will see an Exposé-like display come up that allows you to drag the item straight into the right Mail message.
  • If you don’t have a mail message window already open, or if you’re not running Snow Leopard, you can just drag the item onto the Mail icon on the Dock and it will open a new email with that item attached.
  • Handy, right?

Pro user tip: If you want to disable Mail’s inline image preview feature (where you see the full-size image in the message body), as I did, click here.

Move a file, while editing the File (and I’m not talking “Save As…”)

I often have a TextEdit or Word document open and want to move it to a certain place in the Finder, while still editing the file. For example, I opened it right out of a Mail message (which saves it to Mail Downloads), edited the file, saved it, and now I want to move it into Documents.

Try this: While editing the document, open a new Finder window and position it so you can still see the destination folder once you’ve moved back to the document you’re working on. Then press command-Tab to get back to the open document you want to move, and click and hold the small document icon in the grey toolbar. Drag it anywhere you want! Also works for moving the current document straight into the Trash, on your Dock.

Title bar document icon

Hiding applications! Only for people who love efficiency and uncluttered screens.

“Hiding” applications is a very under-used feature, that is quite handy. If you have a lot of windows and applications open at once most of the time, as I do, it can get a bit tricky to move around smoothly.

Try these:

  • With all your main applications and windows open, click once on the Desktop, then press command-option-H (or choose “Hide Others” from the application menu in the top left – the one right next to the Apple menu).
  • This will hide every application but the one you’re currently using (in this case, all but Finder).
  • You can also use this with command-Tab, by holding command, pressing Tab until the item you want to hide, then pressing H while still holding command.
  • To get them all back, just click their icons on the Dock, or choose “Show All” from the application menu (just right of the Apple menu).

Pro user tip: You can also just option-click any other application or window to hide the one you were currently using and bring forward the one you option-clicked. Only works if you’re moving from one application into another, not between windows within the same application.

Rapidly selecting items in List or Column views

In any list view, like in Mail or Finder, you can select multiple items very quickly by dragging vertically with the mouse cursor in the white space.

The horizontal drag, the pause-drag (where you click, hold for a second, then drag), or dragging the actual filename, will actually move the item.

Experiment with this!

How to undo: If ever you drag something and don’t have an easy way to put it back where it came from, just press Escape while still “holding” the item with the mouse, or else drag the item up onto the Finder menu bar across the top of your screen. You’ll see it bounce back, as if nothing happened. Worst case scenario, you can also usually hit command-z to undo.  😉

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