Mac Tips – Keyboard surfing

September 29, 2006


If you’re not using keyboard shortcuts and tricks, you are wasting precious time that could be better spent on YouTube. Here’s a couple of my most used keyboard shortcuts for the mac.

Safari Specific shortcuts

key_combo.phpto switch between tabs in Safari

key_combo.phpto jump to the search field in Safari

command and ‘+’ or ‘-‘ to change the size of text in Safari

General tricks

Hold down the ctrl key while scrolling the wheel/ball on your mouse to zoom your display in and out (I wish my PC had this)

key_combo.php to lookup a word in the built in dictionary

cmd and tab to bring up the application switcher

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Quicksilver Tip – File Tagging

September 28, 2006


Remember back when Steve Jobs introduced us all to Spotlight. He did a demo that seemed like magic. He typed in a word and Spotlight found audio, video, photo and text documents related to that word. I was amazed and rushed to get Tiger installed on my mac. What a let down when I realize that this only works if you have tagged your files with Spotlight comments. That can be tedious to do. Normally you have to select the file, get info on it, then type in the tags and close the info box. With some basic Quicksilver skills, you can automate this process. Here is the documentation for the Tagging plugin of QS.

The only modification to this tutorial is to select some files to tag and then invoke Quicksilver. You can do this by navigating in the finder and selecting the files you want tag. Invoke Quicksilver (ctrl-space) and hit that super secret key combo cmd-g to bring them all into Quicksilver. I’m pretty sure that this is the fastest and easiest way to add Spotlight comments.

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Quicksilver is slick

September 24, 2006

A previous post showed how to use Apple’s Automator to create a workflow for taking a screenshot and sending it to iPhoto. Wouldn’t it be great if you could associate a hotkey to run this work flow? Enter Quicksilver.


First you must setup QS to catalog your Scripts folder. Go to the catalog preferences for QS and select Custom on the left side panel.

Custom Catalog

Now you can create a new Folder scanner. QS does not scan your entire hard disk as a default. Personally this can be good and bad. Speed of searching is greatly increased with a smaller catalog, but you may miss finding things that are not in the documents or application folders.

Folder Scanner


After you’ve created a new File and Folder Scanner, examine the info for this new catalog. Set the path to include ~/Library/Scripts and set the depth to infinite. Now you can access any scripts or Automator workflows that are in your script menu. While running scripts from within Quicksilver can really be a boon to your productivity, the exciting opportunity is assign Triggers within QS. Triggers are just like Quickeys (I loved it in the old OS 7-9 days) but who needs another application running when Quicksilver is such a Swiss Army Knife.


Go to the Triggers preference in QS and select Custom Triggers. And a new trigger and name it something descriptive. You’ll get the standard QS interface. Select your script or workflow in the first pane and “Execute Workflow” in the second. Save the trigger.

Scanner Setting

Get info on this new trigger. Edit the Hot Key setting. I’ve chosen something easy to use and remember (and that doesn’t conflict with any other Hot Key). What’s even nicer is that QS allows you to choose which application have access to this new Hot key trigger. This is convenient if an application already uses that particular key combination or if you only want the shortcut available under certain circumstances.

Trigger Setting

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Quick shot Automator

September 23, 2006

I use a lot of Applescript when I use my Mac. I’ve learned quite a bit about the language over the years. Needless to say that it makes me a little snobby about using Automator. For the most part, I hate automator because it is so limited. What it has is pretty much all you get to do. However, once in awhile I gain an added appreciation for its simplicity. Here is an Automator “script” that takes a screenshot and then places the screen shot in my blog photos library within iPhoto. I’m sure if I worked long enough I could have come up with an Applescript to do it, but Automator allowed me to do it in about 10 seconds of work. Here it is (and yes, I used this automator “script” to take the screenshot)


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