With the approach of the holiday season, we're all looking for Macintosh gifts, ranging from games to books to accessories. I'm probably going to regret this offer, but if you send me a description of the top three items that you plan to give to a friend or relative as a present, I'll compile the best of the submissions and publish it in one of the issues in December. Please limit yourself to a paragraph about each item and avoid anything that can't be easily purchased via mail order, that being the least-common denominator. To avoid hammering my personal email account, please send suggestions to <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Open Files with Finder's App Switcher
Say you're in the Finder looking at a file and you want to open it with an application that's already running but which doesn't own that particular document. How? Switch to that app and choose File > Open? Too many steps. Choose Open With from the file's contextual menu? Takes too long, and the app might not be listed. Drag the file to the Dock and drop it onto the app's icon? The icon might be hard to find; worse, you might miss.
In Leopard there's a new solution: use the Command-Tab switcher. Yes, the Command-Tab switcher accepts drag-and-drop! The gesture required is a bit tricky. Start dragging the file in the Finder: move the file, but don't let up on the mouse button. With your other hand, press Command-Tab to summon the switcher, and don't let up on the Command key. Drag the file onto the application's icon in the switcher and let go of the mouse. (Now you can let go of the Command key too.) Extra tip: If you switch to the app beforehand, its icon in the Command-Tab switcher will be easy to find; it will be first (or second).