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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).

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Font Folder Hack Warning

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In TidBITS-162, there's a second part of a hack started in TidBITS-157 to make ATM 2.0.2, 2.0.3, and 2.0.4 work under System 7.1. The hack in TidBITS-157 involves replacing the Folder Manager identifier 'extn' with 'font', so ATM looks in the Fonts folder instead of the Extensions folder when seeking Type 1 fonts to render. Of course, System 7.0 and System 7.0.1 don't have the 'font' selector for the Fonts folder, so you can't take this hacked version of ATM back to those older systems and expect it to work.

The second part of the hack adds the 'font' selector to these earlier systems by modifying the 'fld#' resource in your system file - this makes the Folder Manager create and subsequently use whatever folder name in the System Folder you add to the 'fld#' resource with the selector 'font'. Now, since you've hacked ATM to use the 'font' selector to FindFolder (instead of 'extn') and since you've added that selector to your 'fld#' resource, ATM will look in the folder you specified for your Type 1 fonts.

(Editing the 'fld#' resource does change how FindFolder works, but the next time you install something it could get rewritten, and Apple doesn't guarantee any of this.)

Unfortunately, the LaserWriter driver won't do the same thing - it will still look in the Extensions folder while ATM is looking in this new folder, so you could wind up with ATM working but printing broken. Only LaserWriter driver 7.1.2 (which comes with System 7.1) or later (like version 7.2, which comes with the LaserWriter Pro) will use the 'font' selector to find fonts, so you either have to use those drivers or hack the LaserWriter driver to make it look in your new folder (can you detect an increasing chain here?).

Also, the hack is of limited use - since you have to have 7.1 (or a LaserWriter Pro, or more hacking nerve) to have a LaserWriter driver that will find your fonts in the same place that your hacked ATM will, you probably won't need one copy of ATM that works under both 7.0 and 7.1 (unless you revert to 7.0 often from 7.1). It just seems easier to take advantage of Adobe's upgrade offer to ATM 3.0 unless you really like this kind of two-bit surgery.

 

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