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Mac OS X Services in Snow Leopard

Mac OS X Services let one application supply its powers to another; for example, a Grab service helps TextEdit paste a screenshot into a document. Most users either don't know that Services exist, because they're in an obscure hierarchical menu (ApplicationName > Services), or they mostly don't use them because there are so many of them.

Snow Leopard makes it easier for the uninitiated to utilize this feature; only services appropriate to the current context appear. And in addition to the hierarchical menu, services are discoverable as custom contextual menu items - Control-click in a TextEdit document to access the Grab service, for instance.

In addition, the revamped Keyboard preference pane lets you manage services for the first time ever. You can enable and disable them, and even change their keyboard shortcuts.

Submitted by
Doug McLean

 

 

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Spreadsheet and Charting

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In many ways, the spreadsheet document type/tool is the best part of the ClarisWorks package.

The spreadsheet is a fully functional - and fairly friendly - number crunching and presentation tool. It's at about the Excel 2.0-2.1 level without any of Microsoft's funky interface weirdness. Although the macro feature does not allow true scripting, the recordable macros combined with the 101 built-in functions will more than suffice for most office work and student work in the social sciences or in introductory natural science classes. It's not quite as powerful as the shareware BiPlane spreadsheet, but its linking features and smooth interface make it a better bet.

ClarisWorks smoothly integrates spreadsheet frames throughout the whole application. Frames can be linked to one another like text frames, and ClarisWorks automatically links them to any included charts. Creating a chart is simply a matter of selecting the data and choosing from one of seven chart types (pie, bar/histogram, stacked bar/histogram, line with multiple graphs, scatter, x-y scatter, and x-y line). All charts can be done in color and several in 3D. The charting dialog is simple and easy to use - almost too simple for those accustomed to describing graphing options by name. Limited legend and axis options can be accessed for each graph from a single dialog box. ClarisWorks displays all chart types graphically rather than via menus. Changing linked spreadsheet data quickly updates dependent charts, and charts automatically turn into graphics objects, ready for annotation. The charting features resemble those of CricketGraph without the lousy Cricket interface.

 

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