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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).

Visit Take Control of Customizing Leopard

 

 

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Bull Market for the TAO

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After a long beta period (and a name change), TAO 1.0 has finally been released. In the immortal words of Calvin (from "Calvin and Hobbes"): "This is so exciting I have to go to the bathroom!"

<http://blue-beach-systems.com/Products/Software /TAO/>

TAO is an outliner - a writing space for working with items of styled text arranged hierarchically. Even more important, it's an outliner that understands what an outliner is supposed to be. It's the closest any Mac OS X-native program has come to replacing MORE, the dean of outliners and my favorite (even though it was creaky when I reviewed it in TidBITS-198 and is even creakier under Classic).

<http://www.outliners.com/more31>
<http://db.tidbits.com/article/02381>

TAO has a complete repertory of commands for rearranging items. You can create a new item as a sibling (before or below), child, or aunt of the current item. You can select single or multiple items. Items can be joined or split. Items can be moved by dragging or by keyboard shortcut. An item can be hoisted for isolated viewing. An item's children can be promoted; its siblings can be demoted. An item can be cloned (changing one clone changes them all). An item can be collapsed or expanded, locked, and even made invisible. A multi-line item can be reduced to only its first line.

Items can have many attached features. An item can have a label (color), a checkbox, a bookmark, an automatic number, and links to other items. Text can be linked to a URL. An item can include a note (essentially an embedded TextEdit document), a picture, or a link to a file on disk.

Formatting and other features can be applied through stylesheets (collections of rules). You can edit in a split window. You can find by text, label, date created or modified, visibility, bookmark, locked state, or checked state, in one or multiple files. Documents can be exported as plain text, styled text, HTML, and XML (OPML).

TAO is brilliant; it's an amazing achievement. The only thing missing - and unfortunately, it's a big thing - is a proper set of shortcuts for navigating between items. There needs to be a way to navigate directly from an item to its siblings, even if visible children intervene, or to its parent. Once such shortcuts are in place, TAO will be a useful outliner in the true spirit of MORE.

TAO requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later, and is $30 shareware. It's a 4 MB download. An unregistered version quits after half an hour, but the download currently includes a trial license valid until 01-Nov-04.

 

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