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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

 
 

Watch TidBITS Presents “Explaining the Big 3 Confusions with Messages”

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In our fourth TidBITS Presents event on 14 November 2012, “Take Control of Messages in Mountain Lion” author Glenn Fleishman talked for about 40 minutes about the three most common confusions that we’ve heard from users with regard to using the Messages app in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. In particular, Glenn addressed the following issues, which you can watch at your leisure. If you prefer audio to video, you can listen to the entire presentation by clicking the Listen link at the very top of this article on our Web site or the Listen button in the TidBITS News iOS app. Or you can subscribe to our audio edition podcast via iTunes and listen to it there.

First, since an Apple ID can be associated with multiple email addresses and iPhone phone numbers, it’s easy to end up in a situation where iMessages don’t arrive where you think they should, or where you’re unable to contact someone at the desired device. Glenn explained how to ensure that you get all your messages on all your devices by associating all your email addresses with an iMessage account, or how to pick and choose which devices should receive which messages. In general, we recommend starting with linking up all your email addresses and then disabling certain ones on particular devices if you find message ubiquity annoying. Finally, in response to a listener question, Glenn advised logging out of and back in to iMessage accounts on your Mac and your iPhone if your iPhone number doesn’t appear as an option in Messages on the Mac.

Next up, Glenn explained something that drove us nuts early on with Messages. We’re accustomed to using text chat to check if someone is available for a voice call, and then switching from text to audio. That’s easy in Skype, and was easy in iChat, but it’s trickier in Messages. Look at the FaceTime video camera button in the upper right corner of the Messages window; it’s actually (who would have guessed!) a menu, and you can choose an email address or phone number from it to start an audio or video chat that way. Confusing the issue further is how Messages combines AIM and other instant messaging accounts with the text-only iMessage; if your only connection with someone is via iMessage, you’ll be able to do audio and/or video only via FaceTime. And the FaceTime app itself is awkward, since it makes avoiding video difficult and lacks controls to make audio output separate from the system default (something all other audio-capable chatting programs do, including Messages).

Finally, Glenn delved into the topic of conversations in Messages and how they relate to transcripts in iChat. He showed where in the ~/Library folder they’re stored, and explained that a conversation in Messages brings together multiple chat transcripts. (See “Dealing with Lion’s Hidden Library,” 20 July 2011, for instructions on how to show the ~/Library folder permanently in both OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and 10.7 Lion.) A particular setting controls whether closing a conversation also deletes the transcripts, and Glenn warned against using the Edit > Clear Transcript command in Messages, which nukes every transcript associated with the selected person, with no option to undo.

Hope you enjoy the presentation and find it useful, and if you have other questions about Messages, they’re likely answered in the full 113-page “Take Control of Messages in Mountain Lion.”

Check out the Take Control ebooks that expand on the topic in this article:

The new Messages app in Mountain Lion lets you chat via text, audio, and video, but are you taking full advantage of its features? Join Mac expert Glenn Fleishman as he explains the six account options, what's changed since iChat, status and etiquette, buddy lists, how to best send a message, and more.

 

New for iOS 8: TextExpander 3 with custom keyboard.
Set up short abbreviations which expand to larger bits of text,
such as "Tx" for "TextExpander". With the new custom keyboard,
you can expand abbreviations in any app, including Safari and
Mail. <http://smle.us/tetouch3-tb>
 

Comments about Watch TidBITS Presents “Explaining the Big 3 Confusions with Messages”
(Comments are closed.)

Michael Paine  2012-11-16 21:01
There is another problem with Messages - old .mac accounts. See this Apple discussion:
https://discussions.apple.com/message/19054375#19054375
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2012-11-19 14:42
From what I can tell from this discussion, there are problems with some old mac.com-related Apple IDs, and the only solution is to call Apple support. Unsatisfying, I know, but that's what happens with cloud/local-service combos like iCloud and Messages.

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5419