Invert your colours, quickly switch audio devices and see where your currently open file is located. There’s a surprising number of things your Mac can do out of the box, if you only know how.
Which is why, back in December, the good people of Reddit’s r/Mac shared their favourite built-in Mac tricks. Whether you’re a longtime Mac user or a recent convert, there’s probably something in that thread you don’t know, so be sure to check it out. I’ve highlighted only a few of the best tips below.
Invert Colours Instantly
Press Control, Option, Command and 8 at the same time, and this happens:
I’ve shown you how to invert colours on your Mac using a dedicated app, but that was apparently a waste of time: your Mac comes with the ability built-in. Who knew?
Look Up Any Word Quickly
It’s not exactly a hidden feature, but you can look up any word instantly by tapping it with three fingers. You’ll see a dictionary definition.
Want more? You can expand on your trackpad’s list of tricks and add window-snapping using the free app Better Touch Tool.
Take Screenshots Without Extra Tools
Some people love their screenshot app of choice, but the truth is Mac users probably don’t need one – if they know the correct keyboard shortcuts.
- Command + Shift + 3: Save your entire screen as an image file on the desktop
- Command + Shift + 4: Save a selection of your screen as an image on the desktop
- Command + Shift + 4, followed by Space: Pick a window or menu
- If you’d prefer your screenshot be sent to the clipboard, and not as an image file to the desktop, simply add “Control” to any of the above screenshots.
By default the file is a PNG. You can change the default screenshot format, if you’re prefer, along with the destination folder.
Hate it when OS X adds that pesky semi-transparent drop shadow to all your screenshots? Fix it by opening Terminal and pasting the following:
defaults write com.apple.screencapture disable-shadow -bool true
In order to action your changes, next kill the system’s UI server using the following:
You can reverse the change by pasting the initial command, and changing
Quickly Switch Audio Devices
If you own an external microphone, or Bluetooth speakers, you probably change the default audio devices for your Mac with some frequency. You can do so using System Preferences, of course, but if you want a faster way just hold the “Option” key while clicking the Volume button on your menubar.
See Where Any File Is Located
Did you quickly save a file, without paying attention to where you saved it to? Just Command-click the icon at the top of the window to reveal the folder hierarchy and find out exactly where you saved it to. This works great for apps like TextEdit or Preview, or for distinguishing identically-named folders in Finder.
It’s worth noting you can also drag the icon from here to other programs like iPhoto or VLC.
Drag Anything To The Open Dialogue
I can’t believe I didn’t know this: the “Open” dialogue used by almost every Mac app supports drag and drop.
If you’ve already found the file you want to open in Finder, it can be a pain to dig through your folders to find it again. It’s also unnecessary: simply drag-and-drop the file from your Finder to the dialogue. The dialogue will be taken to that file’s location, letting you open it quickly.
Quickly Access Emoji And Other Characters
If you’re an Emoji fan you need to know this: your Mac supports the characters. Just press Control, Command and Space.
This same dialogue also gives you quick access to a variety of special characters.
It’s one of the lesser-known features added with Mavericks, and the shortcut is a little awkward, but it’s the fastest way I know to make the ™ sign without having to remember an obscure shortcut like Shift+Option+2 (go on, try it).
What Are Your Favourite Built-In OS X Tricks?
We’ve found a bunch of Mac tricks like this before, including things you need to know about Preview.app, but I still found a bunch of things in this Reddit thread I didn’t know. Which makes me curious: what tricks do you know? Share yours in the comments below, and together we’ll try to learn even more about our Macs.