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Take Control of Customizing Leopard
Come up to speed quickly on Leopard's new features!
Apple boasts of 300 new features in Leopard, but to make the most of those features, turn to Matt Neuburg for a road map on how to customize Leopard so it's right for you. Matt shows you how to protect your data with Time Machine, including instructions for searching through previous files with Spotlight. You'll also learn how to peek at files with Quick Look and Cover Flow, use Spaces effectively, and find tips for customizing Leopard's updated sidebar. This title covers important changes in Mac OS X 10.5.2!
Matt explains numerous other key customizations, including how to use the much-improved Spotlight interface, set Finder windows to open in your desired view, configure Open and Save dialogs, arrange items on your toolbar for quick access, and turn on the new Path Bar. Also covered are how to work with Expose, Dashboard, status menus, login items, Internet helper applications, zooming controls, double-headed scroll arrows, and lots more.
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About the Author
Matt Neuburg is a TidBITS contributing editor and the author of several books about Apple software, including Programming iOS 4. He has been programming computers for 45 years, and has written popular Mac and iOS freeware such as MemoryStick and the TidBITS News app.
Reviews of Previous Editions
Table of Contents
Read Me First
Every couple of years, Apple plunges its excited users into a new world with a major revision of Mac OS X. This time, it's Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5). So, what's new in Leopard? What's all the fuss about? This book shows you, through a hands-on guided tour of the adjustments, tweaks, and customizations you can make in the System and the Finder. This book was written by Matt Neuburg, edited by Tonya Engst, and published by TidBITS Publishing Inc.
Perhaps on the evening of October 26, 2007, you stood in line to obtain one of the first copies of Mac OS X version 10.5 Leopard at your local computer store. Or perhaps you were more cautious and waited until you felt Apple had straightened out the initial kinks inevitable in a new operating system release. One way or another, you wound up with a copy of Leopard.
You stayed up late installing it on your Mac; then you fell asleep exhausted. You woke up the next morning excited as a child on Christmas. You rushed to the computer and started it up. You gaped at its new, improved startup speed—even faster than Tiger, and with no "thermometer" dialog! You gasped with amazement at the transparent menu bar! You shivered at the icy look of the shiny, new, reflective Dock! You squealed with delight as you tried the new Search field in Safari! You gawked as you read a TextEdit document directly from the Finder, without opening TextEdit, using Quick Look! You drooled as you played with the Finder's new Cover Flow view!
Now it's the second day. You're finished playing (and tired of all those exclamation marks), and you want to get back to work. You'd like to Take Control. And, in particular, you'd like to take control of how your computer looks and behaves. But where to start? What needs customization, so that things will go smoothly henceforward?
This book covers these second-day-of-Leopard sorts of things. It introduces you to Leopard by showing ways you can customize your computer—ways that were impossible in previous versions of Mac OS X, or that might not be obvious from a casual inspection, or that experience has shown to be worthy of your attention.
Whether you've upgraded from Tiger or switched from Windows, whether you're new to Leopard or you just want to understand it better, this book is your guide to what you can and should customize in Leopard to get the most out of it. I'm not writing for Unix experts, so I don't talk about clever technical hacks; the customizations pointed out here are those that Leopard wants and expects you to perform directly in its normal interface. I do, however, point out areas where Leopard might need a little help from third-party utilities in order for you to work most comfortably and efficiently.
Now let's meet Leopard and make it change its spots!
This book describes many customizations, not all of which you need to employ, and some of which will be more important to you than others. Naturally, I think that sooner or later you should take the time to read this book from start to finish, but I also understand that you're eager to get working with Leopard and that you live a busy life, and that you might want to know what's most important to do right now, and come back to the rest of the book later. So, I suggest a three-stage approach:
Here, then, is how I suggest you customize and learn about Leopard with the help of this book:
If you're familiar with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, Leopard presents interesting changes that you may want to take account of as you adjust your work habits to fit the new environment. Not all of these involve customization, so they don't fit into the overall theme of this book. But in order for you, a habituated Tiger user, to work with Leopard effectively, you may have to customize yourself! Here are some of the biggest Leopard changes that may demand a change in your mental orientation (with reference, where appropriate, to later sections of this book):
Start by opening up the "Customizing Leopard" PDF that you do have, in Apple's Preview or Adobe Reader, for instance. Then, look on page 1—that's the "cover" page that also has the table of contents on it. Look at the upper right. You should see a Check for Updates link. Click it. From there, you can:
If your button won't click, you likely have the wrong "tool" chosen for your mouse. If you have trouble selecting a different tool, consult the _TidBITS_ article Solve Link-Clicking Problems When Reading PDFs
There are lots of great ways to read our ebooks on these devices. For more details, please read our latest Device Advice.
Feel free to ask us if you have a question about this title!
My son, who has been a TidBITS fan for many years, highly recommended that I buy Take Control of Upgrading to Leopard and Take Control of Customizing Leopard. So I have him and you to thank. I have spent the whole weekend reading both ebooks and tweaking the computer as suggested. As a result I have a friendlier computer, I understand it better, I've had a number of "Wow!" moments, and it will be quicker to use. Thanks to all of you who made this possible.
How could we not publish such kind words? If you'd like to send us your comments (good or bad, though we hope they're all good), just click the Feedback link on the cover of your copy of the ebook. Be sure to let us know if we can publish your comment. Thanks!
We have no plans to update the Leopard edition of this ebook, but new editions about later Big Cat versions of Mac OS X are available, including Take Control of Exploring and Customizing Snow Leopard and Take Control of Using Lion.
December 5, 2008 --
In the switch to Mac OS X, what's the worst change, overall, that Apple made to the interface? It's clickthrough. At long last, there's a utility that blocks it. Matt Neuburg, author of Take Control of Customizing Leopard, takes a look at Klicko in his TidBITS article Fix Your Clicks With Klicko.
November 11, 2008 --
Unsatisfied with Leopard's standard screensaver selection? Fear not! There's a whole world of interesting screensavers out there, ready to customize and enliven your idle screen. I went searching for the best screensavers I could find, and reported back on my favorite ones in the TidBITS article Top 10 Screensavers for the 21st Century. Enjoy!
October 24, 2008 --
If you're having trouble with Office 2008 in Spaces, you're probably not alone. Erik Schwiebert, Senior Development Lead for Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit recently wrote a blog post discussing bug fixes in Office and - toward the end of the post - talking about how Microsoft has handled problems with Office 2008 and Spaces. You can read it at http://www.schwieb.com/blog/2008/10/23/risks-and-rewards/. Erik also linked to a fairly cut-and-dried description of common problems you might encounter with Office 2008 and Spaces; you can read it at http://www.microsoft.com/mac/help.mspx?target=c3f299e3-aa15-40f4-b3cc-1a6e9eb38cf81033&clr=99-4-0&ep=11&CTT=Category&MODE=pv&locale=en-US&usid=0f7ed450-1b63-4b7e-9733-146430521c0b
—Tonya J Engst
August 22, 2008 --
I recently received an email message asking, "Does your new ebook about customizing Leopard show how to increase the size of the icons in the Finder sidebar? Thanks." Unfortunately, as far as Matt (and I) can figure out, there is no way to increase the size of the icons or of the text. However, if a way of customizing them does come along, we'll certainly want to mention it here and in any future versions of the ebook.
—Tonya J Engst
December 19, 2007 --
Matt recently did a podcasting session with Chuck Joiner from MacNotables. Listen to this podcast to get more Leopard advice and to hear Matt's take on several topics covered in this ebook
—Tonya J Engst
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