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Take Control of Using Lion
Nov 15, 2011

Take Control of Using Lion

Explore Lion’s native habitat with an expert guide!

This ebook will teach you how to use your Mac more effectively with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, whether you embrace all of Lion’s new capabilities or strike a balance between old and new. Mac expert and former college professor Matt Neuburg explains how to use these important new features in Lion:

  • Auto Save: Fully Lion-savvy applications don’t have Save commands—learn what’s going on with Auto Save, and start to feel comfortable letting Lion do the work.
  • Resume: Find out how to enjoy the new Resume feature that re-opens applications and windows when you restart your Mac or relaunch a program. (Also, learn how to turn it off temporarily or permanently.)
  • Mission Control: Discover the many ways to enter and control Mission Control, and figure out how to make its many window-management options work for you.
  • Full-screen mode: Find out how to enter and leave full-screen mode, and see how it relates to Mission Control.
  • Launchpad: Launchpad brings the iPhone Home screen to the Mac. Learn how to use and customize Launchpad, and get ideas for additional ways to open your applications.
  • Gestures: If you have a trackpad or Magic Mouse, get ready for gestures in Lion, since there are more of them than ever before, and it’s well worth learning a few. You’ll learn about gestures as you read, since many Lion commands can be invoked with a gesture.

“Matt Neuberg has written a book useful to both diehard [Mac] cultists like me, and new users, both of whom can find what they need easily and quickly.” —Lisa Spangenberg, tech blogger

More Info

Other new-in-Lion-related questions that you’ll find answers to are these:

  • What’s the fun new way of entering accented characters?
  • Where’d my scrollbars go?
  • How do I make the text in my Finder window sidebar larger?
  • How do I sort items in a Finder window, and what does “Arrange” mean?
  • Where are the Appearance and the Accounts System Preference panes?
  • How do I change the size of my mouse pointer icon?
  • What’s this All My Files entry in my sidebar?
  • What’s the new picture-in-a-picture zooming option?
  • Where’d my user Library go?

“Once you’ve installed Lion you’ll absolutely want Take Control of Using Lion.”
—Miraz Jordan, MacTips reviewer

You’ll also learn how to:

  • Be nimble and efficient finding your documents and applications.
  • Take advantage of Lion’s revised Open and Save dialogs.
  • Make the screen easy on your eyes.
  • Reduce “pane-ful” clutter in System Preferences.
  • Enjoy the new Lion look of spelling corrections.
  • Have your Mac read to you in many great new voices.
  • Organize your fonts so you can easily format your text.
  • Find the elusive checkbox for making the menu bar look solid.
What's New

What’s New in This Edition

Take Control of Using Lion is the fifth edition of an ebook I originally wrote in 2003, then called Take Control of Customizing Panther. Fast-forward to 2011, and although Take Control of Using Lion still covers customization, it also looks more fully at understanding and using this newest iteration of Mac OS X.

If you’ve been reading this ebook through its previous incarnations, or feel that you already know a great deal about previous Big Cat versions of Mac OS X, take note of the Know What’s New chapter, a few pages ahead; it summarizes new goodies, methods of working, and other changes in 10.7 Lion, and helps you locate the related new info in this book.

Note: You won’t get the full Lion experience unless you use finger gestures with a trackpad or a similar modern mousing device. Although this ebook will work nicely for you no matter what your input device, I wholeheartedly describe finger gestures for trackpads (and Apple’s Magic Mouse) throughout.

Like previous editions of this ebook, this one is sold with a companion ebook with the word Upgrading in its title, intended to be read before this one. We coordinated even more tightly than usual between the two manuscripts this time. As a result, a chapter in Take Control of Upgrading to Lion, “Perform Post-installation Tasks,” explains a few immediately important customizations that I don’t talk about here, and then sends you here to learn more. You certainly don’t need Take Control of Upgrading to Lion to use this book, and if you’ve already been using Lion for a while you likely don’t need it at all. However, many people do buy these two books together.

Update Plans

August 4, 2012 – We do not plan to update this ebook again for Lion. However, Take Control of Using Mountain Lion is available to help you tame the Mountain Lion beast.

Posted by Tonya Engst

  1. Drag a Lion Window From Any Edge

    In my Using Lion book, I describe (“Resize Efficiently, Lose the Lozenge”) how to resize a window by dragging any edge or corner. In version 1.2 of the book, I added a fact that I’d missed: as you drag, you can hold Shift to maintain the window’s current aspect ratio, or Option to resize from the window’s center (or both). Incredibly, however, I still managed to miss a further aspect of this feature: If you drag from an edge or the bottom of the window the wrong way, you drag the entire window to reposition it, rather than resizing it.

    By “the wrong way,” I mean perpendicular to the direction of the arrow cursor that shows you the resizing direction. So, for example, you click at one side of the window and start dragging up or down, instead of sideways as the arrow cursor indicates. Presto, you’re dragging the entire window! Once you’ve started dragging the window, so that Lion knows you want to drag rather than resize the window, you can continue dragging in any direction, and put the window where you want it.

    This is a big improvement over earlier Mac OS X systems where, for many windows, the only way to reposition the window was to drag the title bar. There were exceptions; for example, in the Finder, if you showed the status bar at the bottom of the window, you could drag the window by the status bar. But Lion extends this so you can drag any resizable window by any resizable edge.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

  2. Matt Updates You on What’s New in 10.7.2

    In his TidBITS article Meanwhile, Back at the Lion Ranch…, Matt tells you where to get the updaters for Mac OS X Lion 10.7.2, and takes you on a tour of what’s new in this release. Hint: iCloud integration isn’t the only thing.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

  3. Renaming Launchpad Folders

    The iOS Home page was obviously the inspiration for Mac OS X 10.7 Lion’s Launchpad feature, and for those who have used an iOS device, it should be very familiar. But not everyone with a Mac uses an iOS device.

    A reader, unfamiliar with iOS, wrote in recently stating that he’d figured out how to put several apps into a Launchpad folder but was stymied when it came time to rename that folder. Here are the steps:

    1. Click the folder icon, so that it opens, showing a black band across the screen, with the contents of the folder within that band and the folder’s name at the top left of the band.
    2. In the band, click the name of the folder. This selects the folder name, and makes it editable.
    3. Type the new name for the folder and press Return.
    4. Click anywhere outside the black band to close the Launchpad folder and return to the normal Launchpad view.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

  4. Automatic Termination: Lion Quits Apps Behind Your Back

    A new “under the hood” feature of Lion allows it to quit an application when it needs resources … or when it “thinks” you don’t really want it running. You can read all about Lion’s Automatic Termination feature in the TidBITS article Lion Is a Quitter, by Matt Neuberg, author of Take Control of Using Lion.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

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.