Make the most of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion!

Take Control of
Using Mountain Lion

Join Mac expert Matt Neuburg as you make the most of Mountain Lion’s major new features, including Notifications, Documents in the Cloud, and improved Auto Save/Versions. Plus, learn to customize Mountain Lion and get help with finding files, launching apps, managing windows, handling user accounts, and more.

This product has been discontinued.

Learn to function effectively with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, whether you want to embrace recently added features (such as Notifications, Launchpad, gestures, and Mission Control) or want to strike a balance between old and new options. Most importantly, you’ll get a thorough grounding in Mountain Lion’s new modern document model that gives you three ways to save documents: the old way, the new way, or the new way with iCloud.

Written by Mac expert and former professor Matt Neuburg, this ebook also discusses how you can tweak Mountain Lion to best meet your needs—with details on customizing the menu bar, Finder windows, Dock, Launchpad—and much more.

You’ll become comfortable with these important Mountain Lion features:

  • Notifications: Learn how to view, organize, and control your notifications—so that they don’t control you!
  • Gatekeeper: Understand the new Gatekeeper security system, and how you can bypass it when necessary.
  • Resume: Enjoy the Resume feature that re-opens applications and windows when you restart your Mac or relaunch a program. Or learn how to shut it off.
  • Auto Save: Some applications don’t have Save commands in Mountain Lion! Learn how to save if you need to, and what to do if OS X saves something you don’t want.
  • iCloud: Read what Matt thinks is interesting about iCloud, plus come to a full understanding of how to work with Documents in the Cloud in OS X—including how to handle the new Open dialog (for full details about iCloud, read Take Control of iCloud).
  • Window management: Get help with resizing your windows, find out about full-screen mode, and go way beyond the basics with Mission Control and desktop spaces.
  • Gestures: If you have a trackpad or Magic Mouse, get ready for more gestures in Mountain Lion!

You’ll learn how handle these core customizations:

  • Menu bar: Enable (or disable) menu icons at the right side of the menu bar, and locate the elusive checkbox for making the menu bar look solid.
  • Finder windows: Set up the default Finder window in a smart way that suits your needs.
  • Dock: Take control of your Dock’s appearance, location, and contents.
  • Launchpad: Move and remove items in Launchpad—a close cousin to the iOS Home screen—and make folders that contain multiple apps.
  • Screen: Calibrate your screen so it looks good to you, and learn how to make choppy text look smoother.
  • Desktop: Set which elements appear on the Desktop, and pick a custom background image.

Plus you’ll find the answers to these customization-related questions:

  • How do I turn off notification banners and alerts, for all my applications, all at once?
  • Where did my scrollbars go?
  • How do I make the text in my Finder window sidebar larger?
  • How do I change the size of my mouse pointer icon?
  • How do I create a custom keyboard shortcut for a menu item?

Chockablock with information, the ebook also teaches you how to:

  • Activate the new Voice Dictation feature.
  • Issue the nifty keyboard shortcut for the handy Accessibility Options dialog.
  • Find missing or deeply buried files quickly.
  • Enter accented characters—or type in a different language!
  • Install, delete, and organize fonts.
  • Let your fingers do the walking by choosing menu items with the keyboard.
  • Type a shortcut to spring open a closed folder while dragging a file onto it.
  • Set up a new user account—and limit its powers.
  • Zoom with picture-in-a-picture.
  • Find your hidden user Library—and keep it found.
  • …and much more!
What’s New in Version 1.2

Several changes near the beginning of the Start Saving chapter have corrected information (because the existing explanation was incomplete) or expanded advice (because Apple made an important change in Mountain Lion 10.8.2). In particular, read the sidebar Is Quitting the Same as Closing? and the emphasized text “What happens to the original document?”.

Other modifications that might interest you are these:

  • Directions for another way to toggle whether notification alerts and banners appear: Option-click the Notification Center icon at the far right of the menu bar. (See Set Up Notifications, just above the figure.)
  • Adjustments in the last few paragraphs of Get Ready for Resume, including new emphasized text with advice about unsticking an application that won’t launch because of a conflict between what it wants to do and what Resume wants it to do.
  • More detailed information about how to dictate: in particular, I’ve added a link to Apple’s recently released list of dictation commands (look near the end of Talk to Type).
  • A technique for permanently displaying the Save As command on the File menu of a modern document model application (see the last set of steps in Consider Application Shortcuts).
  • Because DejaMenu is no longer readily available, the sidebar An Alternative Solution now recommends MenuPop. MenuPop can “pop” up the commands on the menu bar at the pointer’s location, so it’s especially helpful if you have a big monitor—or more than one monitor.
  • A pointer to Display Menu, a free utility that returns the function of the traditional Displays status menu to Mountain Lion (read the last paragraph in Mirror Video).

What’s New in This Edition

Take Control of Using Mountain Lion is the sixth edition of an ebook I originally wrote in 2003, then called Take Control of Customizing Panther. Fast-forward to 2012, and although Take Control of Using Mountain 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 important Know What’s New chapter, a few pages ahead; it summarizes new goodies, methods of working, and other changes in 10.8 Mountain Lion, and helps you locate the related new info in this book.

You might be familiar with Lion, in which case Mountain Lion will appear to you as a readily usable minor update, or you might be a Leopard or Snow Leopard user making the big jump past Lion to Mountain Lion, which means you need to know what’s new in both Lion and Mountain Lion. For this reason, I’ve structured this ebook similarly to the previous edition, Take Control of Using Lion, and I’ve called out features that are new either in Lion or in Mountain Lion.

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. You certainly don’t need Take Control of Upgrading to Mountain Lion to use this book, and if you’ve already been using Mountain Lion for a while you likely don’t need it at all. However, many people do buy these two books together.

  • Read Me First
  • Introduction
  • Mountain Lion Quick Start
  • Know What’s New
  • Straighten Out Your System Preferences
  • Dominate the Dock
  • Guard the Gates
  • Configure the Cloud
  • Notice Notifications
  • Wash Your Windows
  • Handle the Hierarchy
  • Stop Saving
  • Master the Mouse, Control the Keyboard
  • Fix Your Fonts
  • Tackle Your Text
  • Ease Your Eyeballs
  • Customize Status Menus
  • Perform Miscellaneous Configurations
  • Keep Using Mountain Lion
  • About This Book
  • October 8, 2013 -- Honestly, we aren't sure of our update plans. For a while, we hoped that Matt would create an update, as he has for every version of Mac OS X since 10.4 Tiger. However, Matt is engrossed in writing a book about programming in iOS right now, so although he is not opposed to the idea of creating an update, it appears that he is unlikely to start one in the near term. And, when talking to Matt, we've been brainstorming ideas for crafting a different sort of ebook about using Apple's operating system, because some of the material that Matt has been covering for the past decade in his various using, customizing, and exploring titles seems like it could use freshening… if you've read a few of his ebooks, surely you don't want to read what is largely the same content again, even if we have meticulously updated it to describe Apple's latest.

    Fortunately, you can learn about Mavericks from other Take Control titles. For example, we are excited about marking Apple's debut of iBooks on the Mac with Take Control of iBooks. And, Joe is going to pay extra special attention to his chapter about what to do after you install Mavericks in Take Control of Upgrading to Mavericks.

    And, perhaps we'll end up with an ebook that feels like an update to this one. Perhaps not. If you'd really like to see an update to this ebook, or have additional ideas about what an update might be like, please get in touch.