Bruce Lawson’s personal site

Help me use this Mac!

In my quest to nuke the scrollbar that Safari apparently puts on my blog, I’ve got hold of a Mac Mini. The trouble is, I can’t use it! I don’t know how to right click a file and choose “open with Opera”, then “open with Notepad (or whatever it is)”. Where is the text editor? I don’t know how to rename things. I don’t know the keyboard shortcuts for copy, paste, cut, refresh. I feel as vulnerable as a little kitten that can’t find its mummy. (Aaah…)

Anyone recommend a “how to use a Mac for PC people” resource (preferably online)? Also: what’s really cool in the Mac Mini that will help me learn to love it?

16 Responses to “ Help me use this Mac! ”

Comment by -@^@-

right-click: control-click
rename: select file and press return
copy, paste, cut, etc.: generally the shortcut keys are the same, but the modifier key is the Apple key (between alt and the space bar)

What isn’t cool in the Mac Mini should be the question… 😉

Comment by Tomas Caspers

what’s really cool in the Mac Mini that will help me learn to love it?

The quietness. Unless you do some really heavy Photoshopping, you won’t hear nuttin’. Actually, the same goes for all current Macs, as I was reminded during a meeting last week. I was sitting there with my PowerBook, all quiet, and next to me was a guy with a Windows Laptop. You could have literally blow-dried your hair with it. And the only thing the poor guy did was open his Notes client. Needless to say that it was blowing in my direction.

Comment by Francis

Download Textwranger to use as a good text editor for the Mac. It’s free. Oh, and any 2 button mouse should just plug and play with a Mac so you can use right click as normal and everything will be right with the world.

To save more swearing in, oh, maybe 2 hours, when you’re editing your CSS, you get # by pressing Alt+3. It’s not marked on the keyboard at all. Handy.

Comment by Daniel Walker

Learning to use OS X:
Lots of windows open? Press F9
Want to copy something? Highlight, press Apple-V
Want to paste sommat? Press Apple-C
Apple key is used instead of ctl in most cases – as in Applekey-N fdor a new instance of an application (e.g. new browser window), or Applekey-Z for undo.

Setting things like “This always opens with x” is usually set by Right-Click (You /did/ put a USB scrollwheel mouse in the thing, right, Bruce?) and selecting “Open with” and unselecting “Recommended applications” from the dropdown.
The Text editor is in /Applications/utilities/. I recommend you get a public license copy of subethaedit ( and reassign most of your common text-editing task to that, instead.
I’d recommend NeoOffice/J as a desktop office package, if “free as in beer” floats your boat.

How to love a Mac Mini? Dunno, I have a Powerbook. Try on-the-fly defragmentation, drag-and-drop-installation, or – failing that – just download a cop y of Oolite and relive those BBC Model B Micro days.

Seriuously, though, mate – you need any assistance: drop us an email. I may be a crank, but I’m a useful crank 😉

Comment by Daniel Walker

By the way, the sideways scrollbar is caused by the sodding bunny with the pancack on his head!

Comment by Joe Clark

Drag your file onto Opera. Click the filename to edit it (obviously). Cut/copy/paste keystrokes you know from Windows came from the Mac (check Windows 3.1; they were different) and merely use the Command key. TextEdit is the default Macintosh text editor, which nobody in their right mind uses. Use a two-button mouse to right-click; Ctrl-click always works as a substitute. Stop expecting a Macintosh to do what and behave exactly as Windows does.

Comment by Shez

Brucey – I’ve used Macs for years. There are some minor differences between keystrokes and commands to a Windows machine, but you’ll find your way round soon enough and by the looks of all these entries, you’ll have enough help. But dig the eye candy man! Simplicity and beauty all in one. Makes using XP a rather depressing experience at times.

Comment by John D

What Daniel Walker said, except that Copy is Apple-C and Paste is Apple-V. C is for Copy, V is for drive that thing down in there like a nail…

Comment by Daniel Walker

Indeed, I got me V’s and C’s the wrong way around. Not forgetting Apple-X for “cut”. This is a combination of keys that has been copoed by just about every one, except Bill Joy and Richard Stallman, but which (in a curiously circular path back to the original topic) was first seen implemented on the Apple Lisa.

To bring in an obligatory accessibility angle to this posting, the use of these three keays is a perfect illustration of the “everyone in the world uses an English keyboard with a Latin 1 character set on it” mentality, which has bedeviled the computer world, ever since (on an English keyboard, X, C and V all lie in a neat little line, at the lefthand end of row three, you see).

Comment by JB

Try plugging a PC mouse in and use it as normal. I use a pc mouse on my Imac G5 and it right clicks etc

Comment by olivia

all – i never really read these but after nearly thrwoing my new mac PC through the window (due to finding it really hard) your advice to Bruce has helped me. I am going to give it another go! Thanks so much everyone! 🙂

Comment by Sian McCarhty

I Have A Mac PowerBook, And Today, The Scroll Bars On WebPages Have Disappeared And The Arrow Keys Won’t Scrool Up Nor Down Either. Any Advice?

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