Mac Os X For Beginners

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Written by Mårten Björk

This guide will help you become familiar with Mac OS X — the operating system of every Mac. In just a few, short steps, this article will teach you everything you need to know to get started with your Mac.

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Mac OS X — The Basics

Mac OS X is the operating system of your Mac. It’s the basic system that enables your Mac to work. All the files, folders and programs are handled by Mac OS X as well as internet connectivity, battery consumption and more.

As a Mac user, you will encounter Mac OS X in many different forms:

  • When viewing the desktop
  • When you’re browsing through files
  • Through the Mac’s search function (called “Spotlight”)
  • Through the application bar (called “The Dock”)
  • As the system that runs your applications

…and much more. Mac OS X is always there in the background, making sure your Mac runs smoothly. By learning more about Mac OS X, you will become a more efficient and confident Mac user. Let’s get started!

Mac OS X — An Overview

The home of your Mac is the desktop. Think of it as a physical desktop – a place where you may temporarily spread out your work while performing a task.

For example, you may put an image from the internet on the desktop, make some modifications, and then drag it into an email. Just remember, while the desktop is a great workspace it not a good place to store files long-term since it quickly gets messy — again, just like an actual desktop.

Let’s have a look at the other things you see in when you first turn on your Mac.

The Dock

In the bottom of your screen, you should see “the Dock” — a bar with convenient shortcuts to your favorite applications. If you don’t see it by default, try moving your cursor to the bottom of the screen and it should pop right up.

The icons in the Dock are just shortcuts. You can add or remove icons from the Dock without affecting the actual applications.

To add an application shortcut to the dock, you can use Launchpad, which is a complete overview of all your applications. You can probably find Launchpad in the left part of your Dock. Click Launchpad to view all your applications, then drag any icon into the dock to create a new shortcut.

Another way to add shortcuts to the Dock is to find the Application file (in the Applications folder) and drag it to the Dock. This requires some familiarity with browsing through files.

To remove an item from the dock, just drag it out and hold it over the desktop. After a second or so, a “remove” label shows up. Release the icon and the application shortcut is removed from the Dock.


At the top of the screen you will see some menus. These menus change depending on what application you are using at the moment.

If there is ever anything you want to do in a certain application, try to find it in these menus.

Menu extras

Look at the top of your screen. To the right of the menus you are most likely to see a few symbols.

These little icons are mostly used to quickly edit your Mac’s settings. Rather than having to open System Preferences, you can change the settings using Menu extras.

To change what Menu extras are visible, open System preferences. Click a preference pane and look for the checkbox that lets you choose if you want the specific Menu extra to be visible or not.


Mac Os X For Beginners Keyboard

Mac OS X offers a really nice way to switch between the different user accounts on the Mac. Near the upper right corner of your screen you will find your name. Click it and a list of all the users on the computer will appear.

Now, just click another user in order to log in to his/hers account (password may of course be required).


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If you look at the upper right corner of your screen, you will see a small magnifying glass. This is Mac OS X’s search function. It is called Spotlight. To read more about it, click here.


Mac OS X has a great thing called Dashboard where you can run mini-applications called widgets. Read the article about it, Dashboard is awesome.

We have a lot of articles that guide how to use Mac OS X, but there are not many articles for beginners to use this operating system. - We have a lot of articles that guide how to use Mac OS X, but there are not many articles for beginners to use this operating system . If you are looking for some small tweaks on your Mac, the 10 tips in this article will meet some of your curiosity. It is extremely useful but can only help you tweak things at a basic level via Terminal.

Press Tab to move through all fields

You may find that when using the Tab key to move through the next field of a web page or application, it often ignores some items. Items omitted may be dropdown lists, but sometimes they are some other components. To fix this, go to System Preferences >Keyboard . At the bottom of the window, you find 2 select buttons, in which Text boxes and lists only are selected. Select the All controls option and you'll never encounter this problem again.

See more options hidden on the menu bar

The menu bar is one of the best places to quickly access an application and if you want more options, just hold down the Option key and click on an icon . It will display more information about the application. Hold down the Option key and click on the battery icon to consider how to use the battery.

See a list of suggestions for correcting spelling errors automatically

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If you work regularly with the world's main language - English - you should see that the Spelling and grammar check feature is very important. On a Mac, to check for spelling as well as to search for the correct word, simply press F5 as soon as you type the word (may be true or false), a list of suggestions will display words that correspond to the word. you just typed.

View the path of the file or directory

If you need to know the actual path of a file or directory, simply drag and drop the file into the Terminal window and it will give you the absolute path of the file.

See the full directory path in Finder

Mac Os X For Beginners

If you've just switched from Windows to Mac, you'll find that it's impossible to see the directory path when opening. Since it is not possible to see the exact path of the file or folder, the possibility that you often forget the file's location is entirely possible. This simple Terminal command places the file and directory paths on the title of the Finder window.

Mac Os Tutorials For Beginners

defaults write _FXShowPosixPathInTitle -bool YES

killall Finder

Move horizontal with the mouse scroll button

Holding the Shift key while scrolling the mouse will move the horizontal scroll bar on any web page or application.

Zoom in icons in Dock when you hover over

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Each application will appear an icon in the Dock and if there are a lot of applications running, Dock icons become small and sometimes you struggle to choose the application you need. To make the application navigation easier, hold down Control + Shift + move the mouse , the application icons will zoom in to give you a better view.

Shortcuts to view hidden files

There are a few tips and tricks involved in viewing hidden files on the system and if you don't want to spend time tinkering with the Terminal , just hold down Command + Shift +. in the File Open dialog box, all hidden files will 'show up'.

Remove unnecessary items on the context menu

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You do not always need to use enough items on the operating system context menu. There are a number of items you never use or even don't know about its existence in the menu. Get rid of them so you don't feel entangled when using them:

Go to System Preferences >Keyboard , in the Keyboard Shortcuts tab, select Services . Uncheck the options that you do not want to appear in the context menu.

If you want to start being a professional Mac user, take the time to edit some of the tips above, it will be a step forward for you to love this operating system more. Good luck!