A Definitive Usage Guide For Mac Users

Many people think that the commands on a mac vary greatly from a windows pc. However, this is not always the case. Learn usage with this guide for mac users.

Apple offers a computer for just about any scenario. The Mac mini is a budget-friendly option for college students while the Mac Pro is one of the top options for creative pros.

If you’re new to the Mac ecosystem, you’re in for a long list of pleasant surprises. Check out this guide for Mac users to learn how to get the most out of your Apple experience.

System Preferences

System preferences allow you to customize the operating system on your Mac. This is the menu you use when you first set up your computer and need things like parental controls in place.

The system preferences menu includes shortcuts to important tasks like printer setup, security & privacy, and software updates.

Expect this menu to change with software updates as Apple adds or removes certain features. But this is where you go to control your overall experience on the computer.

Choose to add or remove widgets from the desktop or mission control. For example, you can customize notifications to alert you of new calls without interrupting what you’re doing on the computer. Choose from a banner to a full alert inclusive of a description of the notification. This is especially helpful when receiving texts through iMessage.

You might not want to know the contents of the text message right away to avoid getting distracted at work so you can adjust it to a banner to stay focused.

Access the system preferences menu by clicking the Apple icon in the top left corner or through your shortcut toolbar.

Customize Finder

One of the biggest similarities between PC and Mac is the way Finder resembles Windows. Finder is accessed through the shortcut toolbar at the bottom of your home screen.

This blue smiley face icon opens up a menu of programs organized by category. On the left-hand menu are the destinations where each file is located.

On the right are the documents, applications, or other media stored in that destination. For example, if you have Dropbox downloaded to your desktop, it will appear as a destination on the left-hand column of the Finder window. Click ‘Dropbox’ to open up folders from your Dropbox account. The Finder window is customizable allowing you to choose which destinations appear as ‘Favorites’ on the menu.

To change which items appear in your sidebar, click ‘Finder’ then ‘Preferences’ to add and remove the destinations that make the most sense for your browsing needs.

There are color-coding options available to help keep documents and folders organized within the Finder window. Instead of the ‘Programs’ menu, Finder organizes programs you download to the ‘Applications’ menu.

This is the menu where Apple’s native software is located if it isn’t already pinned to the shortcut menu.

How to Use Safari

Internet Explorer is to Windows what Safari is to Mac. Apple uses Safari as its default web browser across devices.

With the web address or URL, you can navigate the world wide web using Safari. Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Click ‘Safari’ from the Dock or the Finder menu.
  2. Click the blank grey address bar at the top center of the window.
  3. Type in the website address of the destination and click return.

The toolbar in Safari can also be used as a search bar. When you enter a phrase or keywords, Google search results appear. Safari allows you to add browser extensions called plug-ins. These plug-ins are helpful for tasks like blocking ads or enhancing one of your apps.

Not every extension is available for free. You might need to first pay for an app or service to gain access.

Consider downloading extensions to keep you updated on current news, help with productivity or compare online prices. Check available extensions through the app store by clicking ‘Safari’ in the top left corner of the browser window.

Click ‘Safari Extensions’ and a menu will appear featuring both paid and free extensions for your web browser. Once downloaded, these tiny icons will appear at the left and right of your search toolbar.

You need a payment method set up in your iCloud account before you can download paid extensions.

Dock: The Shortcut Toolbar

The Dock is the shortcut toolbar located at the bottom of your home screen on a Mac. This is where all your frequently used programs are located.

When you first set up your computer, this list might contain random programs native to Apple. But once you begin downloading new apps and software, you can pin them to the dock menu for easy access.

The dock can also store files you are currently working on. For example, if you are writing a report and need quick access to it every day, drag it from its folder down into the dock and a shortcut is instantly created.

Keep in mind that the more you add to the dock, the smaller the icons become. You can adjust the size of dock icons or choose to hide it using the system preferences menu.

Navigating the Keyboard

Keyboard shortcuts make the experience on a Mac. For example, Command + F opens a search window that scans the web page or documents you currently have open for keywords or phrases.

The popular control + alt + delete function in Windows has a Mac equivalent. When you need to end a program right away, use Force Quit using this guide

On a Mac, the Command button is necessary to perform common tasks using keyboard shortcuts. Macs include two Command keys on either side of the space bar to give you easy access to popular commands.

Beginner’s Guide for Mac Users

This brief guide for Mac users is only a starting point for getting to know an Apple computer. There are many hidden shortcuts to tasks including how to customize software that you will learn over time.

The simple Mac operating system makes it easy to use trial and error as you explore your new machine. For more information and tech tips, visit our blog for updates.