30 essential Mac time-saving shortcuts

Top ways to work faster with OS X, Safari, iLife and Mail

iLife timesavers

11. Speeding up iPhoto
If you have a large number of photos in your iPhoto library, it can really slow down. Rather than simply deleting photos, there are other things you can do to speed it up again, such as turning off item counts in albums (using Preferences).

The best option though is to split your photos into separate libraries, keeping the ones you frequently use in the main library. If you hold down Option when you start iPhoto, it will prompt you to choose a library to use or create a new one.

12. iPhoto's hidden keyboard shortcuts
iPhoto has many hidden keyboard shortcuts, that aren't mentioned in the menus, including M to magnify a photo.

The simplest is Option: pressing it will change the rotate function to work in the opposite direction to the way specified in your Preferences. It will also change the + button in the bottom left-hand corner so it creates Smart Albums instead of Albums.

For most people, Cmd + Option + Backspace will solve iPhoto's most annoying feature – if you have a photo selected in an album, this will delete the photo altogether rather than just from the album.

13. Organise your photos
In iPhoto you can add the same photos to multiple albums and then organise them.

Use Folders (File > New Folder) to collect your albums into groups, and add keywords using the Keywords panel (Window > Show Keywords) to every photo in the folder, in one step.

SMART albums

SMART ALBUMS: Adding keywords allows iPhoto to create folders of similar content on the fly

Then create Smart Albums (File > New Smart Albums) based on combinations of keywords and other rules to group-related photos.

14. Save resources in GarageBand
Software instrument loops are a combination of a software instrument and effects and are customisable. However, they have higher CPU requirements than real instrument loops, which play pre-recorded audio, so will slow down GarageBand.

If you want to use more software instrument loops, turn them into real loops by Option-dragging the software instrument loop from the loop browser into the timeline.

15. Lock GarageBand tracks
When you lock a track, GarageBand automatically renders that track to your hard drive, freeing up CPU power. When you're happy with how your tracks sound, lock as many tracks as you like by clicking the lock icon in each track. Then click the Play button to render your locked tracks to your hard disk.

Locked tracks sound identical to unlocked ones, and you can still adjust the volume at any time. If you need to do further editing, such as adjusting effects, changing notes and moving regions, simply unlock the track by clicking the lock icon, make your adjustments and then relock them.

16. Turn on advanced tools
In iMovie, go to Preferences and click the box next to Show Advanced Tools to give yourself faster editing. On the toolbar an extra Keyword button appears, which enables you to tag and filter using keywords, while the Mark as Favourite, Unmark and Reject buttons become powerful tool buttons.


ADVANCED TOOLS: You can use Picture-in-Picture editing when you turn on advanced tools

This means you can select multiple clips without having to select each one and then click the tools every time. Also, if you drag a video selection from the Event library to a clip in the Project window you get more options, such as the ability to do Picture-in-Picture.

17. Faster iMovie exports
Exporting clips from an iMovie project and importing them into another application need not be a two-step process. Provided it's been recorded in a compatible format, you can quickly export video and audio clips to other applications by simply dragging and dropping them from the iMovie clips pane, timeline or clip viewer directly onto iDVD drop zones, QuickTime (or other applications), Finder or the Desktop.

If you can't see both applications on your screen, use Exposé to switch between iMovie and your target application. If you want to resize your movie for specific purposes, however, you're still better off rendering it first.

18. Use smart delete in iDVD
In iDVD's Map view you can rearrange your project by dragging and dropping the icons, but it can also act as a big timesaver by giving you the chance to batch edit. Simply select multiple items then apply a change for all the elements to be altered.

If you want to delete an entire section or menu within your DVD project, iDVD will automatically reconnect the remaining assets if you use Smart Delete. Select the menu or section that you'd like to delete, Ctrl-click the selection to display a contextual menu, then choose Smart Delete from that menu.

19. Double-click clip to view Inspector
iMovie '09 gathers its adjustment controls together in a new Inspector dialog box. You can select a clip and click the i icon in the toolbar, or choose an option from the new cog icon that appears on every clip, but it's easier to simply double-click the clip to bring up the Inspector.

iMovie's adjustment controls can also be invoked from the keyboard by pressing the following letters (with no modifier key): I for clip adjustments; V for video adjustments; A for audio adjustments; and C for cropping, Ken Burns and rotation adjustments.

20. Try out iTweak
If your iWeb site is lacking in some way and the HTML fragment widget isn't enough for you, iTweak should add what you need with little effort.

It can: add a favicon (the symbol next to the URL in the address bar) via drag and drop; integrate a Google Search bar into your site; add Google Analytics, Statcounter and any other hit counter in the world; embed the Haloscan Commenting system; add a PHP contact form; automatically copy files from one location to another; and search and replace the HTML that iWeb publishes.