Update: some keyboard characters corrected:
Just got a new Mac for Christmas and feeling a little bewildered?
Fear not - Switch to Mac, brought to you by our colleagues over on MacFormat magazine, shows new Mac users how to move comfortably from the familiarity of Windows.
Below are 20 common tasks that PC owners perform without thinking about, and their equivalents on a Mac - just as easy!
On Windows I used to... Do a right-click
There's a myth that Macs can't right-click. Nonsense! Since before the days of Mac OS X, Macs have had the ability to use two-button mice to bring up the kind of contextual menu you're used to in Windows, and you can happily plug a two-button scrollwheel mouse into a Mac and start using it without installing any drivers. Even without that add-on mouse, it's easy to do a right-click. If you have an iMac that comes with Apple's Mighty Mouse, or add a Mighty Mouse to any other Mac, you can simply use your middle finger to click to the right of the scrollwheel. Check that side is configured for Secondary Click in the Keyboard & Mouse pane of System Preferences. The same pane configures how you right-click on notebooks, and if you have an old Mac that really only does have one button, simply hold down the Control key and do a normal click.
On Windows I used to... Use [control] for keyboard shortcuts
The Command key replaces the [control] key as the main modifier for keyboard shortcuts. [control]+[C] becomes Command+[C], and so on. Hold down Alt and type a number to get special characters. You can either use the Character Palette – enable it from the Input Menu tab of the International pane of System Preferences – or learn the easy-to-remember shortcuts. For accents, type the shortcut for the accent then the letter you want to be accented.
For example, á is Alt+[E], à is Alt +['], â is Alt +[I], ä is Alt +[U], ã is Alt +[N], and ß is Alt +[S].
On Windows I used to... Configure my PC with Control Panel
System Preferences –accessible from the Apple menu at the top left of your Mac's screen –does the same thing.
On Windows I used to... Use the Start menu
There's no direct equivalent to the Start menu when you're on a Mac. You'll find everything you're used to finding there in one of a few places. The Dock, at the bottom of your screen, holds your favourite applications, and most other stuff. Recent documents, applications and servers, system preferences, log off and shut down options are all to be found in the Apple menu. Printers and faxes are in System Preferences. And the Help and Support equivalents are in the Help menu – always the last menu in the menu bar at the top of the screen.
On Windows I used to... Defrag my hard disk
Usually, you don't have to do this on a Mac. See http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1375 for more information.
On Windows I used to... Use [control]+[alt]+[delete] to quit unresponsive programs
Command+Alt+[Esc] calls up the Force Quit window, which lets you pick an application to force to shut down. Those that your Mac knows are misbehaving are usually highlighted in red.
On Windows I used to... Use [control]+[alt]+[delete] to check processes and system resources
The Activity Monitor, found in Applications > Utilities, provides an overview of what resources are being used on your system, and gives you more granular information about which processes are doing what. If you know what you're doing, you can use standard Unix commands in Terminal (Applications > Utilities) to kill specific processes using their PID.
On Windows I used to... Tap [backspace]/[delete]
Full-sized Mac keyboards have [backspace] and [delete] keys in the places you'd expect them. On laptops, or when using the Apple Wireless Keyboard, you can do a forward-delete by holding the [fn] Function key and tapping [backspace].
On Windows I used to... Move files to the Recycle Bin
Move files to the Trash in your Dock, or tap Command+[delete].
On Windows I used to... Make shortcuts
On a Mac, shortcuts are called Aliases. You can create them simply by right-clicking on a file. You'll see the little black Alias arrow appear at your cursor, and you can now drop the Alias wherever you like.
On Windows I used to... Find stuff in Windows Explorer
Instead, use the Finder to navigate through your files and folders.
On Windows I used to... Use Properties to find out about a file
You can get bucketloads of information about a file by selecting it and either right-clicking or going to the File menu and choosing Get Info.
On Windows I used to... Rename files by clicking Rename this file in the File Tasks menu
You rename files in Mac OS X either by selecting a file then tapping [Enter], or by selecting it, pausing, then clicking on the filename. (Do the two clicks too close together, though, and the Mac will think you meant to double-click and open the file!)
On Windows I used to... Set default applications to open certain types of files
Annoyingly, there's no equivalent to Windows' Set Program Access and Defaults on the Mac. You define the default web browser and email client, confusingly, from within the preferences of the Mac's standard apps –Safari and Mail – and use the Get Info window to change default applications for other files. Select a PDF, say, right-click and pick Get Info. Then from the Open with menu, pick which application you want to use to open it, then click Change All to ensure all PDFs open with the application you defined.
On Windows I used to... Eject CDs and DVDs
Macs don't have eject buttons on their slot-loading or concealed optical disc drives. You eject CDs and DVDs either by tapping the eject key at the top right of your keyboard, by dragging them to the Trash in your Dock, or by clicking the eject button next to them in a Finder window's Sidebar.
On Windows I used to... Safely remove hardware
With the exception of external storage devices, you don't need to 'safely remove hardware' on a Mac. With external disks, just make sure you eject them – as for CDs and DVDs, except you don't use the eject key on the keyboard –before you unplug them.
On Windows I used to... Switch between running applications
[Alt]+[Tab] cycles through open apps under Windows; Command+[Tab] does the same thing on a Mac, even giving you the opportunity to hide and quit apps by tabbing over them then tapping [H] and [Q] respectively while keeping the Command key held down.
Have applications close automatically when I closed the last window
Applications on a Mac stay running even if they have no windows open. You have to quit each one manually from the application menu, or simply tap Command+[Q].
On Windows I used to... Use Windows Messenger to chat
The Mac's built-in IM client, iChat, uses a different system to Windows Messenger – the AIM protocol. If your friends use that too, you can simply launch iChat and chat away. Alternatively, you can download Microsoft Messenger for the Mac from Microsoft's site – it's also installed by default with the Mac version of Office.Or you could use the excellent, free multi-protocol IM client Adium to chat to folks regardless of whether they're using AIM, MSN, Yahoo, Jabber or many others.
On Windows I used to... Use Device Manager
Go to the Apple menu, select About this Mac, then click the More Info button. This launches the System Profiler app from your Utilities folder.
On Windows I used to... Add or Remove Programs
There's no unified way to uninstall apps on a Mac, unfortunately. You could try third-party software such as AppZapper but the most reliable method is to check the support options for each application.
First published in Switch to Mac, by MacFormat
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