Beginner's guide to OS X

10 must-do projects

1. Make a photo book

iPhoto isn't just great for gathering and editing photos, it also offers photo printing including photo books. The new iPhoto in iLife '11 makes it easier to create a book, which is ordered from the Apple site.

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Create an album in iPhoto, click the Create button and choose Book from the menu. You will then be given binding and design options and have a chance to re-adjust layout.

2. Create a party DVD

While iDVD hasn't seen many updates recently, it still has its uses in this web-focused world. One method is to build a party DVD to provide a visual focus (as well as music) for your party.

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By creating a photo slideshow of you and your friends, then choosing songs to get your party going you'll not only have a great talking point but you won't have to worry about picking new music every five minutes.

3. Edit a family movie

iMovie is now simpler than ever to use, so you have no excuse not to edit those movie clips you've recorded over the years. In most cases you can import your videos, add titles and a soundtrack, and iMovie will do the rest.

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If you want to get more involved, you can add new transitions and sound effects. When you're done, send your video to YouTube, save it to DVD or even share it by email.

4. Write an eBook

iWork now lets you export your Pages documents in ePub format, which is used by iBooks and the Kindle. You don't have to do anything different with your document other than save it in this format for it to be viewable on supported devices.

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Pages makes it easy to combine text and images in your documents and the templates available make your work look even better.

5. Jam with a band

GarageBand is a great way to express yourself through music. There are even guitar and piano lessons built into the app to help you. If you do have a keyboard or guitar to hand or you just want to sing, try out the Magic GarageBand feature so you can jam along with a virtual band.

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You can even invite friends to join in and play their instruments, which you can then record and mix using the simple GarageBand interface.

6. Create a personalised photo greeting card

As well as photo books, iPhoto also allows you to make fantastic greeting cards using a single image or a collection of images proudly displayed on the front.

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These cards make the ultimate personalised gifts and you can even add your own text to them. Select one of your images in iPhoto, then click Create to choose a design, then lay out your images.

As with the books you can also order your cards from Apple who will print them and deliver them to you. You can order them in a number of sizes and in different amounts too, so there should be plenty to go round when it comes to Christmas and birthdays.

7. Record a podcast

The rise of the internet and apps such as GarageBand mean that you don't have to be a major network or radio station to get your voice heard anymore.

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Using the brilliant podcasting features in GarageBand, you can quickly record yourself and others and include all the elements of a professional podcast including chapters, images and links. Record your voice with your Mac's built-in mic and add effects from the GarageBand loop library.

Publishing is simple too; simply host the podcast on your iWeb website and submit it to iTunes, and you're good to go. Pick your topic and get on with your recording – you never know, you could be the next Ricky Gervais on iTunes!

8. Make budgeting less of a chore with Numbers

Are you saving up for the holidays or planning a big trip away? Now, you can easily keep track of your expenditure and what you're putting away with a budget made in iWork's Numbers.

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Not only can you use a template that lets you fill in your income and monthly costs, but you can even set an amount to save, so you hit your target in time for your planned spending.

Numbers budgets can be customised to include any additional sections that you might require, and you can also tweak the design and colours to suit your tastes.

With Smart Formulas included, every time you enter data, corresponding box values will update as well, so you can immediately see your results in front of you.

9. Create a photo slideshow

iPhoto is great for creating a slideshow with music and impressive transitions. iLife '11 introduces even more styles to the already excellent collection that can be accessed with a simple click.

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Start by selecting an album and then the Slideshow button to pick your music and transition style. You can even save a version of the slideshow as a movie if you want to use it later, add it to an iMovie project or share it via email. Give it a try with your favourite album and you're bound to get hooked.

10. Design a website

How could we fail to mention iWeb when it comes to building your own homepage? There are a bunch of great templates to choose from within the app, regardless of whether you want to create a blog or a photo gallery. You can even post podcasts and videos to your site to share with your friends.

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With a MobileMe subscription, you can host your site quickly and easily, and make changes that are published immediately. Show your friends just what your new Mac can do by building your own little corner on the web today.


First published in MacFormat Issue 230

Liked this? Then check out 40 cool OS X tips to save you time and effort

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