Banish the Printer icon
In OS X 10.5, Apple changed the way the system handles printer icons. In OS X 10.4, the printer icon vanished as soon as a print job completed; in OS X 10.5, it sticks around in the Dock even after the job is done. If you prefer Tiger’s vanishing act, the fix is simple: when the print job completes, control-click on the printer icon in the Dock and choose Auto Quit from the pop-up menu. From now on, the printer icon will vanish from the Dock after each print job. You’ll have to repeat this process for each printer you use, but you’ll have to do it only once per printer.
Improve screenshot selections
Pressing C-shift-4 has long allowed you to take a screenshot of a selection of your screen, but in Leopard, you can fine-tune your selection by using several keyboard modifiers. While selecting a region of the screen, you can press the shift key to lock the selection area along the x- or y-axis, and press the alt key to change the resize-selection mode so it resizes from the centre instead of from a corner; you can also press alt-shift to resize from the centre along a single axis. Pressing the spacebar freezes the size of the selection area.
Shortcuts to PDFs
You can now assign keyboard shortcuts to the entries in the Print dialog box’s PDF drop-down menu (the one that appears when you click on the PDF button). So, for instance, if you often save PDFs with the Save As PDF menu option, you can activate just that feature with a keyboard shortcut (after opening the Print dialog box by pressing C-P). Open the Keyboard & Mouse preference pane, and then click on the Keyboard Shortcuts tab. Click on the plus sign (+) at the lower left to add a new shortcut, and when the new dialog box appears, leave the Application pop-up menu set to All Applications. In the Menu Title box, enter the exact text of the PDF menu command you’d like to create a shortcut for. So, for example, to create a shortcut for saving the print selection as a PDF, you’d enter Save as PDF… For the keyboard shortcut, enter whatever shortcut you’d like to use to activate the chosen menu item – we used C-alt-P. Once you’ve entered the key combo, click on the Add button. To test it out, switch to any document in any application and press C-P. When the Print dialog box appears, press your keyboard shortcut, and you should see the Save dialog box asking you where you’d like to save your PDF. You can repeat this process for any other PDF commands you’d like shortcuts for.
Copy text between Macs
Leopard’s screen sharing is great. Apple has even included a way to send items to and from a remote Mac’s Clipboard, using the Edit➝Send Clipboard and Edit➝Get Clipboard menu items. But there’s a simpler way to retrieve a snippet of text from the remote machine: you can drag and drop text to and from the remote Mac. Say you want to copy a URL from the browser on a remote machine to your local Mac. Just highlight the URL in the address bar of the remote Mac’s browser, click and hold the mouse button down for a second, and then drag the text off the edge of the screen-sharing window. After a brief delay, you’ll see the dragged text appear over your cursor on the local Mac. Now just continue dragging to the destination program (your local browser’s address bar, in this case), and then release the mouse button to drop the text. This trick works only with text.
Find out what’s on
Sometimes when you have Universal Access turned on, your Mac will do strange things – using its display to impersonate an X-ray machine, reciting the name of the currently selected item, and so on. This is usually the result of a slip of the fingers combined with a Universal Access feature being mistakenly switched on. Leopard can help you quickly identify the problem. Open the Universal Access preference pane and enable the Show Universal Access Status In The Menu Bar option. That done, you should see a Universal Access icon in the Mac’s menu bar. Click on that, and you’ll see a list of Universal Access options and the current state of each – Mouse Keys On, for example. To fix the problem, you’ll have to go back to the Universal Access preference pane.
Get AirPort details
The AirPort icon in the Leopard menu bar contains a lot of useful information, but it’s hidden by default. To reveal it, hold down the alt key when you click on the AirPort menu icon. Once the menu opens, you should see more-detailed information below the name of the network to which you’re connected: the hardware (MAC) address of the wireless station, which channel is in use, the signal strength (RSSI), and finally an indication of the data transmission rate. If there’s a negative number next to Signal Strength, don’t worry: a perfect connection would be represented by an RSSI of 0. A negative number simply means the signal is less than perfect. While you’ve got the menu open and the alt key pressed, move your mouse over one of the other networks on the list. Hover over the network name for a second, with the alt key still pressed down, and a tooltip will pop up showing the network’s signal strength and the type of security it’s using. This can be very useful info if you’re out and about somewhere with lots of wireless hotspots; at a glance, you can find the public connection with the strongest signal.