Macworld Masterclass: Lion's new apps

Make the most of the programs that come with Lion

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  • Lion Desktop new Intro
  • lionapps01 Step 1: Mail accounts
  • lionapps02 Step 2: Other services
  • lionapps03 Step 3: Better-looking Mail
  • lionapps04 Step 4: Enhanced search
  • lionapps05 Step 5: Chattier iChat
  • lionapps06 Step 6: Finding friends
  • lionapps07 Step 7: Rapt attention
  • lionapps08 Step 8: FaceTime
  • lionapps09 Step 9: Office preview
  • lionapps10 Step 10: PDF signatures
  • lionapps11 Step 11: Copying images
  • lionapps12 Step 12: Go on Safari
  • lionapps13 Step 13: Better downloads
  • lionapps14 Step 14: Mail in Safari
  • lionapps15 Step 15: Going social
  • More stories
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Intro

Lion is one of the most comprehensive upgrades to OS X we’ve seen for a long time. That applies to the programs it ships with as well as the wider operating system. There have been universal changes to the way applications function, such as new swipe and touch behaviours, the streamlined windows, beefed-up search and full-screen mode. But there are also other ways our favourite Apple programs have become better. From Mail’s smarter account configuration to Preview’s PDF tools, the applications that ship with OS X are now more powerful and better value.

We look at the changes to your favourite Mac apps and uncover some of the new functions and features you may have missed while gasping at Launchpad or cooing at Mission Control.

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Next Prev Lion Desktop new

Lion is one of the most comprehensive upgrades to OS X we’ve seen for a long time. That applies to the programs it ships with as well as the wider operating system. There have been universal changes to the way applications function, such as new swipe and touch behaviours, the streamlined windows, beefed-up search and full-screen mode. But there are also other ways our favourite Apple programs have become better. From Mail’s smarter account configuration to Preview’s PDF tools, the applications that ship with OS X are now more powerful and better value.

We look at the changes to your favourite Mac apps and uncover some of the new functions and features you may have missed while gasping at Launchpad or cooing at Mission Control.

 

Step 2 of 16: Step 1: Mail accounts

Adding Mail accounts is easier in Lion. Go to File > Add Account. Enter your name, email address and password. Mail has a good guess at the service you’re using and fills in the details for you. Because the connection is via IMAP, you don’t have to worry about your Mac deleting mail from the server.

 

Step 3 of 16: Step 2: Other services

If the mail service you’re using is supported, Mail will also attempt to import your calendar and chat accounts from the service too. iChat 6 supports Google Talk, Windows Messenger, Yahoo and AOL. Be prepared for a fairly long wait the first time your account connects to download mail.

 

Step 4 of 16: Step 3: Better-looking Mail

Lion’s version of Mail has an overhauled interface, in part to improve the layout in full-screen mode, influenced by the iPad version. Like all full-screen apps, having Mail open as a screen in Mission Control makes using it much easier. You get a quick preview of content in the list of messages too.

 

Step 5 of 16: Step 4: Enhanced search

Lion’s search tools are embedded into Mail. This enables you to use search ‘tokens’ to build queries, save and reuse them. For example, if you start typing a name, a drop- down enables you to select which mail field to search. You can add further keyword modifiers easily and select where Mail should look.

 

Step 6 of 16: Step 5: Chattier iChat

iChat 6 now has support for Yahoo Messenger. The integration is complete: you see your Yahoo buddies’ avatars, availability and current chat status from iChat. Another innovation is that all your friends appear in one iChat list, so you don’t have to switch between services.

 

Step 7 of 16: Step 6: Finding friends

If you press Cmd-F, or choose Edit > Find, you can filter your buddy list by typing all or part of the name of the person you’re looking to chat with. You don’t need to worry about multiple entries. iChat combines friends with multiple contact methods into one buddy entry for ease of talking.

 

Step 8 of 16: Step 7: Rapt attention

If you need to concentrate on one conversation, you can drag a user out to a window of their own. Those windows don’t need to be orphans either and you can merge multiple chat windows together by dragging and dropping them on top of each other.

 

Step 9 of 16: Step 8: FaceTime

FaceTime was available for Snow Leopard not too long before the upgrade to Lion, so the major change to report is that the Lion version has full-screen mode. You now have a choice of video conferencing apps on OS X – with iChat still supporting video chat across multiple protocols.

 

Step 10 of 16: Step 9: Office preview

If you don’t have Microsoft Office on your machine, Preview can now allow you to read, search through, and print out most Office documents. The same goes for Apple’s iWork format files too. Though, with component prices low in the Mac App Store, there’s little excuse not to own the iWork suite.

 

Step 11 of 16: Step 10: PDF signatures

Increasingly, we’re asked to electronically sign documents and the format that is best known for supporting digital signatures is Adobe PDF. So, it’s a good job that Preview supports the feature now. Write your signature on paper, capture it with your webcam and Preview does the rest.

 

Step 12 of 16: Step 11: Copying images

A perennial problem with PDFs is extracting images from them. Not with the new Preview. When you select and copy content, then paste into another document, Preview copies the images to your clipboard too. Ideal for extracting diagrams and photos – or for recreating new documents from PDFs.

 

Step 13 of 16: Step 12: Go on Safari

Apple’s web browser is perhaps the recipient of the biggest overhaul for Lion. Many of the features bring it into line with the iPad version, including tap or pinch to zoom into page elements, and swiping to navigate through websites. Swipe left to go to the next page and right to return to where you started.

 

Step 14 of 16: Step 13: Better downloads

Downloads are much easier to track in the new Safari. An arrow pops up, enabling you to see how long they’ve got. Click the arrow to see how many downloads you have on the go and even locte them in the Finder. Best of all, you can drag items from the download list to any location in the Finder.

 

Step 15 of 16: Step 14: Mail in Safari

When you sign into a supported service in Safari such as Google, AOL or Yahoo, the browser now asks if you want to set up an account in Apple Mail, iChat, iCal and your Address Book. That’s smart behaviour for you. Of course, if you choose not to, you can ask Safari not to bother you about it again.

 

Step 16 of 16: Step 15: Going social

Your Address Book now hooks up your friends’ details with social networking profiles. Click and hold a friend’s email address to bring up social media options. Try the same action with a phone number and Address Book will offer to start a call using FaceTime.

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