Mac 101: Meet the Finder

By Christopher Breen, Macworld |  Operating Systems, Mac OS

Battery Found on laptops only, the battery icon tells you if your battery is being charged (a lightning bolt icon within the battery tells you that it is, and a plug icon means that its fully charged and plugged into an active power outlet) and, if it's not plugged into a power outlet, approximately how much battery power is left. Click on this icon to get a more accurate battery status.

Day and time Need to check the time? Glance up at this item. By default youll see both the day and time. If youd like to know the date, click on the time and the date will appear in the resulting menu.

Spotlight I mentioned earlier that there are far easier ways to find files than digging down through a folder hierarchy. Spotlight is one of them. Click on the magnifying-glass icon and you can enter the nameor a portion of the nameof an item youd like to find. A list of results will appear. Click on the one you want, and that item opens. If youve chosen a file, it will open in the application associated with it. If its an application, that application will launch. Spotlight can be used for many more things, and, as youve probably guessed, Ill devote a column to it in the not-too-distant future.

Notifications With Mountain Lion, Apple has corralled many of the alerts you receive into a single location. Click on the Notifications menu, and youll see a list of notifications that youve received. These can include things like instant-message and calendar alerts, received Mail messages, Twitter messages that mention you, and Game Center invitations.

The desktop

That vast empty area in the middle of the Macs display is known as the desktop. Like a real desks top, youre welcome to place items on this desktop, though Apple encourages you to place your files in more appropriate placesyour pictures in a Pictures folder and documents in a Documents folder, for example, or on Apple's online syncing and storage service, iCloud.

As youre just starting out, Ill plant this seed: Place files where they belong rather than dumping them on the desktop. (And yes, well talk about file management eventually.) Not only is it difficult to find files when there are hundreds scattered across your screen, but overloading the desktop with certain kinds of files can actually slow down your Mac.

The Dock

By default, at the bottom of the Macs display you see a long bar populated with a collection of icons. This is the Dock. By default the Dock holds these applications: Finder, Launchpad, Mission Control, Safari, Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Notes, Messages, FaceTime, Photo Booth, iPhoto, iTunes, App Store, and System Preferences.


Originally published on Macworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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