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Opening legacy docs in MS Word Apps
Word 2011 now opens oldest Word document formats.

I've been using Word for the Mac since v1.0, so I have a lot of older documents created in early versions. At some point I discovered that Word (I forget which version) dropped support for the earliest document formats -- you could retrieve the text, but that was it. I complained to Microsoft and was basically told 'tough patooties.'

So it was a very pleasant surprise when I went to open an early document, resigned to the prospect of extracting the text (the file was so old it had even lost its type and creator codes and looked like a Unix file to the Finder; I had to choose 'Open any file' to select it) and Word opened it with all formatting, styles etc. completely intact!

Okay, so maybe this doesn't qualify as a hint, but it is sure nice to know.

[crarko adds: I don't have any ancient Word documents left to try this out with, but a hint with 'tough patooties' in it seems like the perfect way to start the new year.]
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Export of contacts from Address Book to Numbers Apps
Turns out there is a super easy way to export contact info from Address Book to a spreadsheet, if you have Numbers (from iWork).
  • Use Address Book to select the individual contacts, or select a complete group.
  • Drag the contacts/group to an open sheet in Numbers, a new table will be created with all your contacts.
By default only a few details are shown (last+first name, phone, e-mail address). All the other info is available as well, but hidden. Feel free to hide/unhide the columns you are interested in.

Original source: posted by user Celticfaere.

[crarko adds: Works just great. This didn't work with Excel 2011, which is not too surprising, as the underlying data model is different.]
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A reason that iTunes polls for a password each launch Apps
If you were one of those (as I was) who followed the hint regarding session-only cookies in Safari, then you are possibly still being prompted for your password in iTunes, at least in Lion.

I discovered, after trying every hint I could find without success, that if the user permissions for ~/Library/Cookies/ is still set to read only for the user, then you will still be prompted for your password the first time you activate iTunes after a login.

The file, ~/Library/Cookies/Cookies.binarycookies is not being created/updated.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one. It seems clear if a user doesn't have write access to a directory in their own Library it could cause problems like this. If somebody who has used the previous hint mentioned and is still on 10.5 or 10.6 can comment on whether they are affected by this, it would be appreciated.]
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Forward Mail attachment only Apps
When an attachment's icon is highlighted in the message section of Mail, choosing Forward creates a message with the attachment as its only content.

When I needed to send someone just the file I got by mail, I used to remove the text body of an email message by hand and add some nice text. Recently, after having opened a file I went back to Mail's main window where the attachment was still selected. I hit Command+Shift+F and the new message contained only the Subject line, a short 'start of new message' text and the attachment.

[crarko adds: It's been generally true in Mail that selected text in a message is all that would be included in a reply/forwarding of that message. This special case of that rule is perhaps worth noting, given its usefulness and the fact that not everyone may be aware of it.]
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Preview recent documents in Preview.app Apps
Just discovered this by accident. While in Preview.app when you when you slide three fingers down on your track pad you can get a preview of the top most recent documents opened in a Cover Flow-like menu along the bottom go the screen.

[crarko adds: This is another of those things I wasn't able to reproduce with the Magic Trackpad, so I don't now if this is the result of some setting or perhaps a third-party utility I don't have. Try and see if you can make this work, and please post your results in the comments if you do.]
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Using Get Info's Preview in the Finder to open the item Apps
Do you have a 'Get Info' window open in the Finder?

Click on the Previewed image, or actually, double-click it, and you'll open/run the item displayed. This also opens a folder.

[crarko adds: This has been around a long time, but some folks may not know the tip.]
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10.7: Safari-like navigation in the Finder Apps
One of the nice navigation features in many web-browsers is that a long click on the Forward and Backward buttons brings down a list of the next and previous sites in sequence so one could jump back two sites, for example.

It turns out that the Finder sports the same ability. A long click on the arrow buttons in the toolbar brings downs a menu with the previous and the next directories visited in that Finder window. This works in Mac OS X 10.7. I think I tried it with 10.6 as well as 10.4 before I upgraded to Lion and it did not work, but I am not sure.

[crarko adds: I did try it in 10.6 and it wasn't there.]
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Finding Control and Menu Items for use in AppleScript User Interface Scripting Apps
OS 10.7 Lion seems to have brought about a renewed interest in AppleScript User Interface Scripting. A big part of the difficulty in getting a GUI script to work is figuring out how exactly to address the controls in an applications window.

Apple's Accessibility Inspector.app, which comes with Xcode, is some help with this, but in my hands, it's always been awkward to use for figuring out what code I need to write to click a particular check box in say, a System Preferences Pane.

Here's a bit of AppleScript I wrote years ago that delivers up easy to understand and correct lists of an application's window and menu items in a format that may easily be cut and pasted directly into Scripts.
-- Entire Contents Demo - mini
-- BP ages ago or so

-- This'll get all the controls and structures associated with an App's window and menus
-- In a form which is easily pasteable into your own scripts
-- and show them in the result pane below.
--
-- Copy that into a text editor and change commas to returns to get an easily  readable list.
--
-- The script can take a long time if there are LOTS of window items, such as
-- in the "music" pane of iTunes. It may even time out if you have a huge iTunes library
-- The script'll process most App's UI structures in under a minute

set appname to "System Preferences" -------------------------- Set this to the App you want to look at

set winstuff to "defaultval"
set menustuff to "defaultval"

tell application appname
  activate
end tell

tell application "System Events"
  tell process appname
    set winstuff to entire contents of front window
    set menustuff to entire contents of menu bar 1
  end tell
end tell
--return winstuff & "rrrr" & menustuff -- comment this out to get just winstuff
return winstuff -- comment this out too to get just menustuff
--return menustuff 
Pointing the code at 'System Preferences' with the 'Desktop & Screens Saver' pane open will return, along with 128 other UI objects, this line describing the slider which controls the delay before the screen saver activates:
slider 1 of group 1 of tab group 1 of window "Desktop & Screen Saver" of application process "System Preferences" of application "System Events"
With the proper form of address in hand, it's a simple matter to construct an AppleScript that changes the delay before the screen saver is activated:
tell application "System Events"
  set value of slider 1 of group 1 of tab group 1 of window "Desktop & Screen Saver" of application process "System Preferences" to 180
end tell
The script will return information on whatever application window is frontmost, be it a document window, or an obscure dialog box.

I've looked for similar code online, and it doesn't seem to be commonly available.

[crarko adds: I tested some of this out; as mentioned, be prepared to do some massaging of the data that is returned (in AppleScript Editor's Results window) to make it readable.

Note: comments indicate this also works in versions before Lion.]
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Avoid After Effects slowdowns Apps
After Effects normally taxes your Mac's resources heavily, especially when you don't have a lot of memory. Using renice on the processes related to After Effects can greatly improve the performance of other applications you may be running.

By using renice on the processes related to After Effects and some others related to the system your system will be more responsive. Just launch this script after launching After Effects and render a few frames (RAM preview, render). The script will renice the priority of the After Effects processes, and some others that are related.

And then you may run iTunes, Dropbox, and other programs without problems while working with After Effects.
tell application "Finder" to set theApps to name of every process
activate
set newPriority to "15"
set theApp to "After Effects"
set thePID to do shell script "ps -axww | /usr/bin/grep '[/]" & theApp & "'| awk '{print $1}' | head -1"
Renice(newPriority, thePID, theApp)

set newPriority to "15"
set theApp to "CS5.5ServiceManager"
set thePID to do shell script "ps -axww | /usr/bin/grep '[/]" & theApp & "'| awk '{print $1}' | head -1"
Renice(newPriority, thePID, theApp)

set newPriority to "15"
set theApp to "Adobe QT32 Server"
set thePID to do shell script "ps -axww | /usr/bin/grep '[/]" & theApp & "'| awk '{print $1}' | head -1"
Renice(newPriority, thePID, theApp)

set newPriority to "15"
set theApp to "iTunes"
set thePID to do shell script "ps -axww | /usr/bin/grep '[/]" & theApp & "'| awk '{print $1}' | head -1"
Renice(newPriority, thePID, theApp)

set newPriority to "15"
set theApp to "Dropbox"
set thePID to do shell script "ps -axww | /usr/bin/grep '[/]" & theApp & "'| awk '{print $1}' | head -1"
Renice(newPriority, thePID, theApp)

set newPriority to "15"
set theApp to "aeselflink"
set thePID to do shell script "ps -axww | /usr/bin/grep '[/]" & theApp & "'| awk '{print $1}' | head -1"
Renice(newPriority, thePID, theApp)

set newPriority to "15"
set theApp to "kernek_task"
set thePID to do shell script "ps -axww | /usr/bin/grep '[/]" & theApp & "'| awk '{print $1}' | head -1"
Renice(newPriority, thePID, theApp)

on Renice(newPriority, thePID, theApp)
  try
    set theConfirmation to (do shell script "renice " & newPriority & " -p " & thePID)
  on error
    set theConfirmation to (do shell script "renice " & newPriority & " -p " & thePID with administrator privileges)
  end try
end Renice

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one. The script lowers the priority of all the processes/applications included in it. The newPriority value of 15 is lower than the default value of 0. Given that renice is just a suggestion to the kernel about how to schedule the process the results can vary, depending on other factors in system. One obvious side effect here is that lowering the priority of After Effects can greatly increase the rendering time of a job. This may depend on the number of processor cores you have available. I guess my point is that doing this may or may not help with performance. It depends on what else your system is doing, and you might modify the script to accomodate that if you feel comfortable doing that.]
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10.7: Mail behavior in conversation mode Apps
This isn't really a hint, so much as an observation of surprisingly nice behavior by Mail in OS X 10.7.

I discovered this after I received an email from a colleague containing a long bulleted list of remarks and questions (dozens of them) about a project we're working on, only a few of which needed answers.

So I replied, inserting my points under his where needed and clicked send. To my surprise, in Mail, set to conversation view, the letter I sent appeared folded in several places, leaving only the questions I had answered visible.

[crarko adds: I don't have a good conversation to test this with at the moment, so please post your results and observations about this in the comments.]
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