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Change desktop picture without Finder restart Desktop
This is a revision of an 8 year old hint - listed here - on how to update the desktop picture from a downloaded image.

Things have moved on a bit from 2002, but since at least one person is still interested in this hint, here's a revised version for 10.5.x and 10.6.x.
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10.6: Create Symbolic Links via Services Desktop
Snow Leopard only hintOne of the things that makes me have to fire up the Terminal in Mac OS X is to create symbolic links. In Snow Leopard though, it is possible to use Automator to create a Service so you can simply create the links using a contextual menu in the Finder, and put it much like an alias wherever you need it.
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A Service to hide/show the Desktop Desktop
Sometimes you have a really cluttered desktop, and you want to clean it off, but you don't have time (or you're just plain lazy). That's where this hint about hiding/showing your desktop via a service comes in.
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Tab auto-completion in Finder's Go menu Desktop
To use Tab auto-completion in Finder's 'Go to Folder...' dialog:

When manually entering a path in Finder's 'Go to Folder' dialog (located under the Go menu), pressing Tab will auto-complete the folder name if you have entered enough information to make the choice unambiguous. For instance, entering /e and pressing Tab will auto-complete to /etc/ (assuming you have no other folders beginning with "e" in the filesystem root. This is the same behavior that is seen in Terminal.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described.]
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Quick Look and images: zoom in and out Desktop
If you're using Quick Look on an image, you'll appreciate the following trick for zooming.

Once you've opened the QL window on a JPEG or other image file, simply press Option and the pointer will change to a magnifying glass with a plus sign in the middle. Click somewhere on the image to zoom in.

Drag the cursor around to move around, or use the scroll wheel (2 fingers on trackpad) to move around. Option-Shift-click to zoom back out.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. It doesn't work on PDF's, which is a bummer.]
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10.6: Create a new file anywhere via an Automator Service Desktop
Snow Leopard only hintThis a simple Service for creating new files the currently-open folder in Finder, using AppleScript and Automator.

Start by launching Automator, and in the chooser that appears, select Service. This will open a new Automator window, set up to create a Service. In that window, do the following:
  1. Set the Service to receive selected folders in Finder (the two drop-down menus at the top of the work area on the right). This makes it easier to assign a keyboard shortcut to our service, which we'll do at the end.

  2. Drag and drop the 'Run AppleScript' action (in the Utilities Library) into the work area on the right.

  3. Paste in the following AppleScript, then click the Hammer icon (to compile the code):
    on run {input, parameters}
      tell application "Finder"
        set currentPath to insertion location as text
        set x to POSIX path of currentPath
      end tell
      return x
    end run
  4. Drag and drop the 'Set value of a variable' action from the Utilities Library, and create a new variable called, for example, CurrentFolder. (Do this by clicking on the drop-down menu.)

  5. Drag and drop the New Text File action from the Text library into the work area. Then drag CurrentFolder from the Variable panel at the bottom of the Automator window to the Where entry of the New Text File action. Click the Options button in the action, and click the 'Show this action when the workflow runs' box. This makes it possible to change the name and extension of the new file.

  6. Save the service as 'Create New File,' or whatever you like. Test your new action using the Services menu in Finder, to make sure it works (select a folder, Control-click, and you should see your new Service at the bottom of the contextual menu).

  7. On the Keyboard Shortcuts tab of the Keyboard System Preferences panel, select Services in the left-hand column, and your new service (it should be in the Files and Folders section) in the right-hand panel. Assign a keyboard shortcut to the new Service by double-clicking to the right of the Service's name.

  8. Switch back to Automator and change the leftmost drop-down menu (at the top of the work area) to No Input, then save the Service again.
[crarko adds: This worked as described in testing, except I couldn't get the keyboard shortcut to work when in Column View -- it worked fine in List and Icon view modes. In Column View, though, it would simply try to select the file whose first letter matched the key used in the shortcut.]
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10.6: Change the size of Grid-style List View Stacks Desktop
[Note: This hint originally ran on April 9th, but was marked "must be logged in to read." As a result, not many people saw it. I'm republishing it so that everyone has a chance to see it. -rob.]

Snow Leopard only hintFor those who have used this hint to create Grid-style List View stacks, you might be interested to know that you’ve gained an additional feature that none of the other views have: zooming.

While in a list view stack, press Command-Plus to zoom in, or Command-Minus to zoom out. There are five different sizes available. This feature does not work in any other view, and it doesn't work in List View Stacks that haven't been modified to appear in Grid View style.
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How to jump to just-renamed folders in List View mode Desktop
Until I figured out this tip, I was annoyed each time I created a new folder in a List View (ordered alphabetically) Finder window. The newly-created folder would be entitled untitled folder, so the Finder view would jump to the 'U' position, with that folder selected (so far so good). After I typed the name for the new folder (for example, Bob's folder) and clicked in the window to commit the name change, the new folder would jump to its correct alphabetic location. However, the view would stay at the 'U' position, not jumping to the 'B' position, where the new folder just went to. Very annoying.

I just discovered how to make the Finder jump to the renamed folder's location in the list: Instead of clicking in the window after the new folder is named, simply press Return. Bingo; the newly-renamed folder remains selected, and the view moves up to the 'B' position. (This is going to save me a lot of scrolling in the future.) This tip works in Column View, too.

Most of you probably already knew this, but I hope it's helpful to those who did not.
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10.6: One way to create a mouse-free launcher assistant Desktop
Snow Leopard only hintI have a lot of apps, documents, and folders. A vast quantity. Many of these items are needed only occasionally, so I don't like to clutter up my premiere automation environment, QuicKeys, with launchers that I won't use every day, week, or even every month. That doesn't mean this tip can't be useful for everyday things, it's just that it is particularly suited for meeting my needs. This solution is based on an organized hierarchy of aliases kept in the Snow Leopard Dock. You can do this with earlier versions of Mac OS X to some extent, but to be able to have complete mouse-free navigation and launch control for a hierarchy of items, you need Snow Leopard.

To be able to get to the Dock without grabbing the mouse, you have to be sure that Move focus to the Dock is checked in the Keyboard and Text Input section of the Keyboard Shortcuts tab of the Keyboard pane of System Preferences. By default, the shortcut is triggered with control-F3 (Fn-Control-F3 on laptops, depending on the setting of F1, F2, etc. in the Keyboard section of the same System Preference pane).

Now build your hierarchy of aliases (or originals, if you prefer) in a folder somewhere on your hard drive -- your home folder is good -- and drag its containing folder into the Dock.
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10.6: Copy URLs from downloaded files Desktop
Snow Leopard only hintIf you download a file with Safari or certain other programs, you may be able to copy its download URL from its Get Info window.

Select the file in the Downloads folder (or elsewhere) and press command-I. Find the Where From ntry in the More Info section of the Get Info window. Hold down the mouse button and drag across the URL listed there to select it, then choose Copy from the Edit menu (or press Command-C).

[robg adds: This will only work in 10.6; 10.5 won't let you select the text in that field. I'm not sure which browsers/apps other than Safari record this data; Firefox does not.]
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