I must change my desktop picture 3-4 times a day (I'm easily bored!!), so I have found a way to do this with ease.
Using ChangeDesktop 1.3.1 (freeware), I've set up the "Preferences Application" with the "Change then quit" option ticked.
Next - using Dragstrip (Aladdin Systems Inc), I've set up a hot key for the ChangeDesktop application (not the Preferences application).
Now simply hit the hot key in any application, and the desktop changes. Keep hitting that hot key until you get a desktop image that you like!
I have also set up a folder of favorite desktop pics which I intermittently alter by throwing in duplicate copies of my currently favorite pics. This is the only folder I have selected in the ChangeDesktop preferences, though you can choose several folders if you like. For me it works better than OS 9's random selection at bootup.
[Sudo Editor's Note: If you do not happen to own DragStrip, it should be possible for you to do this with similar apps or even the dock!]
If you have several items in a folder selected, you can quickly alternate the selection in icon or column view. Think "shift-cmd-I" with selections in Photoshop. I found this handy for picking out newly-added files from an already crowded folder.
When viewing by icon, hold down command or shift and drag a selection box around all of your icons. The selected ones will lose their hilight, and vice versa.
I was surprised to find that it works in column view, too: Give youself some space at the bottom of a pane, hold down command or shift, and drag to the top of the window.
While this tip isn't on par with some of the fantastic tips on this great site, I nevertheless thought I'd offer it up, as I've not seen it here. [Editor's aside: All tips are equals here at macosxhints.com! After all, there's a wide range of experience levels out there, so every hint probably has some value to someone in the audience.]
When pasting a custom icon in the OS X Finder, make sure that the given volume (or folder or file) does not already have a custom icon. If it does, you will get a blank icon, requiring you to either log out and in or re-launch the Finder.
The way around this is to first cut the custom icon, thus reverting the icon to its original default state. Now you can paste away!
While reading the docs for PStill (which from the docs looks like a pretty sweet PDF converter), their use of a "Temporary Folder" (/tmp/foldername/) got me thinking. The Finder by default will hide hidden and system files (unless you use Tinkertool to coerce it). Would it show me /tmp if I selected Go -> Go to Folder? Yes, it shows /tmp and all of its ugly contents.
So I dropped the /tmp folder onto my Finder toolbar for easy access. Now I can easily throw all my flotsam and jetsam into /tmp via the toolbar, and the system will delete it for me the next time I reboot.
[Editor's note: Be careful with /tmp; as noted, anything in it will be erased at the next restart. There are no second chances, unlike the trash can!]
As shipped, OS X includes an alias to the OS 9 desktop folder. However, it's relatively easy to accidentally delete, which makes finding the original OS 9 desktop a bit more problematic. An anonymous reader sent in an easy one-line fix in the terminal:
ln -s /"Desktop Folder" ~/Desktop/"Desktop (Mac OS 9)"
This will place an alias of your OS 9 desktop back on your new OS X desktop.
While looking at Matt Gray's page (he authored the PALifier program mentioned in a recent tip), I noticed that he's also created a program called MenuPics. MenuPics allows you to quickly and easily change the default icons for Apple's menubar extras (Airport, Displays, Battery, etc.).
Although there have been tips here in the past on how to do this yourself, it required using the Terminal. Matt's freeware program does it all via the GUI and includes some sample icons to get you started. So if you want a very easy way to change your menubar icons, check out MenuPics!
This hint allows you to change your current displayed time format of the menubar clock to anything you like, i.e. instead of "1:40" you can have "13.02. 13:40" or "13 Feb 13:40". Compared to the modification mentioned above, this really allows full customization of the displayed time/date.
I just noticed this ... If you rename a file in the Finder, you can delete words in the name all at once. Meaning you can delete one complete word at a time.
Make a new folder "New Folder" then enter re-naming mode. The cursor is now at the end of the folder name. Now press and hold "alt" when erasing (what would have been) a letter in the name.
The Finder automagically deletes one word at a time.
It even works in reverse. Try going to the start of the filename and doing the same thing agin... presto! deleting one word forwards.
Pretty neat; I can't remember ever reading this before, so tell me if it's old news.
[Editor's note: You can also use the arrow keys to move a word at a time with alt, or select a word at a time with shift-alt. I haven't seen this trick anywhere else, either!]