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Create a QR code with your contact info Apps
1. Go to:
2. Select "Contact Details"
3. Select vCard & fill in your info

This QR code will add your contact info to people's address books if they scan it. You can create QR codes that can do lots of things. For example, you can create codes that will direct people to follow you on Twitter, like a page on Facebook, or compose an email to you.

[kirkmc adds: Another hint from robleach. I haven't tested this.]
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Create a QR code bookmarklet Apps
Have you ever been reading a web page and find you have to leave, but would like to continue reading on your phone? Here's a handy bookmarklet you can use to transfer the URL to your phone:'',%20'Scan%20Me',%20'toolbar=0,scrollbars=0,location=0,statusbar=0,menubar=0,resizable=0,width=110,height=130');qr.document.write('%3Cimg%20src=\'|0&chl='+document.location+%20'\'%20/%3E%3Cbr%20/%3E%3Ca%20href=\'javascript:self.close();\'%3EClose%20Me%3C/a%3E');

Copy this to a new bookmark. I named mine "Send to Phone." It pops up a little window with the URL of your current web page encoded as a QR code. Simply scan it directly off your computer screen with your phone's QR code reader and off you go! (I don't claim credit for this bookmarklet; I found it at

[kirkmc adds: Submitted by robleach; one of three hints submitted together. The others will follow.]
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Easily resend iMessage as text message Apps
Sometimes, such as early this week, Apple's iMessages servers go down. If so, and you try to send iMessages, you may want to resend those messages as standard text messages or SMSs. OS X Daily had a nice hint about how to do so easily. After you've sent the iMessage, if you see that it's not delivered, or if you simply want to use a belt-and-suspenders approach to make sure your recipient gets your message, just tap and hold on the blue bubble containing the message text, then choose Send as Text Message. It will get sent as a text message, and you can tell this by the green text bubble.

For this to work, you have to have your contact's phone number in their card. However, if you only have an email address for that contact, tapping and holding the text bubble shows Send to Email Address. In my tests, this failed every time, so I'm not exactly sure how this is supposed to work. (I assume that it would try and send the message as an email…) If anyone can get this to work, please post in the comments.
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Find a .plist file for a specific application Apps
Have you ever had trouble finding an application's preference file? It isn't always easy, as the name of the .plist file sometimes isn't even close to the app's name. Here's an easy way to make it show itself.

Open the /Library/Preferences folder in your user account. (In Lion or later, from the Desktop, hold down the Option key and select Go > Library to access your user account.) Set the window to list view, then click the Date Modified tab at the top so they are listed by the newest files first.

Some apps will update their .plist file every time you use the program. Otherwise, open the app and make any type of change in its preferences and save. Go back to the Preferences window and see which .plist file jumps to the top of the list.

[kirkmc adds: Good common sense. I've used this many times over the years, and I couldn't find it in past hints.]
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Use text substitutions to correct common typing errors Apps
Mail and spell checking in general will fix a lot of typos and spelling errors automatically as you type, but it fails to correct common key sequence issues. Sometimes words are an actual word, but not something 99% of people would write. It also sometimes doesn't fix short spelling errors. Fixing things like "i," "suer", "tis," "fi," "eb," "si," "ti," and "int eh." Symbol and text substitution is your friend and picks up when spell checking doesn't.

I write a lot of e-mails; often hundreds a day providing support to customers. Not form e-mails, but actual human e-mails. Mail has pretty good auto-correction for spelling errors, but it doesn't handle key sequencing errors where the space key gets hit just before the ending letter of a word, or when letters come out just slightly out of sequence form typing fast. I constantly found myself proofreading for weird auto-corrected words, fixing the red underlined unknown things Mail didn't fix, and fixing missed capitalization mistakes such as "i" and "THanks." I searched and searched, trying to figure out how to remove words from dictionary, when I suddenly realized I could override the dictionary. Until now, I just see people telling you how to make shortcuts to type longer texts and such, but it's more useful to me to have it fix my typos so I can write my text faster.

Open System Preferences, click on Language & Text, then on the Text tab to see the Symbol and text substitution list. Using this, I can fix common spelling sequence typos automatically, and have made my typo error rate almost 0%.

Here are some examples that Mail didn't auto-correct:
  • i > I
  • em > me
  • hte > the
  • ym > my
  • tis > its
  • ont hem > on them
  • suer > user
  • fi > if
  • od > do
  • beb > Ben
  • apss > pass
  • si > is
  • eb > be
  • sue > use
  • Whent he > When he
  • int eh > in the
  • ont he > on the
  • ont eh > on the
  • ti > it
  • tot he > to the
  • trya > try a
  • a nd > and
Try this, and you may find that the common errors you make are automatically corrected.
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A service to log Dictionary lookups Apps
This Service adds any unique words you look up in the OS X Dictionary app to a TextEdit document that is- saved on your desktop, so that you can review, or repeat them later. Then you can use the same service to look up those words that you have logged already; they won't be added to your log file.

The service is seamlessly integrated with the Dictionary service on your Mac. It is even installed on the same keyboard shortcut: Command-Control-D.

The only limitation is that it only works with selected text, so if you are looking up a word by hovering the cursor over it, in, say, Preview or Safari, then you'll have to choose More in the lower right corner of the Dictionary sheet that pops up to view the full Dictionary window. Then you'll have to press Command-Control-D once more, to "log" the word into the text file (the search word turns up selected in the Dictionary window.)

Avoid the above limitation by selecting the word before Command-Control-D. If you select the word before pressing Command-Control-D, then everything is handled automatically.

Since English is not my native language, this is something I have been wanting for years. So it is mostly made for non-native English speaker, but may also be useful for native anglophones.

How to install:

  1. Open Automator

  2. Choose service and don't check anything

  3. Search for the Run AppleScript action, and add it to your Service

  4. Paste in the script below, replacing everything that is by default in the Run AppleScript action

  5. Save the Service as dictLogger

  6. Quit Automator

  7. Open the Keyboard preferences of the System Preferences pane

  8. Find the service under "Services" and install it with the keyboard shortcut Command-Control-D

  9. After you have successfully looked up a word, look into the file "DictLogger.txt" that should be on your Desktop if everything is working

  10. Select a word in "DictLogger.txt", to see that it works from here

  11. If you use some app other than TextEdit for .txt files, be sure to set the default app of this file to TextEdit, if you want it to open with TextEdit. I don't guarantee that every other text editor will work, though I think it will work with TextWrangler and BBEdit

# © McUsr/MacUser06 2012
on run {input, parameters}
    set glossaryName to "DictLogger.txt"
    set AutomatorIcon to (a reference to file ((path to applications folder as text) & ""))

    # checks to see if the current selection contains anything valid
    considering diacriticals
        if first character of (input as text) is not in "abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz" then
            tell application "System Events" to set appname to name of first process whose frontmost is true
            using terms from application "Finder"
                tell application appname
                    display dialog "The selection you tried to look up a dictionary definiton for contains non-valid characters.

Please copy the selection you used into an empty text document to figure out what is wrong.

Quitting for now…" with title "Dictionary Logging Service" buttons {"Ok"} default button 1 with icon AutomatorIcon

                end tell
            end using terms from
            return input
        end if
    end considering
        open location "dict://" & input
    end try
    tell application "TextEdit"
            set glossaryDoc to its document glossaryName
        on error
            set glossaryDoc to null
        end try
    end tell

        set theF to quoted form of (POSIX path of (path to desktop folder as text) & glossaryName)
    end try

    set foundword to true
        do shell script "test -f " & theF & " || touch " & theF

        set foundword to (do shell script "grep '^" & input & "$' " & theF & ">/dev/null && echo \"true\" || echo \"false\"") as boolean
    end try

    if not foundword then

        if glossaryDoc is not null then
            tell application "TextEdit"
                tell its document glossaryName

                    make new paragraph at beginning of its text with data ((input as text) & linefeed)
                end tell
                save glossaryDoc
            end tell
                do shell script "export TMPFILE=`mktemp /tmp/${tempfoo}.XXXXXX` && cat " & theF & "  >$TMPFILE ; echo " & input & ">|" & theF & " ; cat $TMPFILE >>" & theF
            end try
        end if

    end if
    do shell script "open -b \"\""

    return input

end run
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Use keyboard shortcuts to go to favorite mailboxes Apps
Mail in OS X has a Favorites Bar (View > Show Favorites Bar) where you can drag the mailboxes you use often. If you do this, you can use keyboard shortcuts to go to these mailboxes. Command-1 is the first one on the left, Command-2 the second one, and so on.

Interestingly, even if you don't have the Favorites Bar displayed, you can use these shortcuts to switch to their mailboxes. So if you want to apply keyboard shortcuts for your favorite mailboxes, and don't want to see the Favorites Bar, display it, add the mailboxes in the order you want, then hid the Favorites Bar. You can see the shortcuts in the Mailbox > Go to Favorite Mailbox menu in case you forget which shortcut to use.

This was mentioned in passing in this hint about moving messages to favorite mailboxes, but deserves a mention on its own.
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Only show messages in inbox in VIPs mailbox Apps
Mail in Mountain Lion has a VIPs mailbox, which, by default, shows all e-mails from people you have set as VIPs. (To do this, click on an e-mail address and choose Add to VIPs.) But this mailbox, by default, shows all messages received from those addresses, whether they are in an inbox, or whether they are in a folder or in the Archive mailbox.

You can change this, but the setting is in a non-intuitive location. Click on the VIPs mailbox to select it, then choose View > Sort By > Inbox Only.

I would actually like the VIPs mailbox to also show sent messages, which it doesn't; not all the time, but sometimes I'm looking for a sent message to someone in my VIPs list, and it would be easier to be able to find them there than rooting through my Sent mailbox.

Thanks to Dan Frakes for sharing this, and to David Sparks who posted the solution on his website MacSparky.
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A simple way to box some text in Pages Apps
If you use Pages, you may occasionally want to put a border and/or colored background around some text. There are a few ways to do this; you can insert a graphic object and put text in it, but this then requires positioning, and you can't easily edit it with your other text.

You can also use the More tab of the Text inspector to add borders and background colors; for borders only, this method works great (as long as you want a full-width box). But if you add background color (to the paragraph, not characters), you'll find it's not quite right–the color doesn't fill to the edges, and spills out slightly at the top and/or bottom.

So what's the solution, if you don't want a full-width border, or you want a background fill in your box? Select the text to be boxed, and choose Format > Table > Convert Text to Table.

You'll get a one-column-wide table, over which you have complete control of colors, borders, spacing, etc.
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Send SMS to Messages and run commands with AppleScript Apps
It is possible to send an SMS command to your Mac using an AppleScript. I've made one which takes a picture when I send the command /photo to iMessages on my Mac.

The script is very simple; it must be set up Messages' Alerts preferences. Choose Event > Message Received, then check Run an Apple Script. This will check each message you get for the command; in this case, /photo.

The script will turn the volume all the way down (and up again) before taking a picture with PhotoBooth so it does not make any noise.

Then you can make a symbolic link from the PhotoBooth folder to your Dropbox so you can check the photos from your mobile device.

Here's the script:
using terms from application "Messages"
	on message received theMessage from theBuddy for theChat
		if (theMessage begins with "/") then
			if theMessage begins with "Photo" then
				beep 3
				set volume 0
				tell application "Photo Booth"
				end tell
				tell application "System Events"
					tell process "Photo Booth"
						delay 3
						tell application "Finder"
							set visible of process "Photo Booth" to false
						end tell
						tell menu bar 1
							tell menu bar item "File"
								tell menu "File"
									click menu item "Take Photo"
								end tell
							end tell
						end tell
					end tell
				end tell
				delay 5
				tell application "Photo Booth"
				end tell
				set volume 3
			end if
		end if
	end message received
end using terms from

[kirkmc adds: Note that this only works with iMessages (I tried for a while to get it to work with regular chats, and it wouldn't). It's worth noting that the ability to send a text message and set off a script is something very useful, and I can imagine plenty of scripters figuring out other types of remote commands they can send to their Macs. Feel free to submit them as hints.]
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