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Time-Saving Mail Shortcut


I think you're going to like this one. Actually, I think you are going to hit yourself on the forehead and say "I can't believe it!" On to today's tip, for Apple Mail users.

When you're using Mail to read email your window looks something like this (but, hopefully, not as blurry):

Direct your attention to the area within the red rectangle in Picture 2:

See those little arrows next to some of the messages? They mean something. The curvy one means you replied to that message. The straight one means you forwarded the message. Ah, but that's not the tip. The tip is, if you click on a curvy arrow, it shows you your reply! If you click on a straight arrow it shows you your forwarded message. This can save you all kinds of time-- rather than searching through your Sent mail to find the reply you sent, you simply click the curvy arrow and voila, there it is.

Yes, it's been there all along, and yes, I'm sorry I didn't mention it earlier. I meant to.

Entourage users: you can click the link that says "Show Reply." Look for it.

Still have questions? Email me. But first, why not join the mailing list? People on the mailing list go to the front of the line.

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Groovy Time-Saving Command-Drag Tip


Back in July I wrote about how cool it is to have icons in the Toolbar at the top of Finder windows, making it quick and easy for you to drag and drop without going all the way to the Dock. Today I discovered a groovy time-saving shortcut that makes putting those icons into your Finder's Toolbar super fast and easy.

This only works with icons that are already in the Dock, because that's where we are going to drag them from. First thing to do is be careful: make the wrong move and you will drag icons OUT of the Dock rather than dragging COPIES to the Finder windows. Nothing to worry about, just follow directions, which amount to a single step! Here it is:

Step One: HOLD THE COMMAND KEY while dragging an icon from the Dock to the top of a Finder window (the Toolbar). Which one is the Command key? It's the one that isn't Control, and isn't Option. It's the one with either an Apple, or a clover thingy, or both on it. It might even say "Command" right on it! Whichever, it's right next to the Space bar. Anyhow, if you hold the Command key down, and then you click and drag an icon from the Dock to a Finder window's Toolbar, you'll end up with the same icon in both places. Neat. You'll see a little green circle with a white "+" in it while you drag, if you're doing it right. If you don't see the little green circle with the white "+" in it you will tear the icon right out of the Dock, accompanied by a puff of smoke and a little "poof" noise. If you don't see the little green circle with the white "+" in it just drag the icon back to the Dock.

VISUAL AIDS:
Command Key (no it will not be outlined in blue on your keyboard):


Little green circle with a white "+" in it:

Puff of smoke (you don't want this):

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New Strategy for iPhone App Organization


If you're using iOS 4 on an iPhone you've no doubt seen "Folders" as shown above*. What? You haven't? Visit this link, then come back. Folders are great for grouping apps (here, I've put a bunch of weather-related apps into their own folder), but they're also great for giving you quick access to a lot more apps in a lot less time (and a lot fewer taps). The trick is to store folders in the Dock.

Here's what my first Home screen looked like before I got organized. As you can see from the dots near the bottom of the screen, I have the full complement of eleven Home screens, which means a LOT of apps are more than a swipe and a tap away. The four apps in the Dock (OmniFocus, Pastebot, Mail, and Settings) were available with one touch regardless of which Home screen I was on, but with 200,000 apps I had a bunch that I use all the time. I had to find a better way.

My plan: put folders into the Dock, allowing me quick access to a lot more than four apps. It was a great plan, except for one thing: you can't create a folder in the Dock.

Turns out that there's a way around that. The trick is to make the folder somewhere else. Then drag the whole folder to the Dock. Once you do that you can move additional apps into the docked folder. Here's what my first Home screen looks like now.

Now I have access to a whole bunch of fun stuff on Home Screen 1, and another giant pile of apps just a tap away in my "Main Apps" and "Super Faves" folders. Here's what it looks like when I tap those folders.

First, my Main Apps...


and here, my "Super Faves."


I haven't done the math yet but it seems to me that I have a lot more apps just a tap or two away from wherever I might be. It does take some re-training as I had become accustomed to going swipe-swipe-swipe to find my apps, but I'm getting there. Overall, it's working for me, and if you have a lot of apps I think it will be worthwhile for you as well.

*I know, they don't look like "folders." But that's what they're called.

Still have questions? Email me. But first, why not join the mailing list? People on the mailing list go to the front of the line.

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Rearrange Your Menubar Icons


Seems as though the icons in my menubar are multiplying. I know what they are but I don't remember putting them there. (In fact, I didn't put them there-- most were placed there automatically, during the initial installation of various programs.) Regardless of how they got there, now I want to rearrange them.

But how? You can't just click on them and drag them around... can you?

It turns out that you can. But you have to hold the Command key down while you do it.

Using the Command key trick I was able to rearrange the icons in my menubar in just a few seconds.

I started with this:


And I ended up with this:


Not a gigantic improvement but I like it. And it's so easy.

Caution: if you hold the Command key down and click on an icon in the menubar you should be careful NOT to drag the icon down, away from the menubar. If you do drag it down, don't let go-- unless you want to remove that icon from the menubar. There is always a way to get the icon back if you do remove it but it's easier to just be careful.

In case you're wondering: no, you can't rearrange the menus themselves. That is, you can't put Edit before File, and Help before that. I know you'll try but I'm telling you it won't work.

Note: not every icon is movable using the Command key technique. Here, I'm not able to move Evernote's elephant icon, and I'm also not able to move LogMeIn's gray circle with dots. Most of the other icons will be draggable-- expect it to work and be surprised when it doesn't.

Still have questions? Email me. But first, why not join the mailing list? People on the mailing list go to the front of the line.

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Single-click Envelope Printing


Even in this email age we often want to print an envelope. Apple's Address Book can do it but it's complicated, and you don't have a lot of artistic control. Here's the Print dialog that Address Book makes you wade through-- all together now, YUCK.
I decided to use Pages, part of Apple's very excellent iWork '09 package, to make myself an envelope template that I really liked, as shown below.

(Here's your mini "how to make a template in Pages" lesson: create a document-- I started with one of Apple's supplied envelope templates-- and make it just the way you want it. Put something generic in for the name and address as I did. Then go to the File menu and Save as Template. Give it a good name and from then on you can create an envelope in Pages by using the Template Chooser.)

I named my envelope template "CB&A Envelopes" but you can call yours anything you like. Do pay attention to the name; you will need it in the next step.

You're halfway there. Now we have to make a little AppleScript to tell Pages to make an envelope from the template, and then to replace Name, Address, CityStateZip with the address we clicked on in the Address Book. It sounds hard but it won't be for you, since I've written the whole thing for you. Here it is.

--Put this file into your "Address Book Plug-Ins" folder, which lives inside your "Library" folder,
--which lives inside your hard drive. Remember to change "CB&A Envelopes" to the name of your
--envelope template, made using Pages.
--
using terms from application "Address Book"
on action property
return "address"
end action property
--
on should enable action for theperson with theEntry
if theEntrymissing value then
return true
else
return false
end if
end should enable action

on action title for theperson with theEntry
-- the string in the next line will appear when you click on an address' label in the Apple Address Book.
return "Make Envelope"
end action title

on perform action for theperson with theEntry
set theAddress to formatted address of theEntry
set theAddress to name of theperson & return & theAddress
--
tell application "Pages"
activate
--You have to specify a template. Best to make your own. Mine is called "CB&A Envelopes"
set mydoc to make new document with properties {template name:"CB&A Envelopes"}
tell mydoc
set every paragraph to ""
set paragraph 1 to theAddress
end tell
end tell
end perform action
end using terms from

You can copy and paste what I have here into a new AppleScript Editor document (but remember to change "CB&A Envelopes" to your own template's name), or click here to download the file from me. Either way you still have to specify the name of your envelope template. If you can't find the AppleScript Editor look in your Utilities folder. If you still can't find it, look in your Applications folder for "Script Editor." Same thing, or close enough.

After placing the script into the proper location (Address Book Plug-Ins folder) launch Address Book and click on the label next to an address. The label is the part that says "Home" or "Work" etc. You should see a menu that looks a lot like this one:

Choose "Make Envelope" and what SHOULD happen is Pages comes to the front, an envelope is created based on your template, and the address you chose is filled in nice as pie.

This sounds like a lot of work but it's not. I've written the script for you, and that was the hard part. All you have to do is make an envelope template, make one tiny modification to the script, and save the modified script in the right folder. Do that once and you'll be able to produce envelopes any time you want-- with only a single click. You can email me if you need help making this work.

If you need a copy of Pages you can get it in the iWork '09 package, available at Amazon.com. Click here to get it.

Note: your envelope template, and the script, can be copied to any number of machines, ensuring that your entire staff can make the same great envelopes every single time, all with a single click. Note also that my template includes my logo, meaning I don't have to pay anyone to print envelopes for me 500 at a time. Very nice.

Still have questions? Email me. But first, why not join the mailing list? People on the mailing list go to the front of the line.

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