When it comes to working on your Mac, there are so many handy time-saving tricks hidden in macOS that there’s a good chance you’re missing at least one or two. Here are 10 quick tips, any one of which could be key to boosting your productivity.
This article assumes you’re using a Mac with macOS Ventura, but most of these tips also work on earlier versions of Apple’s Mac operating system.
1. Copy and paste plain text
When you select some text on a Mac, pressing Command-C copies it to the clipboard, and pressing Command-V pastes it along with any format.
If you prefer to paste the copied text elsewhere as plain text, use the key combination Command-Option-Shift-V and will be stripped of any format.
2. View all calendar events as a list
Some calendar apps allow you to see all of your upcoming events as a vertical list. Many users find this type of view mode better than staring at the normal calendar interface, as it provides a quick overview of their entire schedule over the coming days and months.
At first glance, Apple’s Calendar app for macOS lacks an equivalent feature. However, there is a way to force a list view to include all your events. Click on the Seek in the upper right corner of the Calendar window and type two double quotes (“”) to generate a list of all upcoming events. This makes it easy to copy multiple events and paste them into other apps in chronological order.
3. Perform a quick search on a website in Safari
There are several ways to search the web in Apple’s Safari browser. One of the lesser known methods is called Quick Website Search. The option is designed to work with sites that have a built-in search field, like the one you can find at the top of the home page on MacRumors.com. Is that how it works.
Let’s say you want to search for articles on MacRumors that mention “headphones.” Instead of typing “macrumors headphones” into Safari’s address bar to get results from your default search engine, you can navigate to MacRumors.com and use the search field at the top of the page.
If Quick Website Search is enabled, Safari will remember that you used the MacRumors search field and offer to use it again for future searches that include the website name. For example, if you type “macrumores” followed by “deals” directly into Safari’s address bar, a Search for “deals” on macrumors.com The option will appear in the suggestion box, as shown above. Selecting it gets instant results from the MacRumors site’s own search function.
To ensure that quick website search is enabled, select Safari -> Settings… from the menu bar, choose the Seek and make sure the checkbox is checked next to Enable quick website search. If you click on the Manage websites… next to the check box, you can also view the list of Safari website search shortcuts, remove individual websites, or clear the list entirely.
4. Pause a copy file to resume it later
When you copy a large file or folder to another location in Finder using the Copy and Paste options, a pie-chart progress indicator next to the name of the copy item gives you an idea of how long it will take to complete the copy. If it looks like it’s going to take longer than you want, you can always pause the copy and resume it later. Is that how it works.
If you stop a copy midway using the X button, a ghost version of the file or folder will remain in the destination location. Just click it and you’ll be given the option to Finish Copying It, or you can Keep the copy resumable and finish the transfer at another time that’s more convenient.
5. Quickly convert images in Finder
There are many third-party apps available for Mac that will convert images for you, but if you’re running macOS Monterey or later, you can convert an image or a selection of images directly from Finder using a quick action.
If you’re not familiar with them, quick actions help you do certain tasks, like create a PDF or rotate an image, right from the Finder or your desktop, without opening an app. The “Convert Image” quick action can quickly convert an image file from one format to another. It also allows you to batch convert selections, change the file size, and choose whether to keep file metadata in the converted image.
To use the Convert Image quick action, select an image file or drag a selection box over multiple files, then Ctrl-click and select Quick Actions -> Convert Image. In the dialog that appears, choose the desired format (JPEG, PNG, or HEIF) and the output file size (small, medium, large, or actual). Check the box to preserve the original image metadata in the output image, then click Convert to [Format]. The converted image will be saved in the same folder as the original image, which will remain intact.
6. Open files from the app launcher
Most long-time macOS users will be familiar with the app switcher. It is invoked using the Command-Tab keyboard shortcut and lists all the applications currently running on your Mac, allowing you to quickly switch between them.
An often overlooked feature of the App Switcher is its ability to open files. Just start dragging a file from a Finder window, then invoke the App Launcher and drag the file to the corresponding app icon in the overlay. Drop the file and it should open in the selected app.
Bonus Tip: To exit an open app with App Switcher, highlight the app and touch what. To quickly exit multiple apps, try tabbing through the overlay, tapping Q as you go.
7. Find and replace text in file names
When you highlight multiple files in Finder, you can use the Rename… in the Ctrl-click menu to rename them all. The Rename dialog also allows you to rename only specific files in a selection whose names include certain identifying text. This is really useful if you have tens or hundreds of files in a folder with different names and you only want to change those files that contain a particular word.
Select all the files in a folder (make sure they are all the same type, or this won’t work), then Ctrl+click and select Rename…. select replace text in the first dropdown. Now just type the id text you want to replace in the “Find” field, and enter the text you want to replace it with in the “Replace with” field, then click on Rename.
8. Use text clippings
In macOS, a text snippet is a selection of text that you’ve dragged from an app to another location on your Mac, where it becomes a single, stand-alone type of file. The relatively little-known feature has been around since at least Mac OS 9, and it offers a convenient way to save snippets of text virtually anywhere for later use in another application or document.
To create a text snippet, simply highlight any piece of text and drag it with your mouse to your desktop or an open Finder window. This saves the highlighted text, including any rich text format, as a .textclipping file named after the first few words of text you selected, but you can easily rename it to make it more identifiable.
To use the selected text in another file such as a Pages document, drag the text snippet into the open document and the text will automatically paste where your cursor is. You can paste the snippet in the same way into all kinds of open files and applications, including browser search engines, mail compose windows, Xcode projects, and more.
9. Copy and paste photo edits
In macOS Ventura, if you have multiple photos that you want to edit in the same way, or if you’ve made changes to a photo that you want to replicate to another photo, you can use the new copy and paste editing tools in the Photos app.
To use the new option, first open an image, click Edit, then make your changes. When you’re done, choose Image -> Copy Edits in the menu bar, then select the image (or images) you want to paste them to. Finally, choose Image -> Paste edits from the menu bar.
10. Show Latest Apps in the Dock
On macOS, a handy option called Show Recent Apps in the Dock (found in System Settings -> Desktop & Dock) adds a divider to the right side of your Dock, and then shows recently used apps that aren’t permanently docked. This option only shows the three most recently used apps that have since been closed. What if your workflow would be more efficient if you could show more?
If you’re comfortable pasting commands into Terminal, it’s perfectly possible to increase or decrease the number of recently opened apps that show up in your Dock. Open a Terminal window and paste the following into the command prompt, then press Enter:
defaults write com.apple.dock show-recents -bool true;
defaults write com.apple.dock show-recent-count -int 10;
Please note that the -at you The argument defines the number of recently opened apps you want to display in the Dock after the divider (10 in this case). You can change the number to your liking.