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Mac: Have you tried using the Option key?

I'm not sure that everyone reads the comments in this blog but for those that don't sgt-phail mentioned something that I think is worth putting a quick post in about: using the Option key while performing actions with menus. It opens up a lot of different options for the same menu items in most of the native OS X apps. Try it in Finder, Safari, etc.

What I like is that it's very dynamic. I can pull down (or pop up) a menu and while it's displayed hit the Option key and the menu immediately changes. I don't have to be holding down Option initially to see the variations.

One of the reasons I really like the OS X UI is that it does a wonderful job of providing features in a progressive disclosure model that works for me. While I was just starting out on my Mac nearly everything I needed was right there. Once I needed to do something off the beaten path I just had to dig a little bit and the next layer of options became available to me.

I realize that this kind of capability has been on Mac for decades but for the great majority of people that have just adopted Mac as their new platform it's pretty cool stuff.

6 comments:

Chris Howard said...

heheh - I just mentioned this in one of your other posts. Experiment with any of the modifier keys. There are a many gems hidden in those modifier keys.

And watching the menus (when pressing) is a good way to discover them too.

David Alison said...

@chris: Thanks man! I did see that one too.

meils said...

Here‘s another one I use frequently:

Try clicking on the title of a Finder window while holding the command-key. Helps navigating directory structures and works in Safari too.

Tobias Crawley said...

Holy monkey! I've been a mac user for 17 years and did not know that trick. Thanks! Thanks for making me feel like a moron! :)

David Alison said...

@tobias: I can assure you that was not my intention ;-)

Glad you found something useful though!

Sean said...

I absolutely love the option button and all the glory it unfolds!

Great Blog btw, keep the good work up.