5 simple macOS tips and tricks to streamline your workflow

Don’t work harder; Work smarter. That phrase was coined in the 1930s, but it still applies today. No one wants to waste hours doing something for a long time when a few keystrokes can get you done in seconds.

To help you increase efficiency on your Mac, we’ve picked five easy-to-follow tips. You’ll get things done faster, so you can have more time to play.

macOS Tip #1: Configure Spotlight Search

If you haven’t used Spotlight before, you should. Spotlight Search can locate files, find information on the web, and even perform basic mathematical calculations. Best of all, you can access it through a simple keyboard operation.

Use the steps below to configure what items Spotlight looks for and how to use it.

1. Open System Preferences from Apple Menu in the upper left corner.

System Preferences in the Apple menu

2. Select Spark in hobbies.

Spotlight in Options

3. Use the check boxes to select the categories you want Spotlight to search for. Uncheck the categories you don’t want Spotlight to search for.

Searchable Spotlight categories

4. Select Privacy navigation. Add folders that you don’t want Spotlight to search.

Downloads in the Security tab

You can use Spotlight search by selecting the magnifying glass in the upper-right corner of the screen or by using Request+Space bar movie off. When Spotlight search opens, you can type a word or phrase in the search bar and Spotlight will display the results.

macOS Tip #2: Create Text Shortcuts

macOS allows you to create text shortcuts that automatically expand into longer text phrases. You can even add emojis to your text phrases.

For example, you can set up macOS to replace $rec with “I received your message and will reply soon”. These shortcuts can be a huge time saver, and they’re super easy to set up.

1. Open System Preferences from the Apple Menu in the upper left corner.

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<p>2. Select <strong>Keyboard</strong> in hobbies. </p>
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Keyboard in Preferences

3. Select Letter navigation.

Text Tab in Keyboard

4. Find and select + in the bottom left corner.

The plus button at the bottom left

5. Enter your shortcut Replace pillar. Choose a keyboard shortcut that is unique and not the text you normally type. Use symbols like % or ~ if necessary.

Keyboard shortcut in Replace column

6. Enter the complete text string With pillar.

Once added, you can enter your shortcut in any text field and macOS will automatically replace it.

macOS Tip #3: Use Hot Corners

If you’ve never heard of Hot Corners, you’re not alone.

This often overlooked feature allows you to perform an action when hovering over one of the four corners of the screen. You can choose to lock the screen, show the desktop, and more. You are limited in what tasks you can perform, but the ones available are very useful.

Setting up your hot corners requires just a few simple steps. Follow these steps to get started.

1. Open System Preferences from the Apple Menu in the upper left corner.

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<p>2. Select <strong>Mission Control</strong> in preferences to open Mission Control settings. </p>
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Mission Control in Preferences

3. Select Hot corner button.

Hot Corners Button

4. Use the drop-down menu to choose an action for each corner.

Drop-down menu for each corner

Option ALRIGHT Once completed.

To use your hot corners, simply move your mouse to the edge of the screen in that particular corner.

macOS Tip #4: Safari Picture-in-Picture

How often do you watch a video tutorial in one window and then work in another? Are you tired of constantly clicking between the two? If you use Safari, you can end this transition using its picture-in-picture feature.

You need to use Safari, but it works with any video streaming service, including YouTube, Vimeo, and others.

1. Open Safari and select + in the right corner to open a new tab.

Plus button in Safari

2. Start playing a video on YouTube, Vimeo or another video service in this tab.

3 Find the sound icon in the tab and right-click it to bring up the drop-down menu.

Sound icon in tab

4. Select Import picture in picture to open the video in a smaller window

Right-click the Enter Picture in Picture menu

5. The picture-in-picture video will now float at the top of your browser window.

Picture-in-picture video

You can work in your browser and open other apps and the video will be on top for you to watch. You can also drag the video to any corner of the screen you want. To get rid of picture in picture just click on the video and select X in the upper left corner.

Picture-in-picture browser

macOS Tip #5: Useful Keyboard Shortcuts

There are a lot of keyboard shortcuts inside macOS. It’s almost impossible to learn them all, so we’ve made it easier for you by picking ten of the most important to keep in mind.

  • Screen capture tool: Use Command + Shift + 3 to take a screenshot of the entire window, Command + Shift + 4 to take a screenshot of a selected area and Command + Shift + 5 to open a set of screen capture tools, including video (macOS Mojave). Normally, screenshots are saved to your desktop, but you can quickly copy them to the clipboard. Just add the Control key when you are using keyboard shortcuts for screenshots. For example, Control + Command + Shift + 3 will screenshot the entire window and copy it to the clipboard.
  • Close an app: Use Command + Q to quickly hide an app from prying eyes by closing it by pressing this simple key.
  • Forward Delete: By default, the delete key in macOS will backspace by deleting characters to the left of the cursor. Press Function + delete to delete in the forward direction by deleting characters to the right of the cursor.
  • Move between apps: Hold down the command key and touch the tab key to switch between apps.
Keyboard shortcut button
  • Move between windows in an application: Use Command + tilde (~) to switch between windows.
  • Minimize the window: Command + CODE will minimize the active window, while Command-Option-CODE will minimize all open windows.
  • Forced escape: Use Command + Option + Esc when an app freezes and you need to force it to shut down.
  • Lock your Mac: Use Command + Control + Q to lock your Mac.
  • Open Spotlight Search: use Command + Space bar to launch Spotlight and search.
  • Open Emoji and Special Characters viewer: Control + Command + Space bar in any text field opens the Emoji and Special Characters viewer.

These shortcuts are useful, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Check out our full article for a comprehensive list of keyboard shortcuts.

Use macOS tips and tricks to be more productive

These tips and tricks will help you be more productive, but you can do more with your macOS computer. If you’re from Windows, we have some tips to make the transition easier. Once you master the basics, you can install power productivity apps like Alfred on your Mac, or use these advanced tips that will teach you how to use boolean operators, set currency converter and more.

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