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Apple Mac OS X tips and tweaks

Date: 24th August 2011

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OS X Lion: Top tips for Versions

Versions is a new feature in OS X Lion on the Apple Mac and when you are working on a document, image or other file you don't need to keep saving under different names like Document1.txt, Document2.txt and so on. Versions saves the changes you make to documents and stores everything Time Machine-like within the file.

It's quite clever, but here are some things you probably didn't know about Versions. For example you can pull information out of previous versions and paste it in the current version and open any version in a window alongside the current version.

I'm going to use Preview as an example, but other Lion apps are similar if they have been designed to use Versions.

Load a file into preview, such as an image. Modify it and save it as a new version on the File menu. Then select File, Revert to Saved. If you click the right-hand image - the pevious version - you can click the toolbar buttons and they work! It's like a mini Preview window. If you push the mouse up to the top of the screen the menu bar appears too. You can't actually do much with a previous version without opening it, but you can select an area and copy it, return to the current image and paste it in. That's an interesting feature. It works with text files too.

Another thing to try is to go to File, Revert to Saved and hold down the Option key. The Restore button changes to Restore a Copy. If you click it, the old version opens in a new version alongside the current version. That's another useful feature.

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