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Mac hints and tips

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Insert special characters (10.4/5)

The keyboard might look comprehensive and it might seem like every character you will ever need is available, but it won't be long before you run into difficulties. Where is the hash key? How do you enter a copyright symbol? And there are many more.

Mac OS X character pakletteSome programs provide a menu option to enable you to enter characters that are not on the keyboard and with TextEdit there is a Special Characters item on the Edit menu. Click it and a Characters window opens that displays all the characters that are available.

They are organised into categories like Math, Arrows, Punctuation and so on. Just select the category, click a character and then click the Insert button to insert it into the document.

Not all programs provide this facility and it might seem impossible to insert characters that are not on the keyboard like hash and copyright. Fortunately, there is a simple solution. Click the Apple menu at the left-hand side of the menu bar and select System Preferences. Click International in the Personal section and click the Input Menu tab.

Tick the Character Palette option at the top and tick Show input menu in menu bar at the bottom. Close System Preferences and take a look at the menu bar - you'll see a new item. Click the flag and select Show Character Palette. You can keep this on the screen as you use any application you want and whenever you need a character that is not on the keyboard, you can simply select it in the Characters window and cick Insert.

Drag and drop email (10.4/5)

If you want to send a file to someone via email, you can start Mail, click the New Message button, click the Attach button, browse the hard disk drive contents until you find the file and then attach it. It's a slow and tedious process, but there's a much quicker way to do this.

If you can see the file in a Finder window, just click and drag it to the Mail icon in the Dock. When you drop it, Mail is started and a new message is automatically created with the file attached. The only thing to watch out for is images (an anything else that can be displayed in an email).

If you drop an image on the Mail icon a new email is created with the image in the message body rather than attached to it. You wouldn't want a high resolution photo actually in the message body because it's just too big. Images must be attached in the usual way rather than by drag and drop.

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