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Mac hints and tips

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Use the right thesaurus (10.4/5)

If you are writing a letter or document and you want to use an alternative word for something, you can look the word up in a thesaurus. For example, if you have over used the word 'happy' in your text, you could replace it with cheerful, merry, joyful and so on. It will brighten up the text and make it far more interesting, although you shouldn't go too far (remember that episode of Friends where Joey writes a letter on Chandler's laptop using a thesaurus?)

If you look in the Applications folder you will see a Dictionary program. Run it and click the Thesaurus button, then type in a word, such as 'happy' You will find that it is not a thesaurus at all and it simply finds all words or phrases that start with the word 'happy'. Try it with 'sad' and you'll get sadden, saddle, sadistic and sadness, none of which are appropriate substitutions for 'sad'.

Mac dictionary widgetFortunately, there is a very useful Dictionary widget supplied with OS X that is far superior to this application.

Press the F12 key to display your widgets and if you can't see the Dictionary, click the Plus icon in the bottom left corner of the screen.

This will list all the widgets that are installed, but not necessarily visible.

Find the Dictionary widget (you might need to scroll left or right to view all the widgets), and then click it to add it to the desktop.

Now you can select Thesaurus in its pop-up menu and enter the word you want alternatives for. This time you will see lots of alternatives for 'happy', 'sad' and any other words you care to enter.

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