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Software tips for your Mac

A consumer Mac comes very complete, with great applications. You can edit photos with Photos, make music with Garageband, create presentations with Keynote, create beautiful documents with Pages, spreadsheets with Numbers, edit video with iMovie, and so on. All of high quality and very user-friendly.

NOTE: Photos is standard on your hard drive, but you will still have to download the other apps (free of charge) from the App Store.

Interesting apps
However, there are a number of apps that you as a Mac user might appreciate:

VLC: video playback program, plays literally everything. The included QuickTime app is much less flexible.

Open Office: don't be tempted to take out an expensive subscription to MS Office!
The free alternative Open Office does exactly the same and costs NIKS. The problem is often: unknown makes unloved. You only need MS for very specific matters.
Libre Office:
MacMiep itself prefers Libre Office. Does the same, can be downloaded from the AppStore (safe!) And tastes just a bit better. Another flavor is Neo Office.

Malwarebytes checks your Mac for bad software. Unfortunately, we Maccers can also fall victim to bad programmers. It is not (yet) necessary to run it 24/7 in the background, but at least make sure it is on your Mac and use it once a week or so.

Installing a printer
Connect your printer first. To install it, go to System Preferences => Printers & Scanners.
Click on the + symbol to add your printer.

Choose the correct printer and driver in the Add printer window and then choose Add at the bottom right.

Now you can use your printer:

Installing printer software
MacOS comes standard with a hefty load of printer drivers (operating programs). If your printer is not listed, you will have to install a so-called 'driver'. Visit the manufacturer's website for this.

In this case, MacMiep's CanonMG4200 needed a new driver for MacOS 11 Big Sur.
Downloaded it from the Canon website. What you get is a .dmg file:

Double clicking opens the file to a Virtual Disk with a .pkg on it. That is the installer:

Another double click starts the installer:

Installing needs an Administrator password:

Now you go to System Preferences => Printers and Scanners. Click on the + to add a printer:

Click Add to choose your printer:

And there it is:

The virtual disk can now be thrown away in the bin:

Or ejected via the Side Bar:

How do I print a document?
You will find printing under the heading File as 'Print ...'.

Create universal PDF files
Sometimes you've created something in a program that someone else doesn't have and you want to exchange the file anyway. What you can do is have the Mac create a PDF file with a print command. PDF (Portable Document File) is so established on every computer that it can be read all over the world.

What should you do
Pretend to print and choose Print ... from the File menu. However, select 'Save as PDF' instead of Print. You can then send this PDF to be opened on any computer with Adobe Acrobat Reader on board. You can also email a PDF directly.

Inside the Applications folder is a folder called Utilities. Most of them do their work in the background, but sometimes you may need them. A summary:

Activity display
Here you can see how hard the processor (CPU) is working and on which programs. Plus how your hard disk usage is.

Airport Configuration Utility
Have you purchased a wireless WiFi base station (Airport) from Apple? With this program you configure your network.

Audio MIDI configuration
Settings and drivers for audio and midi devices.

Bluetooth file exchange
Controls wireless communication with suitable equipment such as telephones and PDAs.

Boot Camp Assistant
Helps you install Windows or Linux on your Mac. More in chapter Switching.

Colorsync utility
Color management and calibration, interesting for graphic artists.

The place to view all system and program logs aka "logs".

Digital color meter
Measure the RedGreenBlue (RGB) values ​​from any point on your screen.

Show math graphs.

Migration Assistant
If you buy a new Mac, this program is useful for transferring your files (also for Switchers!).

This is how MacMiep gets all those pictures: Screenshot takes a photo (or film) of your screen. As soon as you start it, a list of options will appear at the bottom of your screen:

From left to right:
- Photograph entire screen (Command-3)
- Shoot window (Command-4 plus mouse click)
- Selection of photography: draw a square with your mouse around what you want in the frame
- Make movie from whole screen
- Make movie from selection

Under Options you can choose, among other things, where the screenshots should be saved:

Printscreen and clipboard
When you take a screenshot in Windows (Alt - PrtScn if MacMiep remembers correctly), it ends up in the clipboard, after which you paste it into a document. On the Mac you will see the image (default) appear on the Desktop.
You can change this under options to a different location, or to 'Clipboard'.
You can take as many images in a row as you want. These will then be named: "Screenshot-date-time".
The images are in .PNG format.

Disk Utility
Checks, clears and partitions hard drives. Can also create virtual disks (disk image, dmg).

Script editor
AppleScript is a programming language that allows you to automate tasks on your Mac. For advanced users.

Keychain access
Stores all your passwords for websites, e-mail and the like in a safe way. It also checks security certificates of websites.

System information
Tells you everything about your Mac in terms of hardware and software. Details in chapter about your Mac.

Control yourself with tapped commands. For the UNIX geeks among us.

VoiceOver Utility
Control the Mac by voice and let your Mac speak to you.

Burn CDs or DVDs (for those who still do that)
Burning CDs is integrated in macOS. There is no separate program for it.
As soon as you put an empty disc in the player, the Finder responds with the question what you want to do with the empty CD / DVD. If you only want to burn data, then choose as Task: Open Finder.

Insert a blank CD or DVD in the slot of your Mac or in the separate USB burner.
If you choose Open Finder, there will be a CD icon in the sidebar, on which you drag the data to burn.

To burn the CD, click the nuclear button. The Mac will now ask if you want to burn the CD yes or no.

Install uncertified software
You downloaded software that is not available in the App Store and whose developer is not certified by Apple.
Once you run the program or installer, the Mac will refuse to install or launch the app:

This does S.I.P. System Integrity Protection. More about this in chapter Security.

If you want to install this software, you can. Go to System Preferences => Security & Privacy. => General.
There will be a notice that the installation of program X is not allowed because it is not from a known developer.
However, you can still approve it here. Of course you need an administrator password. After this, the program will work.

Of course completely at your own risk!

The next chapter is:
your Mac on the web

making music with Garageband

Disclaimer: MacMiep is independent. This means she writes what she wants, based on 30 years of Mac-experience. She doesn't get paid for stories (positive or negative) on this website. MacMiep is not interested in your data. However, she does use Google's services. Google is indeed interested. Are you happy with MacMiep? Please support your local cat shelter.