How to Use a Mac Computer

Want to know how to use a Mac computer? Luckily, Apple has designed the Mac OS to be extremely user-friendly and intuitive. If you've switched from Windows, you might have some adjusting to do. If you're a first-time computer user, the Mac computer is simple and powerful to use.

The Dock
The Dock is the toolbar at the bottom or side of your desktop that has a lot of important links and tools to help you use your Macintosh computer. The Dock displays visual representations of programs and files; for example, the calendar icon looks like a desk calendar, and the trash looks like a garbage can. You can customize the Dock to hold applications you want to use regularly. The Mac OS also comes with some default icons in the Dock for you: iTunes, Safari, Mail and Address book, among others.

When you're using an application, its icon appears in the Dock, with a blue glow surrounding it. When you're done with the application, the icon vanishes from the Dock, unless it's a program that normally lives there. You can use icons in your Dock to switch back and forth between active applications, or to find minimized programs; they go back to the Dock when you're not using them, until you close them.

The Finder
The Finder is the Mac equivalent of Windows Explorer and Search, all rolled into one. The Finder is pretty self-explanatory. A directory tree appears in the left column of the Finder window, and the contents of the selected directory display in the right window pane. You can double-click folders to view contents. Pressing the Back button to backs out of a folder or directory.

You can use the Applications folder to browse and select an application that you'd like to load, or the User folder to navigate personal documents, photos and other files. If you don't know where your file is stored, simply type what you're seeking in the Search field in the upper-right corner of the Finder window, and you'll get a list of matching results.

The Menu Bar
The Menu Bar at the top of the screen is your key to interacting with most applications. Many application functions live on the Menu Bar under various headings. When text on the Menu Bar is black, you can select it and perform those functions. When text is gray, those functions aren't currently available. The Menu Bar changes depending on what application you're using, so familiarize yourself with the different commands available with different applications.

Quitting and Minimizing Programs
The red button in the upper-left corner of a given window or application is the Close command, while the yellow button means minimize. Just because you close a window doesn't mean the application is closed; to quit most applications, you must select the Quit command from the application menu. You can also press the Apple button and the Q button on your keyboard simultaneously to quit an application.

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