Mac OS Tips #2 [apps, shortcuts, commands]

This is about my experience in Mac OS usage and customization.

Previous post related to Mac OS you can read here, and it was mainly about weird and odd default behavior of Mac OS which is expected after migration from Windows.

In this article, I will list items, which I performed to tweak Mac OS, to customize it in somehow, better intuitive manner for me.




  1. Launchpad. First of all a bit surprised, but still. From all application I had initially I I do use maybe ~10%. It shows me, that Default Mac Software is somehow useless for me. I don’t even use Mail 🙂 Gmail app on Chrome is better for me.
    • Top usage: Finder/Xtrafinder (don’t like it sometimes, but use it), Preview, Dropbox, MS Office (need renew), Adobe Reader, SublimeText, Chrome, Firefox, Firefox-Dev-Mode, Safari, Skype, Calendar, Family Tree Builder, Pages, Numbers (when MS Office doesn’t work), VLC, Activity Monitor,  mTorrent, Dash, Flickr Uploader, Photoshop (but expired already, need somehow renew). Strange but no time to use Music/iTunes these days. I have a few other apps but not use frequently.
  2. I modified UA keyboard layout by Ukelele 2.2.2 Keyboard layout as described in my previous post. But as turned out, Ukelele layout has issue with MyHeritage software (Family Tree Builder). In fact as bug report tells me, there was issue with non-Roman text. So I get back to standard “Ukrainian – PC” layout, which is in fact exactly what I needed.
  3. Another software – Karabiner helped me with some keyboard/shortcut customization.
  4. Started to use ZSH – in fact “Oh My Z.SH“. Very useful.
  5. Tweaked Finder to be more user-friendly by using Extra Finder.
  6. I don’t play game AT ALL, so I wanted to disable/remove Game Center because of annoying notifications. It’s forbidden to remove it from Finder by user action, but we can delete it from CLI. Refs: this.
    $ cd /Applications; rm -rf Game\

    But even this way requires sudo. So once again I re-think and NOT removed Game But I went to Settings \ Notifications and disabled all notifications.

  7. Discovered, that capturing screen – recording video is very simple on Mac OS – just run QuickTime player and select “New Recording”. More details here.
  8. MacX Youtube Downloader Free – Extremely great program. Just do what it has in its name 🙂



Not always, keyboard combinations are the same as on Windows, and when I started with Mac OS, I faced with not intuitive approach. Nevertheless, I collected shortcuts, which I was looking and found finally, and using all the time.

  1. By default there is setting to DISABLE zoom 🙂 ODD, but true. So to zoom in/out inside of MS Word document as usual you have to go to:
    • Accessibility:”ENABLE zoom”.
    • Accessibility: Change setting of scroll gesture from “Control” (default setting) to “Command” or any u like.Scroll_gesture
    • Tricky part: In fact re-arrangement  from Control to Command did the magic, ONLY after change from ‘Command’ to ‘Control’, old well known Word /Windows shortcut Ctrl+Scroll IS AVAILABLE. So now u can Ctrl+Scroll (on Mac it’s 2 fingers together up and down on touch-pad). Hooray, finally.
      But I should say, that it’s crazy fast, so VERY not convenient.
  2. Cmd+` – switch between Word documents OR ANY Microsoft Office or ANY sub instances of APP. Like you have many open PDF files, or similar. This is a universal Macintosh shortcut for moving through open windows within an application or the Finder.
  3. Ctrl+Tab – switch between browser tabs. Nothing new for me, but just matter of mention – after I started usage XtraFinder Cmd+` doesn’t work for Finder. But works for other apps.
  4. Cmd-Alt-Esc – list of running process with ability to kill/force to quit.
  5. Finder – expand all folders: Cmd+A and then Cmd-"->"
  6. Page Up/Down, Home/End – very painful not only at the beginning, but always. Here is resource 1 and resource 2 for more details.
  7. CONSOLE/TERMINAL. I don’t know from where Addy Osmani take this image, but it’s very nice 🙂
    Besides these, we have a few other MAGIC:

    • Ctrl+L – clear screen.
    • Ctrl+E – go to end of line and Ctrl+A – go to begin of line.


    NOTE: IT’S NOT ABOUT change Ctrl to Cmd, IT IS REAL CTRL key used/needed.

    • ALT+Click – change cursor position
    • Shift+Cmd+<, > – switch between tabs or 3-fingers swipe

    AND many other command line shortcuts here in Table Of Keyboard Shortcuts [wiki].

  8. Dialog Window navigation by Tab” behavior, which I get used, which I think should be default WAS DISABLED, by default. Here is how to enable. In fact one command “save the world”: Ctrl+F7 change the setting, but NO Icons shown. Here is detailed description what does it mean.



As I am CLI-oriented person, sometimes I’m lazy even click the mouse pointer 🙂 But I’m not lazy to type some commands. So this section about a few of them, I’ve recently discovered.

  1. To show limitation of open files, hit:
    launchctl limit maxfiles
  2. To set/change shell engine to default or any other provided
    chsh -s /bin/bash

    . More details on page related to ZSH.

  3. To get/show file encoding hit:
    file -I {filename}
  4. To show hidden files, run this:
    defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -bool YES

    Then restart Finder, and you will see many hidden files including .DS_store and .localized. More details here or here.

  5. As many may know ifconfig and nslookup and traceroute but new for me was this command:
    networksetup -listallhardwareports

    It show list of installed network hardware. Can be useful in network issues troubleshooting.

  6. I was playing with JavaScript plugin for Node.JS how to get wifi password, and spotted on interesting command under the hood – security.
    This will show you list of keychain files:

    security find-keychains

    This will show you IN FACT password of WIFI network, if it accessible 🙂

    security find-generic-password -D "Airport network password"
  7. And another command I discovered is airport.
    But is hidden very deep 🙂

    cd /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/airport

    But when you cd to that executable, you are able to run command with parameter:

    ./airport -i

    which will show you detailed information on wireless signal quality, noise, security, and other WiFi network attributes

    ./airport -s

    which will perform WiFi broadcast scan and show the list of WiFi networks around you.

    The airport command is more powerful than just being able to list information on the current wireless network though, you can actually manually adjust any wi-fi settings, network card settings, troubleshoot networks, change security types used on a connection, capture packets into a pcap file, join and leave networks, disassociate from a wifi network, prioritize routers and networks, see signal strength and interference, adjust wi-fi hardware drivers, and perform a huge variety of network troubleshooting functions too. This is easily one of the most powerful ways to interact with a wireless card on a Mac.


I found a few bugs in Mac-related software. Some of them already reported, some are being tested and sooner or later I will post short summary about them.



I’m still looking better software for DJVU format.

I tried 4 applications, and all of them somehow but bad. If someone have any better suggestion, please let me know.


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