OS X El Capitan For Dummies

OS X El Capitan For Dummies

by Bob LeVitus


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Get up to speed on the latest Mac OS

Getting a new Mac and not knowing how to use it is like getting a remote controlled car for Christmas with no batteries. OS X For Dummies powers your understanding of the latest Mac operating system through straightforward, fun content that covers the basic features and functions you need to know. An essential text if you're not already familiar with Apple technology, this resource walks you through the fundamentals of Apple's Mac OS, shows you how to customize your workspace, work with the Dock, leverage the Finder and Finder Tabs, understand files, folders, and tags, find things with Spotlight, use Mission Control and Launchpad, organize your life through Calendar, Reminders, Notes, and Notifications, and much more.

Apple is one of the most popular technology companies in the world, known for its ability to combine power and stability with style. Since all of Apple's products function according to its proprietary operating system, it's essential that you understand how to use the OS to make the most of your tech toys.
  • Take your communication to the next level with email and messaging capabilities
  • Enjoy multi-media entertainment by surfing the web and accessing movies, music, ebooks, and digital photos
  • Let your creative side run free with Text Edit
  • Create a seamless digital experience by connecting a printer, running multiple displays, networking, file sharing, backing up and restoring your system, and keeping your machine safe with Gatekeeper

OS X For Dummies breaks down Apple's Mac operating system into bite-sized pieces, allowing you to digest small morsels of information that guide you in navigating your new Apple gadget.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781119149613
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 10/26/2015
Series: For Dummies Books
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 1,087,534
Product dimensions: 7.40(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Bob LeVitus, aka "Dr. Mac," has penned the popular Dr. Mac column for the Houston Chronicle since 1996. He's a regular speaker at tech conferences worldwide and the author of more than 70 popular computer books, including multiple editions of iPhone For Dummies, iPad For Dummies, and every version of OS X For Dummies.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Conventions Used in This Book 2

Foolish Assumptions 3

Beyond the Book 3

Icons Used in This Book 3

Where to Go from Here 4

Part I: Introducing OS X El Capitan: The Basics 5

Chapter 1: OS X El Capitan 101 (Prerequisites: None) 7

Gnawing to the Core of OS X 8

A Safety Net for the Absolute Beginner (or Any User) 10

Turning the dang thing on 10

What you should see on startup 10

Shutting down properly 13

A few things you should definitely not do with your Mac 15

Point-and-click boot camp 16

Not Just a Beatles Movie: Help and the Help Menu 18

Chapter 2: Desktop and Windows and Menus (Oh My!) 23

Touring the Finder and Its Desktop 24

Anatomy of a Window 25

Top o’ the window to ya! 28

A scroll new world 29

(Hyper)active windows 31

Dialog Dealie-Boppers 32

Working with Windows 34

Opening and closing windows 34

Resizing windows and window panes 35

Moving windows 35

Shuffling windows 36

Menu Basics 38

The ever-changing menu bar 39

Contextual menus: They’re sooo contextual! 39

Recognizing disabled options 41

Navigating submenus 42

Under the Apple menu tree 43

Using keyboard shortcut commands 44

Chapter 3: What’s Up, Dock? 47

A Quick Introduction to Your Dock 48

The default icons of the Dock 48

Trash talkin’ 51

Opening application menus on the Dock 53

Reading Dock icon body language 55

Opening files from the Dock 56

Customizing Your Dock 56

Adding Dock icons 56

Removing an icon from the Dock 59

Resizing the Dock 59

What should you put on your Dock? 60

Setting your Dock preferences 61

Chapter 4: Delving Deeper into the Finder and Its Desktop 67

Introducing the Finder and Its Minions: The Desktop and Icons 67

Introducing the Desktop 68

Bellying up to the toolbar 70

Figuring out what an icon is 73

Identifying your Finder icons in the wild 74

Aliases Are Awesome! 76

Creating aliases 78

Deleting aliases 79

Hunting down an alias’s parent 79

The View(s) from a Window 79

Moving through folders fast in Column view 80

Perusing in Icon view 82

Listless? Try touring folders in List view 83

You gotta go with the flow 84

What’s on the (View) menu? 85

Finder on the Menu 86

The actual Finder menu 87

Like a road map: The current folder’s pop-up menu 89

Going places with the Go menu 90

Customizing Finder Windows 92

Adding folders to the Sidebar 92

Setting Finder preferences 93

Digging for Icon Data in the Info Window 97

Part II: Inside El Capitan (or How Stuff Works) 101

Chapter 5: Have It Your Way 103

Introducing System Preferences 103

Putting a Picture on the Desktop 106

Setting Up a Screen Saver 107

Putting Widgets on the Dashboard 108

Translation 111

Flight Tracker 112

Giving Buttons, Menus, and Windows a Makeover 113

Adjusting the Keyboard, Mouse, Trackpad, and Other Hardware 116

Keyboard 116

Mouse 121

Bluetooth 122

Trackpad (notebooks and desktops with a Magic Trackpad) 123

Styling Your Sound 124

Changing sound effects 124

Choosing output and input options 125

Chapter 6: The Care and Feeding of Files and Folders 127

A Quick Primer on Finding Files 128

Understanding the OS X Folder Structure 128

Understanding nested folders 129

From the top: The Computer folder 130

Peeking into the Applications folder 131

Visiting the Library folders 131

Let it be: The System folder 132

There’s no place like Home 132

Your personal Library card 135

Saving Your Document Before It’s Too Late 137

Stepping through a basic Save 138

Save As versus Duplicate: Different names for the same result 144

Open, Sez Me 146

With drag-and-drop 148

With a Quick Look 148

When your Mac can’t open a file 149

With the application of your choice 150

Organizing Your Stuff in Folders 152

Files versus folders 152

Organizing your stuff with subfolders 153

Creating new folders 155

Navigating with spring-loaded folders 155

Smart folders 156

Shuffling Files and Folders 159

Moving files and folders 159

Selecting multiple icons 160

Playing the icon name game: Renaming icons 161

Comprehending the Clipboard 163

Copying files and folders 163

Pasting from the Clipboard 165

Compressing files 165

Getting rid of icons 166

The Incredible New iCloud Drive 166

Chapter 7: Four Terrific Timesaving Tools 169

With a Quick Look 169

Share and share alike with the Share menu 172

Slide into Slideshow (full-screen) mode 172

Spotlight on Finding Files and Folders Faster 173

Using the Search box in Finder windows 174

Using the Spotlight menu and window 176

Blast Off with Mission Control 178

The Mission Control pane: It’s painless 178

Hot corners! 181

Spaces from 30,000 feet (an overview) 182

Getting around in space(s) 186

Launchpad: The Place for Applications 187

Customizing Your Launchpad 188

Part III: Getting Things Done in El Capitan 191

Chapter 8: Organizing Your Life 193

Keeping Track with Calendar 194

Navigating Calendar views 194

Creating calendars 195

Deleting a calendar 196

Creating and managing events 196

Reminders: Protection Against Forgetting 200

Getting started with Reminders 200

To do or not to do: Setting reminders 201

Everything You Need to Know about the Notification Center 202

Use Notes for Making Notes 206

Chapter 9: (Inter)Networking 209

Getting Connected to the Internet 210

Your Internet service provider and you 210

Setting up your modem 211

Plugging in your Internet-connection settings 212

Browsing the Web with Safari 213

Owning your toolbar 214

Using the Safari Sidebar 217

Using the terrific Top Sites page 220

Searching with Google 221

Checking out Help Center 223

Audio and Video Calls with FaceTime 223

Chapter 10: Finding People and Places 227

Collecting Your Contacts 227

Adding contacts 228

Importing contacts from other programs 230

Creating a basic group 231

Setting up a smart group (based on contact criteria) 231

Deleting a group or smart group 233

The view is lovely 233

Sync + Contacts = Your contacts everywhere 233

Maps Are Where It’s At 235

Finding your current location with Maps 235

Finding a person, place, or thing 235

Views, zooms, and pans 237

Maps and Contacts 239

Timesaving map tools: Favorites, Recents, and Contacts 240

Smart map tricks 241

Chapter 11: Communicating with Mail and Messages 247

Sending and Receiving Email with Mail 247

Setting up Mail 248

A quick overview of the toolbar 249

Composing a new message 251

Sending email from the Contacts app 253

Working with stationery 254

Checking your mail 255

Dealing with spam 257

Mailboxes smart and plain 257

Changing your preferences 260

Sign here, please 261

Mail rules rule 262

Relative Newcomers: Markup and Mail Drop 265

Communicating with Messages 267

What the heck is an iMessage? 267

Chit-chatting with Messages 268

Chapter 12: Sharing Your Mac and Liking It 271

Introducing Networks and File Sharing 272

Portrait of home office networking 273

Three ways to build a network 275

Setting Up File Sharing 276

Access and Permissions: Who Can Do What 278

Users and groups and guests 278

Creating users 280

OS X knows best: Folders shared by default 286

Sharing a folder or disk by setting permissions 288

Useful settings for permissions 292

Unsharing a folder 294

Connecting to a Shared Disk or Folder on a Remote Mac 294

Changing Your Password 298

Changing your account password on your Mac 298

Changing the password of any account but your own on your Mac 299

Changing the password for your account on someone else’s Mac 300

More Types of Sharing 300

Screen Sharing 301

Internet Sharing 301

And yet more ways to share 302

Part IV: Getting Creative in El Capitan 305

Chapter 13: The Musical Mac 307

Apple Music and iTunes Match Rock! 308

Introducing iTunes 309

Working with Media 312

Adding songs 312

Adding movies and TV shows 314

Adding podcasts 315

Learning from iTunes U 316

Listening to iTunes Radio 316

All About Playlists 317

Creating a regular playlist 317

Working with smart playlists 320

Burning a playlist to CD 321

Looking at the Genius playlist 322

Chapter 14: The Multimedia Mac 325

Playing Movies and Music in QuickTime Player 325

iBooks on the Mac 327

Buying iBooks 328

Shopping for books without Apple 330

Reading iBooks 331

You’re the Star with Photo Booth 333

Viewing and Converting Images and PDFs in Preview 334

Importing Media 336

Downloading photos from a camera 336

Downloading DV video from a camcorder 339

Chapter 15: Words and Letters 341

Processing Words with TextEdit 341

Creating and composing a document 342

Working with text 343

Adding graphics to documents 346

Font Mania 347

Types of fonts 348

Managing your fonts with Font Book 348

Installing fonts manually 349

Chapter 16: Publish or Perish: The Fail-Safe Guide to Printing 351

Before Diving In 351

Ready: Connecting and Adding Your Printer 352

Connecting your printer 352

Setting up a printer for the first time 353

One last thing: Printer sharing 355

Set: Setting Up Your Document with Page Setup 356

Print: Printing with the Print Sheet 358

Printing a document 358

Choosing among different printers 359

Choosing custom settings 359

Saving custom settings 362

Preview and PDF Options 362

Part V: The Care and Feeding of El Capitan 365

Chapter 17: Features for the Way You Work 367

Talking and Listening to Your Mac 367

Dictation & Speech System Preferences pane:

You talk and your Mac types 368

Commanding your Mac by voice 369

Listening to your Mac read for you 371

Automatic Automation 374

Script Editor app: Write and edit AppleScripts 375

Automator app: Automate almost anything 376

A Few More Useful Goodies 378

App Store app: The place to buy Mac apps 378

Accessibility System Preferences pane: Make your Mac more accessible 379

Energy Saver System Preferences Pane: For energy conservation and sleep 380

Bluetooth System Preferences pane: Where Bluetooth lives 382

Ink System Preferences pane: Visible to pen-input tablet users only 382

Automatic Login in the Users & Groups System Preferences pane: Don’t bother with the login screen 383

Boot Camp Assistant app: Run Windows on your Mac really 383

AirPlay mirroring 384

Handoff 385

Chapter 18: Safety First: Backups and Other Security Issues 387

Backing Up Is (Not) Hard to Do 388

Backing up with El Capitan’s excellent Time Machine 388

Backing up by using the manual, brute-force method 392

Backing up by using commercial backup software 393

Why You Need Two Sets of Backups 393

Non-Backup Security Concerns 394

About viruses and other malware 394

Firewall: Yea or nay? 397

Install recommended software updates 398

Protecting Your Data from Prying Eyes 399

Blocking or limiting connections 399

Locking down files with FileVault 399

Setting other options for security 400

Chapter 19: Utility Chest 403

Calculator 403

Activity Monitor 404

Disk Utility 406

First Aid button 406

Partition button 406

Erase button 407

Mount/Unmount button 407

Info button 408

Grab 408

Grapher 408

Keychain Access 409

Migration Assistant 410

System Information 411

Terminal 411

Chapter 20: Troubleshooting OS X 413

About Startup Disks and Booting 413

Finding or creating a startup disk 414

They call it a prohibitory sign for a reason 414

Recovering with Recovery HD 416

Step 1: Run First Aid 417

Step 2: Safe Boot into Safe Mode 418

Step 3: Zapping the PRAM/NVRAM 419

Step 4: Reinstalling OS X 420

Step 5: Things to try before taking your Mac in for repair 420

If Your Mac Crashes at Startup 422

Part VI: The Part of Tens 423

Chapter 21: Almost Ten Ways to Speed Up Your Mac Experience 425

Use Those Keyboard Shortcuts 426

Improve Your Typing Skills 427

Resolution: It’s Not Just for New Year’s Day Anymore 427

A Mac with a View — and Preferences, Too 429

Get a New, Faster Model 431

You Can Never Have Too Much RAM! 432

Get an Accelerated Graphics Card 432

Get a Solid-State Drive (SSD) 433

Get a New Hard Drive 433

Chapter 22: Ten Great Websites for Mac Freaks 435

The Mac Observer 436

Macworld 436

AppleWorld.Today 436

TidBITS 437

Download.com 437

Alltop 438

Apple Support 439

Other World Computing 440

EveryMac.com 440

dealmac 440

Index 443

Customer Reviews