Windows Users Guide to OSX

Windows power-users guide to OS X

As a long time windows user, there were a few things to get used to, a few stumbling blocks if you like.

A useful introductions:

A couple of quick tips that mattered for me:

  • Installing applications is by
    • downloading a .dmg file.
    • double click the download, which creates a folder on the desktop.
    • double click the folder, which opens a pop-up or folder.
    • drag the application (or images, sometimes) into the applications folder in the finder.
  • The command key (with the apple on) tends to be used for things you are used to using control with. e.g. cut and paste.
  • You don’t quit applications when the last window closes (usually). Check the little black arrows under the icons in the dock for what is really open.
  • Items like ‘preferences’ and ‘quit’ are under the applications menu at the top left of the screen, one left of the ‘file’ menu.
  • To get an acute e (é), you would press Optione and then e again. Optione then a for an á.

Keyboard issues

There are a few keyboard things that are still bugging me. For example, when using the finder (windows explorer equivalent), you can navigate with the arrow keys, but when you get to what you want, enter is the “rename file” command! (Press cmdo instead).

The main issue is with text editing. I used the end, home, page up and page down commands a lot on windows. I’m not a fan of swapping from mouse to keyboard all the time.

In OS X, the keys are there (looking different, but like they do the same thing), but they rarely work as expected. I’m not saying that it should work the same, but it should work in some way, and be consistent across applications.

Whilst editing in a text box, cmdleftarrow goes to the start of the line, altleft arrow goes to the start of the previous word, and adding shift selects the text in between. That’s fine, but it’s a more complicated process than using the end/home buttons, which simply scroll the window (without affecting the cursor).

Luckily my favorite text editor (Jedit) still works as expected, but for other applications, the key functions for this vary a great deal.

Since then, I’ve gotten used the OSX way of things, and Textmate is easily my favorite editor.

One contribution to “Windows Users Guide to OSX

  1. Thank you for the quick summary. Two months ago, I started a new job, and everyone uses Macs. It’s been challenging at times to remember what keys to use. I agree, I wish the home, end, page up and page down keys would work on the Mac as they do on Windows.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *