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Navigating Files

The Apple Finder works a lot like Windows Explorer, with a few notable exceptions. In the world of the Mac, there is no such thing as a drive letter. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the right mouse button actually does something.

Using a two-button mouse with the roller wheel on the Mini works much like what you would expect in Windows. Right-click on the desktop, and you get a pop-up window with a list of similar options. One difference with Tiger is the Automator menu option for creating a workflow of actions. (Automator is another new feature in Tiger that would take an entire article to adequately explain.) The roller wheel is really useful when you need to quickly scroll through a list of files in the Finder or down a web page.

Spotlight is another new feature in Tiger that should prove to be a real time saver. I haven't realized the full potential of search on the Mini because it hasn't been my primary machine. I have been using the Google desktop search on my primary PC, and it has saved me significant amounts of time. My Outlook PST file is more than 1.2GB, and finding old emails can take a while just using the built-in search feature. With Google desktop and the right keywords, I can find what I'm looking for in a few seconds.

To use Spotlight, you simply click the magnifying glass icon in the top-right corner of the screen or press the Apple (Windows)+Spacebar key combination. This opens a small dialog box with single text entry area. Typing in a search term and pressing the Enter key opens a drop-down box showing the top hit, applications, documents, folders, and more. If you know the name of an application but don't know where it's located, you can quickly find it with Spotlight (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

Figure 1 Spotlight keeps an index of all the files on your hard drive and the content of readable files for quick searches.

Smart folders are another one of those topics that you could write a lot about. This feature lets you do things such as save the results of a Spotlight search as a smart folder. The result is a new folder that automatically updates as you add or remove items that Spotlight can search for. Smart folders also work inside Mail and Finder.

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