This is a basic introduction to the Apple operating system Mac OS X, as included on faculty Macs.
Upon completion of this 1-on-1 training, you will be able to:
If you are familiar with using a Mac but new to Apple’s newest operating system, Snow Leopard, see Mac OS X Snow Leopard Training .
To turn your Mac on, press the power button. The power button looks like this:
On an iMac, the power button is located on the back of the computer. On a MacBook, it is on the top right of the keyboard.
Once your computer turns on, you will see an Apple logo. After a while, you will be presented with the login window.
To log in, click your username. Then type your password and click Log In (or press Enter). After a moment you will see the Desktop.
The Desktop is the name for what you see on your screen right now: the menu bar at the top, the Dock at the bottom and various icons in between.
The Desktop can also mean the actual folder stored at /Users/yourname/Desktop, which contains the icons you see on your screen.
The Dock, located at the bottom of your screen, is intended to be a shortcut to the Finder and your most frequently used applications, folders and files.
On the left side of the Dock is the Finder (blue smiling icon) and applications. (more on that later)
On the right side of the Dock is the Trash and a place to store your favorite documents and locations.
The menu bar is a typical place to perform actions in various applications. The menu bar contains menus for the active application. The menu bar also contains a few icons on its right side that represent menus for other features on your Mac, such as Spotlight and sound volume.
The status menus are small icons on the right-hand side of the menu bar.
This black shield icon will display a white X if your anti-virus software is not updating properly. Click on it to access various options related to the anti-virus software. You should run a complete virus scan at least once a month.
This padlock icon contains a handy “Lock screen” command; if you only need to secure your computer for a few minutes and don’t want to completely log out.
This menu allows you to adjust the volume of your Mac’s speakers.
The clock displays the current time. Click for the date.
The magnifying glass icon allows you to search your entire computer for various files and information. Simply click on the icon and type what you’re looking for. It will search many different kinds of files and present you with the most relevant results.
Now let’s go on a brief tour of the applications in your Dock, at the bottom of the screen. We will start with the Finder on the left side.
The Finder is the application that allows you to deal directly with files, folders, CDs, network volumes and the icons on the Desktop. To open a Finder window, click on the Finder icon in the Dock.
Parts of a window
Safari (by Apple) or Firefox (by Mozilla) are both included on your Mac. Try them both out and pick your favorite as the default browser.
Put your favorite in the Dock, and remove the other. Also, set the default browser in Safari > Preferences > General.
Mail (by Apple) or Thunderbird (by Mozilla) are both included on your Mac. Try them both out and pick your favorite as the default email client.
Put your favorite in the Dock, and remove the other. Also, set the default email client in Mail > Preferences > General.
This suite of applications is located in the Applications folder. If you have specific questions about Office, contact the Technology Help Desk.
System Preferences is where you change many of your computer’s settings. We encourage you to poke around and mess with things. Among the favorites:
Other applications on your Mac can be found in the Applications folder. Among them are the following:
The Software Update program, located in the Apple menu, keeps your system software and Apple applications up to date. By default, it will prompt you automatically if there are updates available. You simply need to type your password and click Install.
Exposé is a feature that allows you to manage your open windows or move them out of your way quickly. To use it, press:
Pressing F12 brings up Dashboard, a new feature that uses “widgets” to present information in a simple interface. Some sample widgets have been included with your Mac. You can find more widgets at Apple’s website .
To turn your Mac off completely, choose Shut Down from the Apple menu, or press the Power key and then click Shut Down.
The operating system has its own searchable help system. Click on Help > Mac Help on the Menu Bar to access it, or just click on Help and then use the search box to find the information you need.
Mac 101 – If you’re just getting started with the Mac, this is a great resource to check out. The easy-to-understand website covers everything from a basic tour to detailed troubleshooting tips. (Some screenshots included with this documentation came from Mac 101.)