Favorite Mac Tricks in Terminal


-by Dusty Fields, Mariner Software Graphic Designer

Being a designer, I like to customize my Mac in any way possible to create my own experience. There are many hidden tweaks in Mac OS that can be done using the Terminal App found in Applications – Utilities. Please be careful using Terminal, as misuse could lead to data loss, so please use at your own risk. Here are some of my favorite tweaks easily done in Terminal:

1. Show Library Folder

In Mac OS 10.7 Lion, the Library folder is hidden by default. It is easy to show the Library by default. Launch Terminal and type this:

     chflags nohidden ~/Library

Hit enter and your Library folder will now appear in your home directory.

2. Change default PNG format for screenshots

I take a lot of screenshots, and sometimes I want to save them in a different format. Launch Terminal and type the following:

     defaults write com.apple.screencapture type -string “png”

You can use the following formats in the quotation marks: png, bmp, gif, jpg, pdf, tiff.

Hit enter, then type the following:

     killall SystemUIServer

This will reset the Screen Capture process. Now your screenshots will be saved in one of the formats you chose.

3. Save screenshots to another folder

My desktop is already messy, so I like to save them in another folder, like my Pictures folder. Launch Terminal and insert this:

     defaults write com.apple.screencapture location -string “$HOME/Pictures”

You can replace Pictures with any folder in your home directory. Hit enter and type:

     killall SystemUIServer

Now your screenshots will be saved in the folder of your choosing instead of your desktop.

4. Disable drop shadows in screenshots

When taking screenshots of individual windows, there is a nice drop shadow added by default. Even though it looks nice, I don’t always want the shadow there. To turn it off, type the following in Terminal:

     defaults write com.apple.screencapture disable-shadow -bool true

Hit enter and type:

     killall SystemUIServer

Now those shadows are gone for every new screenshot you take.

5. Show iTunes song notifications:

Finally, I always have iTunes running but I want to know what song just started without switching applications. This Terminal tip will display a notification, in the dock, every time a new song begins. Input the following in Terminal:

     defaults write com.apple.dock itunes-notifications -bool true

Hit enter and then type:

     killall Dock

Now you have iTunes song notifications!

Please note that all these tips have only been tested in Mac OS 10.7 Lion, so please use at your own risk.

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