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80,259 News Articles

Mac OS X Leopard's 10 most undervalued features

Our list of 10 lesser-known gems for Mac fans

Brotherly love in Boot Camp

Yes, I know Parallels Desktop 3 and VMware's Fusion are all the rage. But I don't like Windows sullying my pretty little Mac world, so it's Boot Camp for me, thank you very much. Boot Camp with Leopard will add the one feature I really care about: letting me copy files between my Mac and Windows partitions. I can say good bye to my USB drive (aka USBSNEAKERNET) once and for all.

Print preview

Being a printer guy, I've spent a lot of time over the years pondering the print dialog box. One thing has regularly confounded me: why can Microsoft can give me a (small) preview of what I'm about to print in Word or Excel, but I have to click a Preview button in the standard Print dialog box? I don't want to launch Preview to see the preview, especially because it's not really Preview, since I can't do anything other than preview. I want it inside the Print box. I'll need something new to complain about though, since Leopard gives me a nice big preview every time I go to print.

Better scripting

Automator has two new features that should make scripting more productive for experienced scripters and people like me, who know just enough to be dangerous, but not enough to be productive. The Watch Me Do feature will record any actions you perform, even in applications that aren't scriptable. And support for variables in Automator actions should make it much simpler to create complex actions, but it will also significantly expand the range of possible actions.

Wikipedia joins the Dictionary club

In Leopard, Wikipedia becomes a full-fledged part of Dictionary, with the full Apple look-and-feel. Sure, I can use Safari to do the same thing, but I like the uncluttered feel of the Dictionary, which is one of my favourite little OS X apps.

Scrolling background windows

A few months ago, I ran into an issue on the small screen of my MacBook, where I was going back and forth between Microsoft Excel and Safari, trying to synchronise data between a web page and an Excel workbook. All I was doing in Safari was scrolling the window as I was checking data. After the third click-to-Safari-and-back, I remarked to myself that I really wanted background scrolling capabilities. And Apple just went out and did it in Leopard. If you put your cursor over a non-active window, you can now use your trackpad or mouse's scroll wheel to scroll it up and down without having to click in it. That's cool.

Rick LePage is Macworld US's editor at large and curator of the Creative Notes blog.

See also:

Mac OS X launch: Leopard’s 10 most undervalued features

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: first review

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: Time Machine

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: Automator 2.0

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: Safari 3.0

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: Spotlight

Mac OS X Leopard: good news for Windows Vista?


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