Back to the Mac - and where are my documents?

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Moving back to the MacBook from the iPhone for a change, and I'm struggling to understand how things are organised on the Mac.

For example, where are my documents? I have a Documents stack, but this doesn't contain the same files as the Documents folder in Finder in the "Places" section. Is one a sub-set of the other or are they two different places?

To make matters worse I have an external hard drive which contains all my old PC files. I have used the same names for some of the folders on the Mac that I was familiar with on the PC. Sensible enough, you might think. But if I open a file on the external drive and then want to save it to the new folder on the Mac, things get very confusing as the folder names come up in the file explorer, but I can't see the whole file pat as I would have done in Windows. Hence I keep saving stuff on the Mac onto the external drive by mistake, and vice versa.

OK I know I could go to the trouble of coding the folder names so I know which device they are on, but surely that's not necessary is it? And anyway, there's a Documents folder in Finder, as I mentioned above, but there's also a Documents folder listed under "Desktop" and another under Places/My MacBook name - they all list similar contents, so they seem to be different views of the same thing - but not quite. Can anyone clarify this for me, or maybe point to a help article on the Apple website or somewhere else?

And what's going on in the stacks - what exactly are they?

About Nigel Harris

Nigel Harris

I'm a partner with Burton Sweet, chartered accountants & business advisers, and run the Shepton Mallet office down in beautiful Somerset. Despite the name, Shepton Mallet is actually the home of Glastonbury Festival! I trained in audit and corporate tax with Grant Thornton and came to my current position in 1991 via small local practices and a stint with a training consortium.

I have the distinction of being one of the original members of the AccountingWEB editorial team, having been a freelance writer here for a year or so before John Stockdyk joined!

 

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By KH
27th May 2010 11:25

tell the mac what to do

When saving a document, of any kind, use the SaveAs function first, and, using the pop-up save dialogue box, route the document to wherever you want to store it ... I have folders named ClientsLtd, ClientsST, etc, and in the ClientsST (sole traders) I have a folder for each client, e.g. "Woods, Ken, Solicitor", etc.

All my client folders are contained in the Users Folder, subfolder MyName (Home Folder). I don't bother with the other Documents folders .... I find some programmes download stuff to these folders by default, and I don't want all my client stuff mixed up with a load of other info which I never even bother to look at.

You can put folders wherever you wish, but, since my Home folder is encrypted, and the rest of the machine isn't, I set up folders for all the interesting bits in my Home Folder (you can always find this by clicking on the machine hard disk, then clicking on Users, and that should display all the users and their respective home folders.

Hope this helps. If any problems, you can always get back to me .... try using <[email protected]> and I'll see if I can help.

Basically, whatever programme you are using, you set the defaults to save files to wherever you wish. And then, whenever working on a new file, always use SaveAs, and route the file to wherever you want.

I find this simplicity itself, but then I find Windows extremely trying! Hah, horses for courses, and all that stuff.

-- KH

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27th May 2010 23:45

Mac Files and Tips

Hi 

I use a mac and windows for my clients  ,  and I agree with all the above points you need to tell the Mac where you are saving it to and that is no different to windows. 

I  have read some of your blog before, and it comes across as if you are still nervous of your Mac. and I thing you may need to do some house keeping with your files and try to embrace the new  .  I went to the ONE to ONE training in the Apple store and one of the best things they thought me was to stop trying to use my Mac as a windows machine and learn how to use finder. The more I was trying to use it as a windows machine the more irritated I got.  It is so much easier then windows explore as you do not need to open files to read them.  I know in windows 7 they have a preview screen but it does not let you see the whole document without  opening it and is annoying .

Here are some helpful hints

1) In Finder on the top left hand corner under devices you will see your external drive double click and you will see all your files with the external drive only.

2) Files that you have saved to Desktop will be in the desktop icon 

3) Files that you have saved to your Documents and Subfolders will be under documents 

If you what them under the same roof then move them and delete duplicates . Your computer name is just an umbrella for everything

4) You can look at your files in various ways , there are 4 boxes together in the grey shaded area  beside the ? on the the top of Finder and if you press any of those they will display your files in various ways.

5) On the right of those four boxes you have another two which are very useful which look like a eye and a star 

    the star allows to move your files to trash and set up new folders extra.

   and the eye allows you to have a quick look without opening file.

I think you will find this useful and the different viewings also give you various info on your file 

  For example 

6) Put your files into the view as if you are looking at a single picture of your file just like the IPOD when viewing your albums.  You will need to double click in too your folders to see your files as individual files.

This is where apple is great, as it does not open your files 

Put your cursor in the middle of your file that looks like a picture, if there is  more than one page, two arrows will appear and you then have two options

A) Press the space bar  and the document will become bigger and you can see all your file with out opening it including all pages and sheets. If you want to see in it  in full screen click the two arrows at the bottom after you have press the space bar and it will appear as a full screen 

                                              or you can double left click the file for  it to  go to full screen.

I prefer the first as I can see other things .

Also if you put your files in the other 3 viewing options and highlight your file and press the space bar you can view files with out opening them  and go full screen .   I promise you will find this useful when trying to tidy up your files.

You mention that you have a lot of files that seem to be similar , so here is another tip. 

1) Go to finder and use the search box with the magnify glass on right hand top corner type in a key word and all the your files related to that will appear . you will need to highlight external drive as it searches this separately .

2) Once you have typed in your key word you will see another grey area suddenly appear underneath it save and + sign on the right hand side corner keep pressing the plus sign and you will get more and more criteria to such by. This should help you tidy your files by viewing and sending files to trash.

If you are like me and you can,t  remember and would like to look at it in more detail on paper,  you can do this no matter where you are in any screen anywhere , on the web

Go to your Preview on your DOC  the one with pictures and camera and click and your preview bar will appear on top of the screen 1) Go to file and then Take a snap shot by selection , window, full screen . 2) A window will open of your snapshot . 3) press Command P and it will print or you can pDF from there or when you go to close it it gives you the option to save or not to save. You could then save it to your clients folder for example , very useful for HM website law on to itself when trying to print things off.

This search criteria is the same in the apple mail.

Also I notice you like apps so remember to use your F4 key to add some more widgets. Press the F4 button on the bottom left hand corner click the plus sign for your Widgets , I  find this widgets very useful for example I have my Diary as a widget, a dictionary , a calculator , my address book, so when I press F4 all the useful things I need come up without me having to close any files .  On the address book you can type in your contact and click on their email and it goes straight to your apple mail for that person or straight to their website if they have one without having to open the internet.  Click on their address goes straight to google maps 

Hope some of this helps you use your Mac in a more fun way.

If you near apple store there is nothing to stop you making a appointment at the genius bar.

-- Kind Regards [email protected] Douglas Accountancy & Bookkeeping Services, Glasgow

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01st Jun 2010 19:31

Thanks for the tips

 KH and Sarah - many thanks for your time and patience. Yes, I know I need to forget Windows, but it's hard at my age! Some really useful tips here, I have started working through them and the Mac is already getting easier to use!

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