Mac Desktop Overview

 What is a Mac Desktop?

Contrary to what some people may believe a Mac desktop is not a snazzy desk you purchase to display your Mac computer…

A Mac desktop is actually the large main space on your screen which displays your chosen wall paper. It is where you always return to and carry out most of your work. You access your files, folders and applications from here. If you were to insert a CD or DVD its icon will pop up on your desktop. If you were to insert and external hard drive or USB pen the icon for these would also show up here.

Your Mac desktop is where to magic happens!

Mac Desktop Elements

Elements of Your Mac Desktop

Learning and getting to grips with your Mac desktop of one of the first important steps to take on your mission to becoming a Mac Nerdy know it all! So lets break it down and go over each element of your precious Mac desktop.


1.) Apple Menu – This is represented by a mini Apple logo located on the top left of your screen. You will find yourself paying a visit to this icon frequently as it is where you can access your important software updates, system preferences, sleep mode, shut down and more.

2.) Applications Menu – Note this option will only show up when you have an application such as TextEdit open. It will be in bold and located next to the Apple menu. Click on this tab and you will be greeted by a drop down menu hosting some useful options relevant to the application.

3.) Menu Bar aka Tool Bar – This is the horizontal bar laid across the top of your desktop. This contains all of the vital drop down menus and will update its options to which ever app, software or program you are using.

It contains the main Apple menu (as described above) active applications menu, status menus, spotlight, any menu bar extras.

4.) Status Menu – This handy little section is located at the top right of your toolbar. Here you will see how high or low your battery charge is and the the date and time. It also allows you quick access into certain features such as the ability to mute the volume of your speakers, control your blue tooth and turn on and off your Wi-fi.

5.) Spotlight – This icon looks like a spy glass and is perched on the far right on your desktop. Spotlight is a useful search field and enables you to look for and locate files, programs etc on your mac.

6.) Notification Centre icon – This looks like three horizontal exclamation marks and is located on the very right edge of your screen. Click this to view your personal Notification centre. This icon helpfully consolidates all of your notifications from the Mac Calendar, Mail, Messages, Reminders, and even some third-party apps.

7.) Desktop – The large space that shows your wallpaper. This is where all of your applications’ and windows will appear. Interestingly you can actually have more than one desktop to work from. You can add additional desktops in your Mission Control. Alternatively if you are currently using Mac OS X v10.6 or higher, you can use Spaces.

8.) The Dock – This is the rater attractive library of icons you have usual located at the bottom of your desktop. You Dock is used a s quick access point to all of your favourite and more frequently used applications, folders, and files. A single click on the desired icons and your app, folder or file will pop open.


To make the most of your of Dock why not customise if so it suits your needs perfectly. For a tutorial on ‘How to Customise Mac’ just click here.

Mac Expose – How to Reveal Your Desktop

I must confess, I am not the most organized person in the universe and can often get distracted by other more amusing things. With these character traits in toe, it’s only a matter of minutes before my Mac desktop is more cluttered than that rouge kitchen draw were every odd bits and bobs always end up.

I frequently find myself eagerly opening new browser windows whilst continuing to pull up every classic Apple app, such as iTunes, Mail and iChat. It’s really fantastic that Mac computers are swish enough to tackle an array of open windows but it is not long before i’m wasting time clicking round in circle trying to find the right window, a past time I find particularly grating on my patience.

If this irksome problem sounds familiar don’t worry, there is a simple simple solution – Expose!

mac expose

Inviting this handy keyboard command into your life will save buckets of time, calm nerves and help you find what you are looking for in an instant.

Available on all Mac OS X models, Exposed is a simple and speedy way to reveal everything you have open. Allowing you to instantly select the section you are hunting for.

While many Apple Mac features require you to activate then manually or configure something, this is a shortcut that is already in-built into your computer and available to make use of it right now…


How to use Mac Expose…

Pressing your F9 key will immediately generate thumbnails of all your live windows and display them orderly before you. Making it super easy to pick out the one you wish to use.

If you want to go one step further and get all fancy with Macs Exposed feature, tapping F10 will create miniature images of all windows associated with a certain app, ie iTunes.

Whereas F11 does the opposite to the the above. Instead of gathering all the live apps and windows, if you already have them all open on your desktop, pressing F11 will clear them off and present you with any open files.

Bare these three simple keys in mind and you will never be running circuits around your windows again!

How to Hide Mac Toolbar?

A programs or a windows toolbar can be big, ugly and depending on what you are doing, just plain old useless. Especially if you work on a Mac machine that has a rather modest screen size i.e. an 11 inch MacBook air, to a 13 inch MacBook Pro, the toolbar really can dominate the space.

Did you know that the busy creators behind Apple have a nifty action that allows you to hide your Mac toolbar – ingenious I know!

how to hide mac toolbar

How to Hide Your Mac Toolbar

Just like with your traffic light colour Exit, Minimize and Maximize buttons perched on the top left hand side of your toolbar, there is an equally crafty button located on the opposite side. Slightly camouflaged and easy to miss, you’ll find this white oval shaped button sitting in a solitary position to the right.

Press this button and your bulky window toolbar will instantly disappear!

But (now that’s a big but) not all browsers are built the same and this nifty little button may not exist. Most browsers have a section titled ‘View’ and is usually where you will find the action to hide and show Mac toolbar.

For example, if you are currently surfing the web on Safari and want to hide your Mac toolbar this is what you have to do…
1.) Click on ‘View’ in the toolbar.
2.)A drop down menu will appear. Scroll down until you reach ‘Hide Toolbar’. Tap this and “Hey Presto”, your Mac toolbar should disappear.

how to show mac toolbar

How to View Mac Toolbar

Fancy bringing back your toolbar? simple re-click the same white button and it will instantly reappear.
Or on a browser such as Safari where you have to go the ‘View’ route, select an option like ‘Show toolbar’.

Lovely jubbly!

How to Take a Screenshot On Mac – Tutorial

Whilst browsing the web have you ever stumbled across a site exhibiting an image that appears as though someone took a snap shot of their Mac screen. Did you feel the pang of the envious green eye monster and wished that you could capture a screenshot on Mac?…

Well get to know these two simple Apple keyboard commands and you will be snapping away at your screen like paparazzi!

‘Screenshot Mac’ (snazzy tech term for taking a picture of your computer screen) is incredibly easy to do – no need to have an math degree here! It doesn’t require you to track down and install any confusing pricey softwares or Apps to do it. Like a lot of Apple shortcuts, all it takes is an easy to remember keyboard minoover.

How To Take A Screenshot On Mac?

Difficulty: Very Easy peasy!

There are a couple of ways on how to take a screenshot on Mac OS X, you will find below a variety,of techniques to get the perfect screenshot you’re looking for.

How to take picture of your ‘entire’ screen

This is the option you would pick if you wish to capture an impression of your whole glorious screen – icon dock, tool bar an all…

To take a screenshot of the whole computer screen press the ‘Command’ and ‘Shift’ down and once, then reach up and tap your number ‘3’ key.

Cmd + Shift + 3

How to Take a Screenshot On Mac

How Do You Know The Screenshot Mac Has Worked?

If you have your volume on full blast you will hear a ‘click’ just like when you take a pic with a camera. This noise indicates that you have successfully snapped a picture. This image will automatically save onto your desktop, usually under the title ‘screenshot Mac,’ ‘screen capture’ or sometimes plain old ‘picture’ (leaving you to give it a more exciting and inventive name.)

The screenshot will be saved as a safe PNG image which you can open with any Mac imaging software, simply print it off, or upload it to an email with ease.

How to take a snapshot of a ‘section’ of your screen.

Follow these simple instructions if you would rather home-in on a particular section of your screen…

To capture a selected part of your screen go head and hold down the ‘Command’ and ‘Shift’ keys together. But this time reach up and pick the number ‘4’ key.

Cmd + Shift + 4

Screenshot Mac

This time, instead of an on-the-spot screenshot Mac being seized, your cursor will transform into a miniature cross. Now click and drag this icon over the area you would like to capture and let go! The familiar camera shutter with sound and the new image will pop up and appear onto your desktop once again.

The techniques work for all Mac computers whether you are using old dusty versions such as Tiger and Leopard or shiny new ones like Snow Leopard and Lio. These steps above will also be the same for the new Apple system Mac OS X ‘Mountain Lion’ (I know another one!…)

So there you have it – hopefully now you know how to take a screenshot on Mac with your eyes closed!

Instead of limiting yourself to just taking a screenshot Mac, there are some really great softwares you can get to video capture all or part of your screen and even allow you to do a professionl vocie over. This is particularly helpful if you are making video’s for YouTube, Photoshop tutorials, or recording an internet help video for one of your friends or family to follow.

Fancy learning more cool Mac tips and tricks? Feel free to browser our ‘How To’ Mac tutorials!