Four ways to access Mountain Lion's Notification Center

Here are four different methods you can to use access Notification Center in OS X Mountain Lion.

Notification Center is a new feature in OS X Mountain Lion that helps you keep all of your important alerts and notifications in one place. The claim of convenience can only be true if it's truly convenient to access and use. Luckily, there are a few different ways to access the tray of notifications hidden under your desktop. Let's take a look at four of them.

Menu bar

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The most obvious way is by clicking on the Notification Center icon in the menu bar. You can click the icon to reveal and hide Notification Center. There's nothing fancy about it, just click.

Gestures

When you enable the trackpad gesture, there's a brief video demonstrating how to use the gesture. Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET
If you're using a trackpad-equipped MacBook, or the Magic Trackpad with an iMac, you can use a gesture to access Notification Center. As we covered previously , you will need to activate the gesture in order for it to work.

To do so, go into System Preferences > Trackpad > check the box for Notification Center.

The gesture is simple, but can take some getting used to -- with two fingers, swipe from the right edge of your trackpad toward the center. When done correctly, your notifications will be revealed.

One issue with the gesture shortcut is that it doesn't provide a solution for Magic Mouse users. Thankfully, there's two options that do. 

Hot Corners

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET
Hot Corners is activated when your mouse pointer touches a designated (by you) corner of your screen. One of the actions capable of being activated by Hot Corners is revealing Notification Center.

To set up Hot Corners, go into System Preferences > Mission Control > click on the Hot Corners button in the lower-left corner. You'll then be able to assign revealing Notification Center to a corner of your choice.

I selected the bottom-right corner, leaving my mouse pointer on the same side of the screen as the notifications should I need to take action on one. Selecting the top-right corner is pointless since the menu bar shortcut is basically in the same spot.

Keyboard shortcut

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET
This last option was brought to my attention by a Twitter follower over the weekend -- thanks, David! Setting a custom keyboard shortcut may be the simplest way of accessing Notification Center. It allows you to keep your hands on your keyboard and not have to worry about a gesture or hot corner taking away from your workflow. 

To set a keyboard shortcut, launch System Preferences > Keyboard > click on the Keyboard Shortcuts button.

Next, you'll see Mission Control in the list of options, click on it. Then check the box for Notification Center.

After turning a keyboard shortcut on for Notification Center, you'll need to enter one by pressing the keys you'd like to use to access it. You can set it to whatever key combination you'd like, but be conscious of not using a shortcut from another app or system option (you'll see a caution symbol next to the shortcut if you've assigned one that is already in use).

You should now be ready to access Notification Center with ease, using a method that works best for you. If you want to customize what notifications, and how many of them show up be sure to check out our getting started guide .

 

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