Mac OS forum

General discussion

slightly random MacBook question

by macncheese--2008 / October 15, 2007 3:32 AM PDT

I'm a fairly recent PC to Mac switcher and there's something I can't figure out that's driving me crazy. I know that if I want to tab between several programs while I'm working I can do apple tab and it will let me switch rapidly between, say, word, firefox, and excel.

But what if I have TWO word docs (or excel workbooks, etc) open and I want to be able to go back and forth between, say the internet and both word docs? Is the only option to arrange the word docs on my desktop so that I can click on them individually? I'm finding that to be a little bit of a pain and wondering if there's a better way. (On a PC everything is on the bottom tab of the desktop so you can just click quickly on the "button" for that document).

Thanks in advance.

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: slightly random MacBook question
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: slightly random MacBook question
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Even on Windows there was no winner.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 15, 2007 4:11 AM PDT

For years Word used what they call a MDI interface. At some point Microsoft flipped to SDI (single document interface) which worked for your wants. People used to MDI were up in arms.

Given no name or version of your word processor I can't offer if it offers a MDI to SDI option.


Collapse -
just regular word ..
by macncheese--2008 / October 15, 2007 4:20 AM PDT

I use microsoft word ... but it works differently on my Mac ...

Collapse -
(NT) But which version?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 15, 2007 4:24 AM PDT
In reply to: just regular word ..
Collapse -
Not random...
by boya84 / October 15, 2007 4:36 AM PDT

but not "MacBook", either...

You *could* install another word processor (like NeoOffice - open source free download compatible with MS Word file types) and use that when Word is already in use - that way you still use the command-tab keystroke and can get to multiple word processing documents individually...

Collapse -
version ...
by macncheese--2008 / October 15, 2007 5:46 AM PDT
In reply to: Not random...

Microsoft office 2004 (for Mac)

I called it a "MacBook" problem because my desktop is too small to comfortably (for me) work with small-sized windows in word or excel unless I'm constantly resizing them. If I did this I realize I could just click between documents in the same program, but with my screen size that's difficult and I don't have the tab option on the bottom of the screen that I'm used to. So I'm jsut checking whether there's something I haven't thought of that allows for tabbing quicking between two open windows (documents) in the SAME program (not just word, but I'd also like to be able to do this with excel, etc.)

I can already do it using firefox since there's the new internet tab setup, so I wonder if it's possible to set up the whole computer with that type of internet interface??

Collapse -
Try this
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / October 15, 2007 9:47 PM PDT

I'm not sure that this is the ultimate answer but have you ever tried using Expose to manage the desktop? With a number of documents open, pressing the F9 Key, will instantly arrange all open windows so that you can see them all at once.
Clicking on the one you need brings that one to the front and makes it active.

Expose is controlled by F9, F10 and F11 and is not limited to what programs it works with. It works with all of them.

Give it a try and tell us what you think


Collapse -
by macncheese--2008 / October 16, 2007 5:09 AM PDT
In reply to: Try this

now this works great! i thought there might be a MacSecret like this!

(ok, so I know expose is not a secret, but I hadn't figured out/remembered to use it yet). I think this will help me a lot, thanks so much.

One more question (related) if anyone's willing and still reading--- do you use the dashboard? what for? I feel like it could be useful but I haven't found my way to using it yet. I want to ...

Collapse -
Just hit F12
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / October 16, 2007 5:50 AM PDT
In reply to: aha!!

and see what you get.
Clicking on the Dashboard icon in the dock will show you all the widgets on your machine and there are literally hundreds more up at the Apple site.
Go there from under the Apple menu > Mac OS X software

The uses for dashboard and its widgets are almost limit less.


Collapse -
ooh this is fun
by macncheese--2008 / October 16, 2007 6:12 AM PDT
In reply to: Just hit F12

How do I get rid of a widget I installed to my dashboard but then don't want?

This is fun though.

Collapse -
Bring up the dashboard, and click on the...
by grimgraphix / October 16, 2007 6:15 AM PDT
In reply to: ooh this is fun

... little circle in the corner to the left. It should rotate onto it's side and a bar that looks like the dock will pop up showing all your widgets. You can disable and throw them away from there as well as the little circles that pop up on the widgets you have placed on your screen.

Collapse -
wow ...
by macncheese--2008 / October 16, 2007 6:21 AM PDT

this is really cool. I said I was new to Mac, I had no idea about all this. I'm sure this will be a really great time waster but I just didn't know how to run through all the widgets like that. I'm having a lot of fun, thanks for answering my silly questions!!

Collapse -
No such thing as silly questions
by grimgraphix / October 16, 2007 6:32 AM PDT
In reply to: wow ...

... unless of course, you are wearing clown make up. Then everything you say would be silly.

I think thats a law, or something.


Collapse -
Speaking of clowns,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / October 16, 2007 8:39 AM PDT

We have not heard from Lampie for a long time.

Good to see that MacnCheese is happy to learn new things and that they seem to be working for him.

Wait until he discovers the cool visual effect that happens when you drag a widget onto the desktop. Needs a decent graphics card, which he has, to be able to see it.


Collapse -
I have Lampie's email.
by grimgraphix / October 16, 2007 8:50 AM PDT
In reply to: Speaking of clowns,

I will have to drop him a line as soon as I get my eye book put back together. I'm darn frustrated that it won't boot up off my external drive.


Collapse -
you mean ...
by macncheese--2008 / October 16, 2007 8:50 AM PDT
In reply to: Speaking of clowns,

... that wavy watery thing? MacnCheese learned something on (her) own!

(Maybe). Now she's looking for a clown makeup widget, so that she has an excuse to be silly Happy

Seriously, thanks for your help here. It's a little frustrating to learn a new operating system while trying to also get work done, but its fun too.

Collapse -
by macncheese--2008 / October 19, 2007 10:37 AM PDT
In reply to: you mean ...

I'm sure that opinion will make you popular here Happy

Actually once that nice poster told me about the f9/10/11 keys the problem is solved. I actually like it better than how it would work in windows.

You just have to discover the MacSecrets and you're all good.

Collapse -
Another way to switch between...
by rlcato / October 19, 2007 10:59 AM PDT
In reply to: you mean ...

... 2 or more documents that no-one mentioned -and it works with ALL applications- is to use the combination apple command and 'tilled' (~) key -above the Tab key. It may be more convenient than using Dashboard. Example: even if you had 5 files opened (from the same program) at the same time you can quickly Command ~ and see each file from the first to the last on-at a time!

Collapse -
That's a good one, but
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / October 19, 2007 11:52 PM PDT

don't get Dashboard and Expose mixed up.

Dashboard (F12) is for the use of the widgets that you have installed while Expose (F9, F10,F11) is for shifting open windows around.

I liked the tilde thing. I had not used that one.



Collapse -
Just a question...
by Me, Myself and You / October 21, 2007 9:48 AM PDT
In reply to: That's a good one, but

Will Expose even work on my iBook Clamshell or ... not? It only has 8MB of graphics and OS X *still* has not arrived yet.

Collapse -
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / October 22, 2007 1:53 AM PDT
In reply to: That's a good one, but

is an OS X 10.4 thing.

It is not written into OS X 10.3

It is not machine specific, just OS specific


Collapse -
by Me, Myself and You / October 22, 2007 11:19 AM PDT
In reply to: That's a good one, but

Actually, Expose debuted in 10.3 Honestly. One of the reasons why I bought it Happy Check Youtube, there are vids of Steve showing his audience 10.3 and Expose.

The question was not whether Expose will be "enabled" as such on my machine, but rather will the low graphics performance allow it to function reasonably. That was the original intent of the Q. :o)

Collapse -
I stand dejected
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / October 22, 2007 9:45 PM PDT
In reply to: That's a good one, but

Dragging out my trusty Clamshell iBook G3 (No Firewire) I note that, indeed, Expose was in 10.3

This is a machine that is hardly ever used anymore, the others run 10.4, so I guess I lumped Dashboard and Expose into the same group.

So, now that I can answer your question definitively, YES, Expose will run perfectly acceptably on your iBook.


Collapse -
Just so I am clear
by srabrian / October 21, 2007 2:09 PM PDT
In reply to: Just hit F12

What is a "widget" and why do I want or not want them. I know in a can of Guinness there is a "widget" that relaeses CO2 so my beer tastes like it was poured strait form the tap. Thanks.

Collapse -
If you have OS X 10.4
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / October 21, 2007 9:58 PM PDT
In reply to: Just so I am clear

Press the F12 key.

Those are widgets.

If you are running OS X 10.3, you don't have access to widgets.

Widgets are small apps that do stuff.

Check out the Apple site for more details


Collapse -
For those with portable macs...
by grimgraphix / October 22, 2007 1:52 AM PDT
In reply to: If you have OS X 10.4

... on my iBook, you must push "fn" (function) + "F12" on my keyboard in order for the dashboard widgets to appear on screen.


Collapse -
thanks for the Expose tip
by kellystp / October 20, 2007 6:31 AM PDT
In reply to: aha!!

As a recent convert I was wondering how to do this too. THANK YOU!

Collapse -
by prince10bee / October 19, 2007 10:07 AM PDT

Thats why I like Windows Silly

Collapse -
Mac Word or Excel
by SUPERSHELL / October 19, 2007 10:41 AM PDT

In either program, just click on WINDOWS (ugh, there's that ugly word:-) in the menu bar at the top of your screen. At the bottom on the list it will indicate which screen you are looking at. Just click on the one you want to see and it will appear.

Collapse -
tab between apps on a MC
by lexiconna / October 19, 2007 11:15 AM PDT

while holding down your apple key, press the tab key and your dock will appear across your screen, you can then tab to your other apps. Mac also allows you to have several screens open with out the clutter of the windows environment -- just refer to you dock.

Collapse -
you know what's weird
by macncheese--2008 / October 19, 2007 12:51 PM PDT


apple command and 'tilled' (~) key -above the Tab key.

Doesn't work on my computer! someone showed me apple ~ once but I thought I had remembered it wrong because it doesn't do anything when I tried it.

Apple tab I know how to use, but it only lets you tab between programs, not between multiple documents in the same program, so it doesn't help as much as I'd like. I often have several excel sheets, a few word docs, the internet and some stats windows to tab between.

I'll try the window option too, (duh, I should have remembered that one ...)

Popular Forums
Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions


Help, my PC with Windows 10 won't shut down properly

Since upgrading to Windows 10 my computer won't shut down properly. I use the menu button shutdown and the screen goes blank, but the system does not fully shut down. The only way to get it to shut down is to hold the physical power button down till it shuts down. Any suggestions?