Mac Survival Guide

This guide explains how to perform basic tasks using a Mac.  It has been specially tailored to address the Mac setup used at UC Davis computer rooms administered by Computer Lab Management (CLM).  Where appropriate it signals some differences between Windows and Mac.  Also since this guide is task-focused, it does not outline step-by-step procedures for completing a given operation. 

Log in

Usercodes in Mac OS X are case sensitive.  They must be typed with all lowercase letters.  For example, 'UCD2grad' is not a proper usercode; enter 'ucd2grad' instead.

Open a program

The most commonly used programs are located in the Dock at the bottom of the screen.  This is like the Quick Launch bar in Windows.  A single click on the program icon will open it.

To open a program not found in the Dock, use the application shortcuts in the Finder Sidebar.  If a Finder window is not present, click on the Finder icon in the Dock and a new window will appear.

Open a document from a floppy or flash drive

To avoid file corruption, do not work on files directly from your floppy disk.  To work on a file stored on a floppy, copy files by dragging them from your floppy to the Desktop.  When you finished editing, drag the modified version on the Desktop to your floppy to copy and replace the old one.

To eject a floppy or flash drive, click on the eject button next to the disk's name in the Finder Sidebar.  Most floppies are assigned the name 'NO NAME'.

Use the mouse or keyboard

Macs have a single button mouse.  If you want to right click, press and hold the control key while clicking.

For keyboard shortcuts, Macs use the Command ( ) key instead of Control (Ctrl) key.  For example, to paste on a Mac press Command-V.

Browse the Internet

Microsoft no longer makes Internet Explorer for the Mac.  The Macs have two alternative web browsers: Safari and FireFox located in the Dock, in the "Web Browsers" folder located in the initial Finder window, or in the Applications folder.

Download a file from the Internet

To download most files, just click on the web link. Files download to the Desktop.  Mozilla and FireFox will prompt you for a save location.  If clicking on the link does not work properly, control click on the link and select 'Save linked file…' or 'Save link as…' to save the file to the Desktop.  (You can hide other windows to reveal the Desktop by pressing 'F11' on the keyboard.)

Close, minimize, or zoom a window

Window controls are located in the upper-left hand corner on a Mac rather than the upper-right on the PC.

  • To close a window, click on the red button in the far upper-left corner.
    An 'X' will appear when you enter it.
  • To minimize a window, click on the yellow button.
    A '-' will appear when you enter it.
  • To zoom (maximize) a window, click on green button.
    A '+' will appear when you enter it.

Print a document

CLM printers print duplex (double-sided) by default.  To print single-sided, change the printer to 'Single Sided' from the Printer menu.

Program-specific options are located under the print options menu.  This includes settings for printing multiple pages on one sheet of paper.

Exit a program

Closing a window will only close the document, not the program.  This means that a program may still be running, even though it does not have any open windows.

All running programs have a small black triangle underneath their icon in the Dock.  To exit an active program, go to the Application menu (the menu to the immediate right of the Apple Menu) and choose 'Quit [program name]'.

Log out

When you are finished using the Mac, logout by either click on the 'Log out' icon on the Dock or select 'Logout [name]…' from the Apple Menu.  You will be prompted to confirm that you want to logout.

Additional references