Add text labels to the toolbars so you know what the buttons are for

Here’s what the toolbar (at the top of the window) looks like for most people when they open up a Finder window. Lots of buttons.

No toolbar labels

Here’s how it can look (lots of buttons, with text underneath them):

ommm_toolbarlabels_labelThis is better twice. First, it’s better because the buttons are labeled, which means now you have some idea of what the buttons do, which means you might actually use them. Second, even if you were already using the buttons, now the targets are bigger, because you can click on the label instead of the button. Bigger target = easier to click.

You turn on the labels by holding the Control key and clicking in a blank space in the toolbar. You’ll see this menu:


Choose “Icon and Text” and you’re all done. Experiment with the other options if you’d like.

Bonus: this works for Mail and Preview too.

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Use Mail’s Activity window to see what Mail is doing

Mail activitywindow

Sometimes Mail seems to be stuck (especially when you are trying to quit it). Many times, people force-quit Mail because they think it’s frozen, when actually Mail is busy synchronizing folders, or getting mail, or otherwise doing what it’s supposed to be doing. You’ll learn a lot about Mail by showing the Activity window (in Mail, go to the Window menu, then to Activity).

Leave the Activity window open in a corner of your screen and keep an eye on it as you use the Mail program. I think you’ll find that Mail is quite the busy bee, and when you can see the program working you’ll be much less likely to give up on it and force-quit. I don’t leave Activity up all the time, but when things seem slow I look to Activity to see what’s going on.

Want some more, longer how-tos?

Visit my other website,

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