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Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Leopard Edition by David Pogue

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Chapter 3. Files, Icons, & Spotlight

Every document, program, folder, and disk on your Mac is represented by an icon: a colorful little picture that you can move, copy, or double-click to open. In Mac OS X, icons look more like photos than cartoons, and you can scale them to practically any size.

This chapter is all about manipulating those icons—that is, your files, folders, and disks. It's all about naming them, copying them, deleting them, labeling them—and then, maybe most important of all, finding them, using the Mac's famous Spotlight instant-search feature.

Renaming Icons

A Mac OS X icon's name can have up to 255 letters and spaces. If you're accustomed to the 31-character or even 8-character limits of older computers, that's quite a luxurious ceiling.

As a Windows veteran, futhermore, you may be delighted to discover that in Mac OS X, you can name your files using letters, numbers, punctuation—in fact, any symbol except for the colon (:), which the Mac uses behind the scenes for its own folder-hierarchy designation purposes. And you can't use a period to begin a file's name.

To rename a file, click its name or icon (to highlight it) and then press Return or Enter. (Or, if you have time to kill, click once on the name, wait a moment, and then click a second time.)

In any case, a rectangle now appears around the name (Figure 3-1). At this point, the existing name is highlighted; just begin typing to replace it. If you type a very long name, the rectangle grows vertically to accommodate ...

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