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General Software FAQ's


  1. How do I take a screenshot on the Mac?
  2. How do I update the software on my Mac?
  3. Can I import pictures to use as Inspiration symbols?
  4. Where can I find free software for my Mac?
  5. How can I view Windows Media files on my Mac?
  6. How do I zip files on my Mac?
  7. Why am I getting these "You have 10 days left of your Word test drive" messages?
  8. How do I create a PDF on my Mac?
  9. How do I register my Inspiration/Kidspiration/Quicktime software?
  10. Can I run Windows on my Mac?
  11. Can I get a virus on my computer when I run Windows on my Mac?
  12. Is there a way to run Windows and Mac OS at the same time?
  13. What is FrontRow?
  14. What is Photo Booth?

1. How do I take a screenshot on the Mac?

The easiest way to take a screenshot on the Mac is by using keyboard shortcuts. To take a screenshot of the entire screen, press Command + Shift + 3. The picture of your screen is saved to the desktop and given a name that starts with the word Picture and contains a sequential number. The default file format is PNG, a format that is not well supported on the Web. If you want to use your screenshots in web pages, you will have to convert this file into a JPEG or GIF. A quick way to do this is by opening the file with Preview (which can be found in the Applications folder) and then choosing File > Save As and selecting a new file type from the Format pulldown menu.

If you want to take a snapshot of just an area of your screen you can press Command + Shift + 4. The pointer will then change to crosshairs and you can drag to define the area of the screen you want to capture. If you want to take a snapshot of only a window or object (such as a dialog box) you can press the space bar after your mouse pointer has turned into crosshairs. The pointer will then change into a camera icon. As you hover over different windows, they will become highlighted to indicate that you can take a screen

3. Can I import pictures to use as Inspiration symbols?

Yes. Inspiration for Mac recognizes graphics in the following formats: GIF, JPEG, and PICT. There are several ways to import a graphic:

  • You can copy the image from another program and paste it into an Inspiration diagram.

  • You can drag an image from another program into Inspiration.

  • On the Edit menu, you can choose Insert Graphic, select the file, and click Open.

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4. Where can I find free software for my Mac?

Our favorite sites for free Mac software areVersion Tracker and MacUpdate. There are other download sites that have Mac sections, such as Tucows.

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5. How can I view Wndows Media files on my Mac?

In order to be able to view Windows Media files on your Mac you will have to download a free plugin from the Microsoft website. The plugin is in a compressed file format and to open it you may need to install a program called Stuffit Expander.

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6. How can I zip files on my Mac?

The zip file format is a special format for archiving files on your computer. A zip file is compressed to a smaller size, so it can be useful for emailing large documents. To zip a file, hold down the Control key and click on the file. From the menu that appears, select "Create Archive of...". Your computer will create a "zipped" or compressed copy of the selected file. You can also zip multiple files together by putting them all in a folder and zipping the folder.

There are other compressed file formats that are used to make files available on the internet. If you are unable to open a compressed file, you may want to download Stuffit Expander, a program that can open many compressed file formats.

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7. Why am I getting these "You have 10 days left of your Word test drive" messages?

When your new iBook or PowerBook shipped, it had a copy of Microsoft Office installed on it as a demo. The links for this copy are the ones that are on your Dock. But, you ask yourself, "I thought I had a licensed copy as a part of my computer?" You do - it is installed on your computer as well. However, if you have been using the "test drive," your computer has no idea that there is a licensed version installed. Here's what you can do to remove the demo version of Microsoft Office:

  1. Click on Go > Applications to open the Applications folder.

  2. With the Applications folder open, scroll down until you see the folder "Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac Test Drive".

  3. Click and drag the folder to the Trash.

  4. Empty the Trash by going to Finder > Empty Trash menu.

  5. Check any icons in the Dock by clicking on them to see if they open the proper program (Word, PowerPoint, etc.) If not, open the Microsoft Office folder in the Applications folder and drag the icons you want to the Dock.

This does not affect any of your document files!! It only removes the Microsoft Test Drive folder and nothing else. (From Dan Penoff's Special Education Cohort website)

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8. How do I create a PDF on my Mac?

You can create a PDF from any application on your Mac by choosing File > Print > PDF (look for the button on the lower left) > Save As PDF. When you click on this button, a window will open up where you can give your PDF file a name and specify a location where you want to save it. There are other options when you click on the PDF button. You can save your file as a compressed PDF to make it smaller if you want to email it to someone. You can also encrypt a PDF if you want the person opening it to have to provide a password before they can view its contents.

If you choose Mail PDF, Mail will open and a new message will be created automatically with the PDF included as an attachment. All you have to do is address your message and click on Send and the PDF will be on its way.

A neat option for those times when you have just made a payment online is the Save PDF to Web Receipts Folder option. This will make a PDF of the web page where your receipt information is displayed and save it to a folder on your hard drive. You can then open this file by going to the Web Receipts folder in your Documents folder.

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9. How do I install and register my Inspiration/Kidspiration/Quicktime software?


  1. Insert the CD. A window will open on your desktop.

  2. Open your Applications folder by clicking on Go > Applications.

  3. Click and drag the OS X folder into your Applications folder. The file transfer will begin.

  4. After the files are transferred to your Applications folder, let's clean it up. With the Applications folder open, click on View > Arrange By > Name to clean up your Applications folder. This will place all your applications in alphabetical order.

  5. Your install is just about done. Now all you need to do is register your software. Inside the CD case is a license number. Have that handy for the next step. Go ahead and double click on the "Inspiration" icon in your Applications folder.

  6. Double click on the "Inspiration 8.0 " icon to start the program. A registration window will open. Enter your name, the college name, and your registration number in the corresponding fields. Click on "OK" when you're done.

  7. Now a splash screen with your registration information appears. This will show for a short time every time the program is started.

  8. You are now asked to register online or by mail. It's up to you, but it's a good idea to register online, as this allows you easily retrieve your registration information if you ever need it. If you choose to register online, Safari will open automatically and take your to the registration Web site.

  9. The program will start. Before it begins, a dialog box will open asking you to choose a "mode." Choose Main Toolbar to Bottom. You can also check Please don't show this message again if you don't want to have to perform this step every time the program starts. If you ever want to change it in the future, you can do it through the "preferences" menu.

  10. You're done! You can now begin to use your copy of Inspiration. To install Kidspiration, just follow the same steps.


  1. Double click on System Preferences in the Dock.

  2. Double click on QuickTime in the Internet & Network section.

  3. The registration window will now be open. Type the information in exactly as it is shown on your paperwork. When you have finished, the "register" button will disappear. If it doesn't, check the characters closely to be sure you have entered them correctly and that the "Registered To:" field is filled out correctly as shown on your paperwork.

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10. Can I run Windows on my Mac?

Yes, you can run Windows XP on your Intel Mac using an application from Apple called Bootcamp. This is possible because the new Intel Macs (such as the MacBook and the MacBook Pro) have the same processor in them as most of the Windows compatible computers sold today. Bootcamp is a boot manager. In order to switch operating systems, you will have to reboot your computer and press a key on your keyboard to bring up the boot manager.

The Apple website has full instructions (.pdf) on how to install Bootcamp and use it to repartition your hard drive so that you have space to install Windows XP. You should know that Bootcamp is beta software and you will be using it at your own risk. It is a good idea to back up your data before you try to repartition your hard drive using Bootcamp.

The requirements for installing and using Bootcamp are as follows:

  • An Intel-based Mac (MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, iMac, Mac Mini)
  • OS X Tiger (10.4.6 or later - you can get the latest version using Software Update)
  • the latest firmware update (you can get the one for your machine here).
  • 10 GB of hard drive space available
  • a blank CD-R (to copy the Windows drivers you need to run your computer's hardware once you're in Windows)
  • a copy of Windows XP Home or Professional Edition (you need the Service Pack 2 version, and it has to be the full version, not an upgrade version)

When you use Bootcamp, you will install Windows XP to a separate partition on your hard drive. You will be following the same steps for installing Windows XP on that partition as you would when installing it to a separate non-Mac computer.

Once you have Windows XP installed on your computer, you can switch operating systems at any time by rebooting and pressing the Alt/Option key on your keyboard. You can then select the operating system you want to boot into. If you want to change which operating system boots by default, open up your system preferences on the Mac, and select the Startup Disk button. When the Startup Disk pane is displayed, click on the partition for the operating system you want to boot by default. On the Windows side, you can change the default startup disk by selecting Start > Settings > Control Panel and clicking on the Startup Disk applet.

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11. Can I get a virus on my computer when I use Windows on my Mac?

Yes, when you run Windows XP on your Mac, the operating system runs as if it is on a separate Windows-compatible computer. Any viruses that target Windows XP can infect the Windows partition on your computer, so you will need to buy antivirus software (or you can install a free antivirus program such as Antivir.). Since the viruses are designed to infect computers running Windows, they will not be able to infect your Mac partition.

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12. Is there a way to run Windows and Mac OS at the same time?

You can run Windows XP as a virtual machine within Mac OS by buying an application called Parallels. When you use Parallels, you install Windows XP to a folder on your Mac partition that is treated as a virtual disk. As with Bootcamp, you will need to already own a copy of Windows. Unlike Bootcamp, Parallels allows you to use older versions of Windows, such as Windows 98, or even other operating systems such as Linux.

Once you have Windows installed with Parallels, you should enable the Parallels Tools by selecting VM > Install Parallels Tools from the menu bar. This will allow you to use a higher screen resolution inside the virtual machine, and make it easier to switch between the guest operating system and Mac OS (instead of having to use a keyboard shortcut, you can switch to the guest operating system by simply clicking inside the virtual machine window). A nice feature of Parallels is that it can run full-screen.

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13. What is FrontRow?

FrontRow is a media management application included on all new Macs. FrontRow turns your Mac into a media player you can control from across the room using the included infrared remote. With FrontRow, you can view slideshows of your photos, play DVDs, view TV shows you've purchased on iTunes or video podcasts you are subscribed to, and play any songs you have in your iTunes library. You can even connect to the Apple website to view trailers of the latest movies.

To activate FrontRow, click on the Menu button on your remote or use the keyboard shortcut Command + Esc. Once FrontRow opens, you can use the forward and back buttons on your remote (or the arrow keys on your keyboard) to view the different caterogies (Videos, Music, Photos, or DVD). When you find the category you want to open, press the Play button on your remote or press Enter on your keyboard to view the individual files (you can go back by pressing the Menu button on the remote or pressing Esc on your keyboard). You can then use the + and - buttons on the remote (or the up and down arrow keys on your keyboard) to scroll through the list of files. When you find one you want to play, click on the Play button on your remote or press Enter on your keyboard. You can then use the controls on the remote to change the volume, skip forward or back, or pause your video or audio file. FrontRow can even show album artwork when you play a song or podcast.

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13. What is Photo Booth?

Photo Booth allows you to take still images using the built-in iSight camera included on all new Mac laptops and iMacs. To use Photo Booth, first open up the program by clicking on its icon in the Applications folder or on the Dock. When the program opens, click on the small camera button below the Preview window. The program will then count down and the screen will flash as the photo is taken. The photo will show up in the strip area so that you can decide what you want to do with it. When you select the image, you can email it or add it to your iPhoto library by clicking on one of the buttons on the left, or you can make it your iChat buddy icon or your account picture by clicking one of the buttons on the right. Photo Booth contains a number of effects you can apply to your photos. You can distort your photos, apply an infrared filter, and more.

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