Making good use of those function keys or a combination of several keys? Both John Carter and Jim Hamm passed along some tips today. Want to know a lot more? Maybe ask them to do a PMUG presentation?
Jim started off with this: "Here's a Mac tip I just discovered. To turn the display screen off (and not put the Mac to sleep): Shift + control + keyboard eject button. Moving the cursor brings the screen back on.
"When might a person use this, you ask? Say, for example, your Mac is in your bedroom and you want to stream and copy something into your Mac in the middle of the night and don't want the bright screen on. Or, say you're using a laptop, not plugged in to electricity, and want to conserve the battery. Turn the screen off.
"Here's another tip I occasionally find useful: to minimize all open windows quickly, press the shift button. For example, I may be typing an email and want to look at something on the desktop. Tap shift, take a look, tap shift again to return to the email. There are other ways to do this, as well."
Trying to replicate this didn't work for me. A query to Jim brought a quick reply, "At this point, I don't know or recall how I did this. I checked all my settings and don't see anything about this setting. It works just on the right shift key, but not the left. The left 'shift' key does the normal shift function. If I come across the setting I'll let you know.
"Here's something to look at. One might be able to click the desktop, then +, then add shift key to see if that would work. Or look at this one."
John shed some light on the function keys with his input. "The action of the function keys, whether you have to press the fn key plus the function key or just the function key to get the desired action is determined by a preference setting. With a standard Mac keyboard, in System Preferences > Keyboard, you should see a box like this:
"So, if you press the F12 key and this increases the sound volume, that box is not checked. With the box checked, pressing the F12 key brings up the Dashboard.
"The is different for different keyboards used. I use the Logitech diNovo Keyboard Mac Edition on my iMac. That box is not even available for that keyboard.
"So what’s the ideal setting? If you look at the function keys on your keyboard, the symbols for the special features are large and the letters for the standard features are small. To some, this would indicate that the default action when pressing a function key would be for the special feature, not the standard feature, so the box would not be checked. The choice is really yours."
And John concludes with this additional information about assigning keyboard shortcuts, "Assigning any of the modifier keys (Shift, Control, Option, Command) to perform a special function with a single press is contrary to the 'normal' and 'customary' method of using those modifier keys (aka meta key). The developer’s intended usage is that one or more modifier key is always pressed with one or more other key which is not a modifier key (a-z, A-Z, 0-9, space, symbol, function key). To see all the keyboard shortcut assignments, open System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts. Unlike the modifier keys, the function keys can be reassigned to suit your own needs, but such reassignment is best done for use with a particular application."