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You’ve Got Options! Option Keys, That Is

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Hold down Option to see Sound OptionsEver wonder what that Option key was for, tucked between your Command key* and the Control key**? It has several hidden tricks up its sleeve!

1. Diacritical marks. As I discussed in last month’s Tip and Trick, hold down the Option key, type a vowel to get a diacritical mark, let go, then type the letter you want that mark above. For example, “Option – e – let go – a” gives you an “á”.

2. iPhoto’s Rotate. By default, the Rotate button turns your picture 90° counter-clockwise. Hold down the Option key and it will change to clockwise.

3. Degrees and other special characters. Notice that degree symbol in #2 above? I held down the Option key when typing the asterisk. “Option-Shift-8” gave me an “°”. This will work on several keyboard combinations. ¡E??´®îmeñ†! (Experiment!)

4. Switch your speakers or microphone. Hold down your Option key and click on the Speaker icon in the upper right corner of your screen. If you have speakers, a microphone, or headphones plugged in, you’ll be able to choose them off a list. So if you want to switch back to your computer’s internal speakers, you can do so in a flash.

5. Open System Preferences. Hold down your Option key and tap on any of your F keys, the top row on your keyboard. You can immediately open up System Preferences directly to Brightness, Expose, Keyboard, or Sound.

6. Jump down a page. Right now, if you click in your scrollbar above or below the blue bubble, it will either jump you up/down a page, or to that place in the document. Hold down the Option key and it will reverse the setting. Find a long page in Safari or Word and give it a try! Very handy!

7. Open up new Inspectors. This trick works in Keynote or Pages. Open your Inspector, the panel that contains all the commands. Option-click on one of the buttons across its top, and you can have your Text pane open at the same time as your Object pane!

*for keyboard commands
**for right-click shortcut menus

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