Start your Mac

Here’s how to use a Mac computer.

I’ll begin by explaining the Mac Color Classic, which is the easiest Mac to understand. (Other Macs are similar but slightly more complex. I’ll explain how they differ.)

Set up the Mac

When you buy a Mac Color Classic, the salesperson hands you a big brown cardboard box. Take the box home. Open it and peek inside.

You’ll see clear plastic bags. They contain the computer, keyboard, mouse, and little goodies (power cord, keyboard cable, floppy disks, and instruction manuals). Rip the bags open.

Put the computer on your desk. Plug one end of the power cord into your wall and the other end into the back of the computer.

Look at the mouse (a small object the size of a pack of cigarettes). A cable comes out of it. If you’re right-handed, plug that cable into the keyboard’s right side; if you’re left-handed, plug that cable into the keyboard’s left side.

Attach the keyboard to the computer, by plugging one end of the keyboard’s cable into the side of the keyboard and the other end into the back of the computer.

Congratulations! You’ve installed the computer! Now you can say on your résumé that you’re a "computer expert experienced at installing advanced computer equipment".

Other Macs For old Macs, the cardboard box is white (instead of brown), the keyboard plugs into the computer’s front (instead of back), and the mouse plugs into the computer (instead of into the keyboard). For some Macs, the monitor or hard drive is sold separately and must be cabled to the computer.

The Mac Color Classic has a built-in microphone; for other Macs, the microphone is missing or must be cabled to the computer.

The Mac Powerbook is a notebook computer that’s all in one piece and requires no assembly.

Turn on the Mac

At the back of the Mac, next to the power cord, you’ll see a switch marked "1" and "0". That’s the on/off switch. Put that switch in the "on" position by pressing the "1". Then press the POWER ON key, which is at the top of the keyboard and has the symbol ƒ on it.

The computer will make an overture to you: you’ll hear a musical chord. On the screen, you’ll briefly see an arrow, then a smile, then this message:

Welcome to Macintosh.

Eventually, you’ll see little pictures, called icons. The screen’s top left corner will show the Apple icon (a partly eaten apple). The screen’s bottom right corner will show the trash icon (picture of a trash can). Those icons mean the Finder (the fundamental part of the Mac’s operating system) is ready.

If your Mac’s been used by other people, they might have left your Mac in a strange state, with several rectangular windows on the screen. To make sure your Mac is normal, with no windows on the screen, do this:

Look next to the space bar. There you’ll see the COMMAND key (which has an Apple and a squiggle on it) and the OPTION key. Hold down the COMMAND and OPTION keys simultaneously; and while you keep them down, tap the W key.

Congratulations! Now you have a turned-on Mac, ready and willing to obey your every command!

Other Macs On expensive Macs, the on/off switch is a button that pops in and out, or it’s in the form of a car-ignition key. If you’re sharing such a Mac, your friends probably already put that switch in the correct position, so don’t touch it: just press the POWER ON key.

Cheap Macs don’t use a POWER ON key: just press 1 on the on/off switch.

Some Mac monitors have a separate switch that you must turn on.

If your Mac’s hard drive is external, turn that drive on and wait 15 seconds before turning on the Mac.

Old Macs make a beep instead of playing a chord.

On old Macs, the COMMAND key has a squiggle on it but no apple.

Performa Macs make the screen display a Launcher window. To follow the instructions in the book, make sure the Launcher window disappears. Again, here’s how to make the Launcher window (and all other windows) disappear: hold down the COMMAND and OPTION keys; and while keeping them down, tap the W key.

If you don’t see "Welcome to Macintosh", your Mac isn’t set up properly. For example, the monitor might be turned off (turn it on!), the hard drive might be missing (buy a hard drive!), your dealer might have neglected to copy the Mac operating system onto the hard drive (ask the dealer to help you!), or a previous user left a floppy disk in the floppy drive (remove the floppy disk).

If your Mac doesn’t have a hard drive, you’ll have difficulty running modern software and using this book. Either buy a hard drive or phone me to get an older edition of this book.

Although the trash icon is usually in the bottom right corner, it might be in a different place if the previous user moved it.

Use the mouse

Your computer comes with a mouse. The mouse’s tail is a cable that runs from the mouse to the keyboard. The area where the tail meets the mouse is called the mouse’s ass or rear.

The mouse’s underside — its belly — has a hole in it, and a ball in the hole.

Put the mouse on your desk and directly in front of your right arm. (If you’re left-handed, put it in front of your left arm.) Make the mouse lie flat (so its ball rubs against the desk). Make the mouse face you so the apple on the mouse appears right-side up, and you don’t see the mouse’s ass.

Other Macs The Mac Powerbook uses a trackball instead of a mouse. The trackball is part of the keyboard.

Move the arrow

Move the mouse across your desk. As you move the mouse, remember to keep it flat and facing you.

On the screen, you’ll see an arrow, which is called the pointer or cursor. As you move the mouse, the arrow moves also. If you move the mouse to the left, the arrow moves to the left. If you move the mouse to the right, the arrow moves to the right. If you move the mouse toward you, the arrow moves down. If you move the mouse away from you, the arrow moves up.

Practice moving the arrow by moving the mouse. Remember to keep the mouse facing you at all times.

If you want to move the arrow far, and your desk is small, move the mouse until it reaches the desk’s edge; then lift the mouse off the desk, lay the mouse gently on the middle of the desk, and move the mouse across the desk in the same direction as before.

Other Macs If your Mac uses a trackball (instead of a mouse), move the arrow by rotating the trackball.

Click an icon

The most important part of the arrow is its tip, which is called the hot spot.

For an experiment, move the arrow so its hot spot (tip) is in the middle of the trash can. That’s called pointing at the trash can.

On top of the mouse is a rectangular button that you can press. Tapping that button is called clicking.

While you’re pointing at the trash can, try clicking (by tapping the button). That’s called "clicking the trash can" (or "clicking on the trash can" or "selecting the trash can"). When you do that, the trash can turns black. Try it!

Near the screen’s top right corner, you’ll see the words "Macintosh HD". Above those words, you’ll see a rectangle with a black dot in its bottom left corner. That rectangle is supposed to be a picture of a Macintosh hard-disk drive. That rectangle’s called the hard-disk icon. Try clicking in the middle of the rectangle. When you do that, it turns black.

Whenever you click an icon, that icon turns black, and the other major icons turn white. For example, when you click the trash icon, the hard disk icon turns white; when you click the hard disk icon, the trash icon turns white.

An icon that’s black is selected; an icon that’s white is called unselected or deselected. Usually, just one icon is selected (black); all the other icons are deselected (white).

(The Apple icon is a different kind of icon. If you click it, no colors change. I’ll explain it later.)

Try this experiment: click in the center of the screen, where there are no icons. All the screen’s icons suddenly turn white.

Here are the rules:

If you click a white icon,

it turns black and all other icons turn white.

If you click where there’s no icon,

all icons turn white.

Other Macs The hard-disk icon might have a different name and shape. For example, 80-megabyte hard disks manufactured by Jasmine are labeled "Direct Drive 80" (instead of "Macintosh HD") and have an icon that looks like a flower (instead of a rectangle).

Drag an icon

You can move an icon to a different place on the screen. Here’s how.

Point at the icon by moving the arrow’s tip to the middle of the icon. (Put the arrow’s tip in the middle of the icon picture, not in the middle of the words underneath it.)

Hold down the mouse’s button; and while you keep the button down, move the mouse. As you move the mouse with the button down, you’ll be moving the arrow and the icon. That’s called dragging the icon. When you’ve dragged the icon to your favorite place on the screen, lift your finger from the mouse’s button, and the icon will stay there.

Pull down a menu

Your screen’s top line of information is called the menu bar. It contains eight items: the Apple icon, the Help icon (which is a picture of a question mark in a bubble), the Finder icon (which is a picture of a Mac), and the words File, Edit, View, Label, and Special. Here’s how to use them.

Point at the Apple icon. Hold down the mouse’s button. While you keep the button down, you see this menu underneath the Apple icon:

About This Macintosh...

Alarm Clock



Control Panels

Key Caps

Note Pad



The menu appears only while you hold down the mouse’s button. (If you lift your finger from the mouse’s button, the menu disappears.)

Seeing the menu (by holding down the mouse’s button) is called pulling down the menu, because it’s like pulling down a window shade that has graffiti written on it. Since you see the menu by pulling it down, it’s called a pull-down menu. Since that menu appears underneath the Apple icon, it’s called the Apple menu.

If you point at one of the menu bar’s other items (Help icon, Finder icon, File, Edit, View, Label, or Special) and hold down the mouse’s button, you’ll see other menus. For example, to see the File menu, point at the word "File" and then hold down the mouse’s button.

Experiment! Try each item on the menu bar, and look at their pull-down menus. Those menus list some of the fascinating things your Mac can do!

Other Macs New Macs (such as the Mac Color Classic) use version 7 of the operating system. That’s called System 7. Old Macs use System 6 instead, whose menu bar lacks the Help icon, Finder icon, and Label.

On some Macs, the Apple menu displays slightly different choices. The top choice might say "About This Computer" or "About the Finder" (instead of "About This Macintosh"). The fifth choice might say "Control Panel" instead of "Control Panels". Extra choices might be displayed.

About This Macintosh

From the Apple menu, choose About This Macintosh. Here’s how.

Point at the Apple icon. Hold down the mouse’s button, so you see the Apple menu, including "About This Macintosh". While you keep the button down, point at "About This Macintosh". Then lift your finger from the button.

The computer will obey your command: it will tell you about your Mac.

To do that, the computer will display a window in the middle of the screen. In the window, you’ll see a message about your Mac.

For example, on my Mac Color Computer the message says: I have a Mac Color Computer; the operating system is version 7.1, copyrighted by Apple Computer Inc. 1983-1992; your RAM is 4 megabytes (4,096K), of which 1,182K is used by system software, leaving 2,884K unused in a big block (plus 30 K unused in smaller blocks). On your Mac Color Computer, the numbers might be different, and the number of bytes that are used and unused will vary as your Mac performs different activities.

Other Macs If you don’t see "About This Macintosh" on the Apple menu, choose "About This Computer" or "About the Finder" instead.

Drag a window

Look at the top line of the window containing the "About This Macintosh" message. The window’s top line gives the window’s title ("About This Macintosh").

Try this experiment. Drag the window’s title to a different part of the screen. (To do that, point at the title; hold down the mouse’s button; while you keep the button down, move the mouse.) As you drag the title, the rest of the window automatically drags along with it. When you’ve dragged the window to your favorite place on the screen, lift your finger from the mouse’s button, and the window will stay there.

Close the window

When you finish looking at the message in a window, you must close the window. Here’s how.

In the window’s top left corner, you’ll see a tiny square, called the close box. To close the window, click the close box (by pointing at the square and then tapping the mouse’s button). The window will close and disappear from the screen.


The Mac is called a WIMP computer, because it uses Windows, Icons, Mice, and Pull-downs.

Commodore’s Amiga computer and Atari’s ST computer imitate the Mac: they use Windows, Icons, Mice, and Pull-downs also. So they too are WIMP computers.

Any program using Windows, Icons, Mice, and Pull-downs is called WIMPy. You can buy WIMPy programs for many computers — even for the IBM PC!

If you have an IBM PC, you can buy Microsoft Windows, which is software that makes the IBM PC try to imitate a Mac. But the imitation is screwed up; it makes the IBM PC become a messed-up Mac. The Mac is nicer than any imitation! The Mac is a beauty that the beast can’t resemble.

This chapter examines the Mac’s beauty further.

Key Caps

To explore the Mac’s keyboard, choose Key Caps from the Apple menu. (To do that, point at the Apple icon and drag down to the phrase "Key Caps").

You’ll see a window that shows a picture of your keyboard. It reminds you of what your keyboard looks like.

In the picture, all the letters are lower-case. Try typing a word (such as "love"): you’ll see the word in lower-case letters.

SHIFT key If you hold down your keyboard’s SHIFT key, the letters in the picture change to capitals. While holding down the SHIFT key, try typing a word; you’ll see the word in capital letters, like this: LOVE.

OPTION key If you hold down your keyboard’s OPTION key, the letters in the picture change to weird symbols. While holding down the OPTION key, try typing; you’ll be typing symbols from Greek, Swedish, French, Spanish, Japanese, math, and other un-American pleasures. To get extra symbols, hold down the OPTION and SHIFT keys simultaneously.

Accents To type an accent, use these keystrokes:

Accent What keys to press

^ OPTION with i

˜ OPTION with n

¨ OPTION with u

´ OPTION with e

` OPTION with `

For example, here’s how to type ô. Type the code for ^ (which is OPTION with i), then take your finger off the OPTION key and type the letter you want under the accent (the "o"). Nothing appears on the screen until you complete the whole process; then you’ll see ô.

Close When you’ve finished exploring Key Caps, close the window, by clicking its close box.


To do calculations, choose Calculator from the Apple menu. (To do that, drag from the Apple icon down to the word "Calculator".)

You’ll see a window that looks and acts like a pocket calculator. For example, to compute 42+5, click the calculator’s 4 key (by using the mouse to point at the 4 key and then clicking), then click 2, then +, then 5, then =. The calculator will show the answer, 47.

Instead of using the mouse, you can do that calculation a different way, by using the Mac’s keyboard. On the right side of the keyboard, you’ll see the numeric keypad, which looks just like the on-screen calculator. On that keypad, tap the 4 key, then the 2 key, then (while holding down the SHIFT key) the + key, then 5, then =. The on-screen calculator will show 47.

Try fancier calculations, by using these symbols:

Symbol Meaning

+ plus

- minus

* times

/ divided by

= total

. decimal point

C clear

When you finish using the calculator, close the window, by clicking its close box.

Multiple windows

The screen can show several windows simultaneously.

For example, choose Key Caps from the Apple menu, so that you see the Key Caps window on the screen. While the Key Caps window remains on the screen, choose Calculator from the Apple menu. You’ll see both the Key Caps window and the calculator window on the screen simultaneously.

The calculator window sits in front of the Key Caps window, and partly blocks your view of the Key Caps window. The front window (the calculator window) is called the active window. That’s the window you’re using at the moment. For example, if you type "2+2=", the computer will say 4, because the calculator window is active.

To make the Key Caps window active instead, click anywhere in the Key Caps window. That moves the Key Caps window in front of the calculator window, so that the Key Caps window partly blocks your view of the calculator. Since the Key Caps window is in front (active), if you use the keyboard now you’ll be dealing with Key Caps instead of the calculator.

To switch back to the calculator, click anywhere in the calculator window.

If you don’t like the way that the active window blocks your view of the other window, move the active window (by dragging its title) or make the active window disappear (by clicking its close box).

Shut Down

When you’re done using the Mac, choose Shut Down from the Special menu. That makes the Mac shut itself off.

While shutting itself off, the Mac tidies up the information on the disks, ejects any floppy disks from the drives, and then turns off its own power (so the power light goes off and the screen turns black).

The next time you want to use the Mac, just press the ƒ key, which turns the Mac back on.

Other Macs When you choose Shut Down from the Special menu, some Macs say "It is now safe to switch off your computer" or "You may now switch off your Macintosh safely". Then press the on/off switch’s "0". To turn such a Mac back on, press the on/off switch’s "1" again.

When turning a Mac off, remember to also turn off any external drive.

Explode an icon

The Mac was designed by sadists. If an icon fascinates you, you’re supposed to explode it, by blowing it up!

For example, suppose the Macintosh HD icon is on the screen, and it fascinates you. Explode it! Here’s how: point at that Macintosh HD icon, then tap the mouse’s button twice quickly, so the taps are less than a second apart. That’s called exploding the icon or double-clicking the icon or opening the icon.

After the icon explodes, you can see what was hiding inside it. You see that inside the Macintosh HD icon, these 6 items were hiding: the System Folder, Teachtext, Read Me, Quicktime 1.5, Hypercard 2.1 Player, and Macintosh Basics. On your screen, you see their icons: the System Folder icon, the Teachtext icon, the Read Me icon, the Quicktime 1.5 icon, the Hypercard 2.1 Player icon, and the Macintosh Basics icon.

(You see those icons when your computer is new. If your computer’s been used, the people using it might have added extra icons or deleted some icons.)

Those icons all appear in a window titled "Macintosh HD". As with any window, you can move it by dragging its title.

Other Macs Different Macs contain different items and icons.

Size box

In the window’s bottom right corner is a tiny icon that shows overlapping squares. That icon is called the size box.

Drag the size box to another part of the screen (by moving the size box while holding down the mouse’s button). As the size box moves, so does the window’s bottom right corner, so that the window’s size changes.

By dragging the size box, you can make the window very large — or very small.

If you make the window small, it shows fewer icons. Some of the icons are hiding out of view. To see the hidden icons again, make the window larger.

Zoom box

In the window’s top right corner is a tiny icon that shows a picture of a square inside a square. That icon is called the zoom box.

Try clicking the zoom box. When you do, the window’s size changes.

Clicking the zoom box usually makes the window become the perfect size — just big enough to show all its icons (so none of its icons are hidden anymore).

Once the window’s become the perfect size, clicking the zoom box again makes the window return to whatever weird size it had before reaching perfection. So clicking the zoom box makes the window switch to perfection — or back to imperfection.

Try it! Click the window’s zoom box several time, and see the window switch back and forth between perfection and imperfection.

Other Macs For System 6, clicking the zoom box makes the window become huge (filling most of the screen) instead of "the perfect size".

Scroll boxes

Since the hard disk of a new Mac normally contains six items (the System Folder, Teachtext, Read Me, Quicktime 1.5, Hypercard 2.1 Player, and Macintosh Basics), the hard disk’s window is supposed to show six icons. But if you make the window very small (by using the size box), the window becomes too small to show the six icons. Instead, the window shows just some of the icons.

Try this experiment: drag the size box until the window becomes so small that it shows just one icon.

When you make the window that small, a blue ribbed square scroll box appears at the bottom of the window, and another blue ribbed square scroll box appears on the window’s right side. By dragging the scroll boxes, you can shift the view that you see through the window, so you see different icons in the window. Shifting the view by moving the scroll boxes is called scrolling.

Arrows and gray rectangles Here’s another way to shift the window’s view: click the arrows and gray rectangles that appear next to the scroll boxes.

If you click an arrow, the scroll box nudges in the direction that the arrow points. To nudge even further in that direction, click that arrow several times, or just point at the arrow and hold down the mouse’s button for a while.

If you click a gray rectangle, the scroll box hops toward that rectangle. It hops far enough to make the window show the next windowful of information.

The part of the window that consists of the scroll box, arrows, and gray rectangles is called the scroll bar.

Peek in folders

Try this experiment. Enlarge the Macintosh HD window by clicking its zoom box. Use the scroll boxes to adjust the window’s view, until you see all six items in the window.

Four of those items are folders: the System Folder, Quick Time 1.5, Hypercard 2.1 Player, and Macintosh Basics. Each of their icons is in the shape of a manila folder. Let’s peek inside the folders.

Start by peeking inside the System Folder. To do that, double-click the System Folder icon. The System Folder icon will explode and show you everything inside it.

When you finish peeking inside the System Folder, click its close box.

Other Macs Different Macs contain different folders.

Run Teachtext

Get the Teachtext icon onto the screen (by exploding the Macintosh HD icon).

Notice that the Teachtext icon isn’t in the shape of a folder. Instead of being a folder, Teachtext is an application program.

To start using an application program (such as Teachtext), explode its icon, by double-clicking it. Then the screen’s appearance changes dramatically.

Teachtext is a simple word processor; it lets you type words and sentences simply. Try it! After exploding the Teachtext icon, try typing whatever sentences you wish to make up. For example, try typing a memo to your friends, or a story, or a poem. Be creative! Whatever you type is called a document.

Other Macs If your Mac is a Performa, here’s how to get the Teachtext icon onto the screen: explode the Macintosh HD icon (so you see the Macintosh HD window), then explode the Applications folder in that window.

Unfortunately, Teachtext is missing from the newest versions of the Mac operating system.

Use the keyboard

These tricks will help you type.

To capitalize a letter of the alphabet, type that letter while holding down the SHIFT key.

To capitalize a whole passage, tap the CAPS LOCK key, then type the passage. The computer will automatically capitalize the passage as you type it. When you finish typing the passage, tap the CAPS LOCK key again: that tells the computer to stop capitalizing.

If you make a mistake, press the DELETE key. That makes the computer erase the last character you typed.

To erase the last two characters you typed, press the DELETE key twice.

If you’re typing near the screen’s right edge, and you type a word that’s too long to fit on the screen, the computer will automatically move the word to the line below.

When you finish a paragraph, press the RETURN key. That makes the computer move to the line underneath so you can start typing the next paragraph.

If you want to double-space between the paragraphs, press the RETURN key twice.

If you want to indent a line (such as the first line of a paragraph), begin the line by pressing the TAB key. The computer will indent the line slightly (as if you pressed the SPACE bar twice).

To type an accent, use the same technique as when you’re using Key Caps. For example, to type the symbol ô, type the code for ^ (which is OPTION with i), then type the "o".

Other Macs On old Macs, the DELETE key is called the BACKSPACE key and says "Backspace" on it.

Scroll through documents

If your document contains too many lines to fit in the window, the window will show just part of the document. To see the rest of the document, move the scroll box (by dragging it or by clicking on the nearby arrow or gray area).

Insert characters

To insert extra characters anywhere in your document, click where you want the extra characters to appear (by moving the mouse’s pointer there and then pressing the mouse’s button). Then type the extra characters.

For example, suppose you typed the word "fat" and want to change it to "fault". Click between the "a" and the "t", then type "ul".

(When you’re using the Mac, notice that you click between letters, not on letters.)

As you type the extra characters, the screen’s other characters move out of the way, to make room for the extra characters.

While you’re inserting the extra characters, you can erase nearby mistakes by pressing the DELETE key.

Select text

Suppose the document contains a phrase you mistyped. Here’s how to edit the phrase.

First, make the phrase turn black, by using any of these methods.…

The drag method

Point at the phrase’s beginning.

Drag to the phrase’s end.

The shift-click method

Click at the phrase’s beginning.

While holding down the SHIFT key, click at the phrase’s end.

(That’s called shift-clicking the phrase’s end.)

The double-click method

If the "phrase" is just one word, double-click it.

Turning the phrase black is called selecting the phrase.

Then say what to do to the phrase. For example, if you want to erase the phrase, press the DELETE key. If you want to replace the phrase instead, just type whatever words you want the phrase to become. If you want to move the phrase instead, choose Cut from the Edit menu, then click where you want the phrase to be, then choose Paste from the Edit menu.

Notice that the Cut command makes sense only if you’ve selected some text (by turning that text black).

If you don’t select any text — if no phrase is black — the computer refuses to let you say Cut. In that situation, when you pull down the Edit menu, you’ll notice that the word "Cut" appears on the menu very faintly: the word "Cut" is dimmed; it’s grayed instead of being written in sharp black.

Here’s the rule: when a word on a menu is dimmed, the computer refuses to let you choose that word. The usual reason for the refusal is that you haven’t selected a phrase (or icon or other part of the screen).

Start over

If you mess up the entire document and want to erase it all (so you can start over again, fresh, from scratch), choose Select All from the Edit menu, then press the DELETE key.


To copy the document onto the disk, choose Save from the File menu.

Then invent a name for your document. For example, you can invent a short name such as —


or a long name such as:

Stupidest Memo of 1995

The name can be up to 31 characters long. It can’t contain a colon and can’t begin with a period, but it can contain any other characters you wish! At the end of the name, press the RETURN key. That makes the computer copy the document onto the disk.

Afterwards, if you change your mind and want to do more editing, go ahead! Edit the document some more. When you finish that editing, save it by choosing Save from the File menu again.


When you finish working on a document, click the close box.

(The computer might ask, "Save changes?" If you reply by clicking Don’t Save, the computer won’t copy your latest changes to the disk. If you click Save instead, the computer will chat with you, just as if you chose Save from the File menu.)

The document will disappear from the screen, but you’re still in the middle of using Teachtext. To prove you’re still in the middle of using Teachtext, notice that the only words in the menu bar are the Teachtext words (File and Edit); you do not see the full set of standard words (File, Edit, View, Label, and Special).

Then go to the File menu, and choose New, Open, or Quit. Here’s what happens.…

If you choose New, the computer will let you start typing a new document.

If you choose Open and then double-click the name of an old document you created earlier, the computer will put that document onto the screen and let you edit it.

If you choose Quit, the computer will finish using the application program (Teachtext), so the menu bar will show the full set of standard words (File, Edit, View, Label, and Special).

The screen will show the Teachtext icon next to all the other icons in the Macintosh HD window. Some of those icons are new; you automatically created them when you saved your documents. For example, if you created a document called "Stupidest Memo of 1995", you’ll see a new icon marked "Stupidest Memo of 1995".

The Mac is smart: it remembers how each document was created. For example, it remembers that "Stupidest Memo of 1995" was created by using Teachtext.

If you explode the "Stupidest Memo of 1995" icon (by double-clicking it), the Mac notices that the memo was created from Teachtext. So the Mac deduces that you must be interested in Teachtext. Then the Mac automatically starts running Teachtext and makes Teachtext open that memo, so you see the memo on the screen and can edit it.

Here’s the general rule: if you double-click a document’s icon, the Mac notices which application program created the document; then the Mac makes that application program run and open the document.

Other Macs If your Mac is a Performa and you tell it to save your Teachtext document, it puts the document in the Documents folder. That folder normally appears on the right side of your screen (between the hard-drive icon and the trash can).

Forget to Quit? When you finish using Teachtext, you’re supposed to choose Quit from the File menu. If you forget to choose Quit, the Teachtext program is still in the computer’s RAM chips (even if the screen shows other icons and other menu items).

To check whether the Teachtext program is still in the RAM chips, point at the Finder icon (which is in the screen’s top right corner and shows a picture of a Mac); then hold down the mouse’s button, so you see the Finder menu. If the menu mentions Teachtext, then Teachtext is still in the RAM chips! To remove Teachtext from the RAM chips, choose Teachtext from the Finder menu, then choose Quit from the File menu.

Problem: you try starting Teachtext (by double-clicking the Teachtext icon), but nothing seems to happen. Here’s why nothing seems to happen: you’re in Teachtext already, because you forgot to Quit from Teachtext the previous time you used Teachtext. Solution: choose Quit from the File menu; then your computer will act normally.

Other Macs If you’re using System 6, the Finder icon and Finder menu are missing (unless you installed Multifinder).

Final two steps When you finish using the computer, remember to take these two steps:

1. If you’re in the middle of using an application program (such as Teachtext), get out of it by choosing Quit from the File menu.

2. When you see the usual desktop screen (with the menu bar saying File, Edit View, Label, and Special), choose Shut Down from the Special menu.

Advanced features

Here’s the stuff I was afraid to talk about earlier!

Manipulate the desktop

When you turn the Mac on, the screen shows you the desktop, which is a gray area on which you see the hard disk icon and the trash can icon. The hard disk icon might be exploded, to show you what’s on the disk.

Each thing on the disk is called an item. The Mac can handle three kinds of items: folders (such as the System Folder), application programs (such as Teachtext), and documents (such as "Stupidest Memo of 1995"). Application programs and documents are called files.

The typical icon on the screen stands for an item or for a whole disk.

Now I’m going to explain how to manipulate the icons. If you’re a beginner, experiment with just the icons that stand for junky documents (such as "Stupidest Memo of 1995"); if you fiddle with files that are more serious, you might be sorry!

Rename an icon To change an icon’s name (such as "Stupidest Memo of 1995"), click the name under the icon. (Click the name, not the icon.) Then retype the name and press RETURN.

Move an icon If an icon’s name (such as "Stupidest Memo of 1995") blocks the names of other icons, do this: enlarge the window (by clicking the zoom box) and then drag the icon to a blank part of the window.

If you want to move an icon into a different folder, just drag the icon there. Here’s how. If the folder’s exploded, so you see the folder’s window, drag the icon to any blank part of that window. If the folder’s not exploded, drag the icon you’re moving to the folder’s icon.

Create a new folder To create a new folder, choose New Folder from the File menu. That makes the computer create a new folder and put it in the active window. The new folder has nothing in it; it’s empty. The computer temporarily names it "untitled Folder".

Invent a better name for the folder (such as "Sue"). Type that name, then press RETURN.

Copy an item To copy an icon (and the item it stands for), click the icon (so it turns black), then choose Duplicate from the File menu.

That makes the computer create a copy of the icon. The computer puts the copy just to the right of the original.

If the original icon was named "Joe" (for example), the copy is automatically named "Joe copy". If you don’t like that name, retype it and press RETURN.

Other Macs System 6 says "Copy of Joe" instead of "Joe copy".

Trash items

To erase an item (folder, application program, or document), drag its icon to the trash can. You’ll see the trash can bulge, because it contains the item.

The item will stay in the trash can until the computer empties the trash. To make the computer empty the trash, choose Empty Trash from the Special Menu, then click OK.

When the computer empties the trash, the trash can stops bulging: the trash items disappear forever, erased from the disk.

Other Macs System 6 automatically empties the trash whenever you choose Shut Down from the Special Menu, restart the Mac, eject a floppy disk, copy an icon, or start running an application program (such as Teachtext).


Peek in the trash If the trash can is bulging (because the trash hasn’t been emptied yet), and you want to see what items the trash can contains, double-click the trash can’s icon. You’ll see all the items in the trash.

Rescue If you change your mind about which items you want to erase, you can rescue an item from the trash can: just move the item’s icon out of the trash can!

To do that, you can drag the item’s icon from the trash can to a different window. Another way to get the item out of the trash can is to click the item’s icon, then choose Put Away from the File menu. That makes the computer put the item’s icon back in the disk’s window or folder that the icon originally came from.


The Mac contains a clock. To use it, choose Alarm Clock from the Apple menu. A window will appear.

Window’s size The window can have two sizes: small (in which you see just one line of information) or large (in which you see three lines).

At the window’s top right corner, to the right of the time, you’ll see tiny icon, called a lever. Clicking that lever changes the window’s size. Make the window large (by clicking the lever if necessary), so that you see three lines of information.

Current time The window’s top line shows you the time that’s on the Mac’s clock.

If that time is wrong, reset the Mac’s clock. To do that, click the simple clock icon (in the window’s bottom left corner), edit the time in the window’s middle line (by clicking the part of the time that’s wrong, then retyping it), then press the RETURN key.

Date To see the date, click the calendar icon (which is in the middle of the window’s bottom line). That makes the date appear in the window’s middle line. If the date’s wrong, edit it: click the part that’s wrong, retype that part, then press RETURN.

Alarm You can set an alarm, so the computer will beep you at a certain time. Here’s how.

Click the alarm-clock icon (in the window’s bottom right corner). Edit the alarm time (in the window’s middle line). Left of the alarm time, you’ll see a tiny icon, which is the alarm on/off switch; click that switch, to make the alarm-clock icon look like it’s ringing. Close the window.

That sets the alarm clock to the time you wish. When that time comes, the computer will beep at you, and the Apple icon (in the top left corner of the screen) will turn into a flashing clock.

To turn off the alarm, choose Alarm Clock from the Apple menu, click the alarm-clock icon (in the three-line window’s bottom right corner), and click the alarm on/off switch (at the left edge of the window’s middle line).

Battery Even when you turn the Mac off, its clock keeps running by using a battery inside the Mac.

After several years, the battery runs down. Then the clock becomes inaccurate, until you buy a new battery.

Floppy disks

Here’s how to use floppy disks.

Initialize a blank floppy You can buy a blank floppy disk and put it in your Mac. Here’s how.

First, make sure you buy the right kind of blank floppy disk. The disk should be 3½-inch; and for a modern Mac (such as the Mac Color Classic), the disk should be high-density. (A high-density 3½-inch floppy disk has "HD" stamped on it. Two of the disk’s corners have square holes in them. If you hold the disk up to a light, you can see light come through one of those two holes; the other hole is blocked.)

On the front of the Mac, you’ll see a horizontal slot. Put the floppy disk into that slot. When you insert the disk, make sure the arrow engraved on the disk points at the computer, the disk’s label is on top of the disk, and the disk’s metal slider goes into the computer before the label does.

Push the disk all the way in.

If the disk is indeed 3½-inch, high-density, and blank, the computer says "This disk is unreadable" and asks, "Do you want to initialize it?" Click the word Initialize, then click the word Erase.

The computer says, "Please name this disk". Invent a name for the disk (up to 27 characters long); type the name and then press RETURN.

The computer says "Formatting disk". After 50 seconds (during which the computer formats the disk), the computer says "Verifying Format", then "Creating Directory".

Finally, an icon for the disk appears on the screen. Under the disk’s icon, you see the disk name you invented.

If you double-click the disk’s icon, you see the disk’s window. That window has no items in it yet, since the disk is still empty.

Other Macs For old Macs, buy floppy disks that are double-density (instead of high-density).

Copy an item to the floppy To copy an item from the hard disk to the floppy disk, drag the item’s icon to the floppy-disk icon (or into the floppy-disk window).

Eject the floppy When you finish using the floppy and want to remove it from the Mac, choose Put Away from the File menu. That makes the computer eject the floppy (unerased and unharmed). The floppy’s icon disappears from the screen.

If you haven’t done so yet, get a pen and scribble the floppy’s name onto the floppy’s label.

Other Macs In System 6, the File menu doesn’t offer a choice called "Put Away". Instead, eject the floppy by dragging the floppy’s icon to the trash can. (Don’t worry: that will not erase the floppy.)

Copy a floppy item to your hard disk Here’s how to copy one item from a floppy disk to your hard disk.

If you haven’t done so yet, insert the floppy disk into the Mac. You’ll see the floppy disk’s icon.

Double-click the floppy disk’s icon, so you see the floppy disk’s window. In that window, find the item you want to copy to the hard disk.

Drag that item’s icon to the hard disk’s icon (or into the hard disk’s window or into one of the hard disk’s folders).


Copy an entire floppy disk to your hard disk Here’s how to copy all of a floppy disk’s information to your hard disk.

First, if you haven’t done so yet, insert the floppy disk into the Mac. You’ll see the floppy disk’s icon.

Drag the floppy disk’s icon to your hard disk’s icon.

On your hard disk, the computer will create a new folder, which has the same name as the floppy disk and contains the same items.

Explode that folder, to check what’s in it. If it contains another folder called System Folder, erase that System Folder (by dragging it to the trash), because your hard disk should contain just one System Folder.

Create a ghost icon If a floppy’s in the drive, and you’re done using the floppy, try this experiment: close the floppy’s windows, then choose Eject Disk from the Special menu. That makes the computer eject the floppy but leave the floppy’s icon on the screen. The floppy’s icon becomes covered with black dots, as if somebody had thrown black sand over its dead body. That icon is called a ghost icon, because it represents the spirit of a departed disk!

When you insert the next floppy into the drive, that floppy’s icon appears on the screen also. That’s how to get two floppy-disk icons on the screen simultaneously — even if you have just one floppy-disk drive.

Other Macs In System 6, if you want to create a ghost icon, choose Eject from the File menu (instead of Eject Disk from the Special menu).

Copy an entire floppy to another floppy Here’s how to copy an entire floppy to another floppy.

Grab the floppy you want to make a copy of, and put that floppy into the drive, so you see that floppy’s icon. Then choose Eject Disk from the Special menu, so that the computer ejects the floppy but leaves its ghost icon on the screen.

Next, insert a blank floppy and let the computer initialize it. When the computer asks you to name the floppy, do not give it the same name as the floppy you’re making a copy of. Pick a different name instead.

When the computer finishes initializing the blank floppy, the blank floppy’s icon appears on the screen.

Drag the ghost icon to the blank floppy’s icon. Click the word OK. Obey the computer’s instructions about putting floppies in the drive. Then the computer will make the copy.

Make backups To protect yourself against mistakes, accidents, and disasters, make extra copies of every floppy you own. The extra copies are called backups. For example, make a backup copy of the Macintosh System Tools disk.

If you’re making a copy of a disk called "Joe", do not call the copy "Joe" also, because then you’ll get confused about which disk is which. Instead, call the copy "Fred" or "Joey" or — better yet — "Copy of Joe" or "Joe copy".


When you turn on the Mac, it creates a special document called the Clipboard, which sits in the RAM chips instead of on a disk.

Practically anytime you’re using the Mac, you can choose Show Clipboard from the Edit menu. That makes the computer show you the Clipboard, by putting the Clipboard’s window on the screen. When you finish looking at the Clipboard’s window, click its close box.

Copy & Paste Try this experiment. Create a document (by using an application program such as Teachtext). In that document, select a phrase (so the phrase becomes black). From the Edit menu, choose Copy. That makes the computer copy the phrase to the Clipboard. So if you look at the Clipboard’s window (by choosing Show Clipboard from the Edit menu), you’ll see that the Clipboard contains a copy of the phrase.

Next, try this experiment. Click anywhere in your Teachtext document (or any other normal document), then choose Paste from the Edit menu. That copies the Clipboard’s phrase to where you clicked.

So the major Clipboard commands are Copy and Paste. Saying Copy lets you copy from a Teachtext document to the Clipboard; saying Paste lets you copy from the Clipboard to a Teachtext document.

Copy versus Cut If you select a phrase in your Teachtext document and then say Copy, the phrase appears in two places: in your Teachtext document and also in the Clipboard. Instead of saying Copy, you can say Cut, which copies the phrase to the Clipboard but also erases the phrase from the Teachtext document, so that the phrase appears in just one place: the Clipboard.

Cut & Paste Here’s how to move a phrase to a different part of your document.

Select the phrase (so it becomes black). Choose Cut from the Edit menu (so the computer moves the phrase to the Clipboard).

Click in your document, where you want the phrase to appear. Click Paste from the Edit menu (so the computer copies the phrase from the Clipboard to where you clicked.

Four Clipboard commands Altogether, the Edit menu contains four Clipboard commands:

Edit menu’s command What the computer will do

Show Clipboard show the Clipboard’s window

Copy copy a selected phrase to the Clipboard

Cut erase selected phrase but put copy of it on Clipboard

Paste copy the Clipboard’s phrase to where you clicked

What the Clipboard can hold The Clipboard holds just one phrase at a time. So when you copy a new phrase to the Clipboard (by saying Copy or Cut), that new phrase replaces the Clipboard’s previous phrase, which vanishes from the Clipboard.

When you put a phrase on the Clipboard, the Clipboard keeps remembering that phrase even if you switch to a different application program. For example, after copying a phrase from a Teachtext document to the Clipboard, you can switch from Teachtext to Superpaint (which draws pictures) and paste that phrase into the middle of your picture. You can also copy a selected part of a Superpaint picture to the Clipboard, then paste that picture into the middle of a Microsoft Word word-processing document.

Print on paper

To let your Mac print on paper, you must buy a printer and run a cable from the printer to the Mac.

Then tell the Mac what kind of printer you bought. To do that, choose Chooser from the Apple menu (so you see the Chooser window), then click the kind of printer you chose to buy, then click further details from the menus. When you finish, close the Chooser window (by clicking its close box).

Print a document Suppose you’ve created a document by using Teachtext. To print the document onto paper, you can use two methods.

Method 1: while you’re using Teachtext to edit the document (so that the document is on the screen), choose Print from the File menu, then click the word Print.

Method 2: while you’re not using Teachtext, click the document’s icon, then choose Print from the File menu and click the word Print.

Print a window When you’re not in the middle of running an application program, here’s how to copy the active window onto paper: choose Print Window from the File menu, then click the word Print.

Other Macs For System 6, choose Print Directory instead of Print Window, and click the word OK instead of the word Print.

Advanced selection

Open the hard drive’s window, so you see several icons in the window. You’ve learned that if you click a white icon, it turns black (and all the other icons turn white).

Shift-click an icon Here’s a new rule: if you click an icon while holding down the SHIFT key, that icon changes color. If the icon was white, it turns black; if the icon was black, it turns white. The other icons are unaffected. That’s called "shift-clicking the icon".

Select a group Here’s how to select a group of icons, so they all turn black and all other icons turn white.

To begin, click where there’s no icon. That turns all icons white, so that you start with a clean slate.

Find the first icon that you want to be in the group, and click it. That icon turns black.

Shift-click all the other icons that you want in the group. Those icons turn black also, while the rest of the screen remains unchanged.

Select all If you want all icons in the active window to turn black, just choose Select All from the Edit menu.

Drag a group After you’ve selected a group of icons (so several icons are black), try dragging one of those icons. Surprise! As you drag that icon, it will move — and so will all the other icons in the group.

For example, if you drag that icon into a folder, you’ll be dragging the whole group into the folder. If you drag that icon to the trash, you’ll be dragging the whole group to the trash. If you drag that icon to a different disk instead, you’ll be dragging the whole group to that disk.


Between the OPTION key and the SPACE bar, you’ll see a key that has a squiggle on it. The squiggle looks like a cloverleaf. On the Mac Color Classic and all other modern Macs, that key also has a picture of an Apple on it.

That key is called the SQUIGGLE key or CLOVERLEAF key or APPLE key. It’s also called the COMMAND key, because it lets you give commands.

For example, suppose you want to close a window. One way to close the window is the click its close box. Another way is to choose Close from the File menu. But another way is to hold down the COMMAND key; and while you keep the COMMAND key down, tap the W key.

Here’s how I discovered that trick. I looked at the File menu, saw the word "Close" there, and noticed that a squiggle and a W were next to the word "Close".

Discover more tricks! Look at each menu, and notice which words have squiggles and letters next to them!

The Finder and Teachtext let you give these squiggle commands:

Command Meaning

COMMAND A select ALL things in the window (so they blacken)

COMMAND C COPY the selected phrase to the Clipboard

COMMAND D DUPLICATE the selected icon

COMMAND E EJECT the disk from the drive

COMMAND I display INFORMATION about the selected icon

COMMAND N create a NEW folder or document

COMMAND O OPEN a folder, application program, or document

COMMAND P PRINT onto paper

COMMAND Q QUIT the application program

COMMAND S SAVE the document (copy it from RAM to disk)

COMMAND V paste from Clipboard and insert it here (^)

COMMAND W WIPE out the WINDOW, by closing the window

COMMAND X X out (cut, and move to the Clipboard)

COMMAND Y YANK floppy out of the drive (or item out of trash)

COMMAND Z ZAP the previous command; undo that command

Visual tricks

Here’s how to make the Mac perform visual tricks.

Label menu Normally, an item’s icon is black-and-white. (If the item’s a folder, its icon has a slightly blue tinge.)

You can dramtically color an item’s icon. To do that, click the item’s icon, then choose a color from the Label menu. You can choose 7 colors: Essential orange, Hot red, In-Progress pink, Cool sky-blue, Personal deep-blue, Project-1 green, and Project-2 brown. The icon turns that color. (Since the icon is still selected, it’s temporarily dark; but the darkness will go away when you click elsewhere on your screen.)

By choosing among those colors, you can color-code your work. Make the icons of all work-in-progress be colored In-Progress pink, so you can find those icons easily.

If you change your mind and want to remove the color from an icon, just click the icon and choose None from the Label menu.

Other Macs System 6 gives you no Label menu.

Pretty views After you explode an icon and see its window, you can use the View menu, which gives you seven choices.

The normal choice is Icon. If you choose Small Icon instead, the icons in the active window appear small, so you can fit more icons in the window without having to scroll.

If you choose Name instead, the icons in the active window appear even smaller, and the computer automatically rearranges the icons so that the item names are in alphabetical order. The computer also tells you each item’s size (in kilobytes), kind ("folder", "document", or "application program"), label (such as "In Progress") and date (when you last edited it). Before a folder’s icon, you normally see the symbol } . If you click that symbol, you’ll see all the items in the folder, and the symbol becomes . When you finish examining the folder’s items, click the , so it becomes } again and the folder’s items hide.

Instead of choosing Name (which lists the items alphabetically), you can choose Date (which lists the newest items first), Size (which lists the biggest items first), Label (which lists Essential orange items first), or Kind (which lists application programs first).

For the prettiest view, choose Small Icon from the View menu. Then, while holding down the OPTION key, choose Clean Up from the Special menu. That makes the computer rearrange all the icons, so they’re in a neat column and don’t overlap. (If you choose Icon instead of Small Icon, or you forget to hold down the OPTION key, the result isn’t as pretty.)

Other Macs System 6 gives you no label choice in the View menu.

Balloons At the top of the screen, you see the menu bar (which contains words such as File and Edit). In the menu bar, you see a balloon with a question mark in it.

That balloon’s called the Help icon. If you point at it and hold down the mouse button, you’ll see the Help menu.

For a wild experience, choose Show Balloons from the Help menu.

Then move the mouse pointer across the screen, and pause when the pointer’s on an object (such as an icon or a menu choice). Don’t click; just pause. Suddenly you see a little balloon, with a message explaining the object’s purpose.

Go ahead: move the pointer from object to object, and read all the little balloons! You can even pull down a menu, pause at each menu choice, and read a balloon about each menu choice.

Then go ahead and use your Mac as you do normally — except that if you ever pause on an object, a balloon pops up.

Though balloons are fun, they can sometimes distract you from getting your work done. To stop seeing balloons, choose Hide Balloons from the Help menu.

Other Macs System 6 gives you no Help icon and no balloons.

Closing thoughts

Before we leave the wonderful, wacky world of Mac and return to the ponderous, boring world of IBM, here are some closing thoughts.

Close all windows When you’re not in the middle of running an application program, try this experiment. Click a window’s close box while holding down the OPTION key.

That window will close; and while it closes, all the other windows will close also.

Make your Mac normal If you’re sharing the Mac with friends who are beginners, put the Mac back to normal before you shut down. Then your friends won’t be confused by the wild orgy you had with your Mac!

Here’s how to put the Mac back to normal.

Get out of any application program (by choosing Quit from the File menu). If you’ve given a window a fancy view, return that window to Icon view (or Small Icon view). Then close all windows (by clicking a close box while holding down the OPTION key).

Drag the trash can to the screen’s bottom right corner. Drag the hard-drive icon to the top right part of the screen.

Then choose Shut Down from the Special menu.