Navigating the Mac

Navigating the Mac

This right here is where the trouble is, and also where I believe the great disconnect occurs between Mac and Windows users. If you are a Windows user like I was, you've probably wanted to use a Mac out of curiosity before. You've also probably gotten the opportunity to do that via a friend, or the mac at your office, or whatever. When you got that opportunity, you took it, and played with the Mac for maybe 10 minutes before it frustrated the hell out of you and you walked away vowing never to come back.

Again, if you are like me, this was probably a recurring experience, and each time it recurred, you reminded yourself once more why you will never buy a Mac. That is understandable. In fact, for the first 2 weeks of my owning a Mac, I found myself consistently frustrated trying to do simple things like find a folder, or click my mouse. So if it took me 2 weeks to orient myself, obviously 10 minutes would never have been enough.

The thing you have to understand is that switching to a Mac is not just a change of computer. It is a change of operating system, of input devices, and even to some extent, a change of compatible applications. What this means is that everything from where your files are located and what your folders are called, to what programs you can use, all the way to how you use your keyboard and touchpad, changes as well. While this is easy to understand conceptually, it is not as easy to grasp instinctively. Especially when your instincts have been honed on Windows for over 10 years.

Even after having been told everything I've just said and am about say, should I put you (a Windows user) on a Mac today, you will find yourself looking for a start menu that is not there, tapping on a touchpad that should be clicked, searching for a file menu at the top of a window when it is located at the top of your screen, pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete and wondering why its not working, before realising that:

  • This is a Mac so *that shortcut doesn't exist, and
  • You were actually pressing Command+Alt+Delete because there is now a Command key where Ctrl used to be.

This, and a host of other differences are likely to frustrate you into going back to your Windows PC before you even have a chance to experience what the Mac has to offer. With this article, I hope to at least give you a headstart on navigating a Macbook should you ever decide to make the transition.