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11 major new Snow Leopard features

Macworld staff | Aug. 27, 2009
The most important changes you'll find in Mac OS X 10.6

Exposé has also now been integrated into the Dock. If you click on any application icon in the Dock and continue to hold your mouse button down for half a second, Snow Leopard will engage Exposé and immediately display all of that application's windows. (Windows that you've minimized will appear, too, though they're smaller and sit below a faint line that separates them from the visible windows.)

This feature also works with dragged items--if you drag an image onto, say, the Pages icon in the Dock and hover there for a moment, Exposé will display all the open Pages windows. Drag the image over one of the windows and hover for another moment, and that window will come to the fore, allowing you to drop the image right where you want it. Once you get the hang of it, this new functionality can really speed up work, especially on systems with smaller displays (such as MacBooks).


Snow Leopard brings a few minor improvements to the Dock. One of the biggest concerns minimizing windows. Some people use the yellow button in the left corner of most window toolbars to banish windows temporarily to the Dock; others never take advantage of that feature, because it fills the Dock with tiny window icons. With Snow Leopard, Apple has combined window minimization with Exposé to create a new way of hiding windows that may be more popular than the old one.

To change the fate of minimized Windows, visit the Dock panel in System Preferences and check the Minimize Windows Into Application Icon box. Then, whenever you click on that yellow button, your window will fly down to the Dock and disappear into the icon of its application. To get it back, you can select it from the application's Window menu (a diamond will appear next to its name, indicating it's minimized); right-click on the application in the Dock and choose the window from a list (again, minimized windows appear with a diamond next to their name); or click and hold on the application's icon in the Dock, activating Exposé and displaying all your minimized windows at the bottom of the screen. Just click on a minimized window to bring it out of the Dock. In fact, Exposé always shows minimized windows when triggered. So if you prefer to retrieve minimized windows by typing F9 or F10 and picking it out, you can do that, too.

The Dock has changed in other ways, as well: you can now scroll through Stacks when in grid view, meaning you can see a whole lot more of what's in a particular folder. And when you select a stack or right-click on a Dock item, you'll notice that the contextual menu that pops up has changed. For one thing, it's now dark gray with light lettering, rather than the traditional white with black lettering. And the options to remove an item from the Dock, open that application at login, and reveal it in the Finder are now all found in new Options submenu.


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