20 tips to help you work smarter with OS X

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MacFormat magazine has reached its 200th issue and to celebrate, they've published 200 unmissable Mac tips. Here are 20 that caught our eye. For the full 200, pick up a copy of MacFormat in your local newsagent's - on sale now.

1. Disk Utility

Disk Utility, located in the Applications > Utilities folder, is more versatile than it at first appears. Not only does it let you run disk verification and repair, it's also able to burn CDs and DVDs and erase rewritable discs. In addition it's where you erase, rename and partition hard drives and set up RAID systems.

Disk Utility can create byte-for-byte clones of existing drives or discs as well as creating blank disk images for you to populate with content. It's a perfect way, for example, to create backup copies of software install discs.

2. Disable automatic login

When you first set up your Mac and create an account, it assumes you are using it at home and makes you an Administrator. It also sets itself up to log you in automatically to save time. For some people this isn't suitable as the Mac may be in a public area, or contain important information that you want to keep away from prying eyes.

Go to System Preferences > Accounts and choose your account. Then select Login Options and uncheck Automatically log in as:. Now when you start up you are presented with a login screen for you to enter your details, which is much more secure.

3. Get Info window

You can right-click on any item in OS X or select it and choose File > Get Info. You are then presented with a window showing important information about the item, such as its size, location, creation date and owner permissions.

If you Get Info (C+[I]) on more than one item, two windows will open unless you hold the O key during selection, in which case a different window is shown displaying the collective properties of both items. Get Info windows are contextual, so with one open you can select further items and the window will update to show their details automatically.

4. Organise the Desktop

Let's face it, we all tend to drop files and folders on the Desktop for convenience and this can quickly become cluttered. If you go to View > Show View Options, you can alter the way Finder displays items. Controls include changing icon sizes, label positions and whether text information is displayed as part of a folder.

Most importantly, you can choose to snap items to a grid, meaning they will stay equally spaced and not overlap. Also in the View menu you'll find a Clean Up command, to auto-tidy any selected items, and the option to sort selected items by criteria like name, size or date created.

5. Stay secure

With an increasing amount of personal information stored on our Macs, it's important to be mindful of security. In System Preferences > Security, you can beef up your protection by setting Master and FileVault passwords to encrypt your documents on-the-fly.

If that's more protection than you need, consider the other options, the most useful of which is the option to lock the computer when it's put to sleep or when the screensaver is activated. Only your Administrator password will unlock it, making it great for leaving your Mac on but unattended.

6. Manage Dashboard widgets

Widgets can be useful but it's easy to install a lot and then forget about them, resulting in a cluttered Dashboard interface. To delete widgets, invoke Dashboard, click on the white + sign then click Manage Widgets. The widget manager appears, and if you uncheck a widget it is hidden from the list. If you want to actually delete it altogether, click on the red - sign by its name and it will be moved to the Trash.