Little things to make life easier

In this month dedicating to organisation and making life easier, I thought I would share some of my favourite life/tech hacks, feel good blogs and the awesomeness that is Mac Preview. A little kaleidoscope of stuff to make life just a little bit better/easier.  (I also figured you were sick to death of hearing about ProBlogger).

Making life a little bit better

Life Hacks (that you haven’t heard a million times)

  • You know when you get a call and you don’t recognise the number and they don’t leave a message? And you want to ring back but what if it’s one of those horrible sales people? Google the number and if it’s a call centre the first hits will be people reporting the number as a nuisance.
  • If you want to increase or decrease the size of text on a Mac, use CTRL and + to increase and CTRL and – to decrease (Ctrl + Shift + >/< works on PCs). This is particularly useful when you have different sized text and want to resize the entire thing both proportionally. If you use it in a browser, it will zoom in and out.
  • If you are sick of Facebook not showing you things you want to see, make sure that you categorise your friends into lists. If you put people into the “close friends” lists you should see most of their status updates.
  • Need a quick calculator? If you type your equation into your browser bar it will give you the answer. On a Mac you can do it within spotlight (ctrl + space).
  • You can cook rice in the microwave. Not special microwave rice. Any old rice. And it tastes great. Rinse two cups of rice under water until it runs clear. Put into a microwave proof bowl. Add enough water so that you have 2cm of water above the rice (use stock if you are feeling a bit indulgent). Cover and cook on high for 5 mins. Then on medium for 7 mins. Then take out and let stand for 3 minutes. Fluff it up a bit with a fork. Done. (Really helpful for when you forget to cook the rice that goes with dinner, whilst prepping dinner. Not that have I done that.)

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Awesome Blogs that Make Life Better

These are some of my favourite blogs to inject a bit of the good stuff into my life.

  • The Organised Housewife: a site dedicated to make life a little easier and tidier. So need some help in that area (hence this month’s theme).
  • Smaggle: Basically chock full of ideas on how to make your life rock.
  • A Life Less Frantic:  A blog that makes you think about your life and how you prioritise yourself and your time.
  • Champagne Cartel: These ladies GET working mothers and they are here to help inject a bit more fabulousness back into your life.
  • Meet Me At Mikes: A sprinkling of lovely in every single post.
  • Not Another Slippery Dip:  All about guilt-free mothering and debunking the myth of the “Supermum”. Because we really don’t need another site telling us how to be better mothers – let’s focus on being better women!

If you have a blog with an aim to make life just a little bit better, please share it in the comments below. Go on.

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Mac Preview Hacks

Preview is the most awesome app on a Mac. Seriously. These are a few things it can do:

Add text over images

  • Just drag your image onto Preview (it should be on your bottom bar and look like two photos with a magnifying glass).
  • Make sure that View > Show Markup Toolbar is on.
  • Use the drop down marked A to select your text and size.
  • Use the T icon to type. You can use your own fonts. Eat your heart out Canva.

You can create circular images

  • Again, make sure that the show markup toolbar is visible.
  • Change the selection tool to elliptical.
  • Select your area (holding down shift at the same time for a perfect circle).
  • Choose crop and it will convert to a png file which supports transparency, and therefore a circular image.

Rapidly resize a bunch of images

  • Drag a stack of images into Preview.
  • Go to View > Thumbnails.
  • Select all (ctrl + A).
  • Go to Tools > Adjust size and away you go.

You can transform PDFs into images

  • Got an awesome PDF printable you want to turn into an image? Just drag into Preview.
  • Choose File > Export and then choose either JPEG or PNG file format.
  • You can then upload both your PDF and your image into your blog and link through to the PDF url from the image.
  • Yep, you can create an image from your PDF by taking a screen shot, but this will give you a much better resolution.

You can edit PDFs – stitch them together or delete pages

  • Drag your PDF into Preview.
  • Make sure that you can see the thumbnails by going to View > Thumbnails.
  • Drag the extra PDF you want to add in (or image or anything else really), making sure you drag it in BEFORE the end of document line.
  • Save.
  • If you want to delete PDF pages, just click on the thumbnail of the page you want to remove and click ctrl + Del.

You can create text filled with a texture or image.

  • You don’t need a layers based program like PhotoShop to do this. You can do it with preview. I show you how here:

I kind of love Preview. If you want videos explaining any of the above a bit further, let me know in the comments.

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Do you have any hacks or other general awesomeness to share? Did you know Preview could do all that? 

21 thoughts on “Little things to make life easier

  1. Robyn says:

    Oh you are a clever clogs! LOVE LOVE the mac preview hacks. I’ve been struggling with the PDF thing for ages. Thanks chick x

  2. Dawn Rieniets says:

    Such perfect timing for me! Our new mac is less than a week old. I feel like I have so much to learn but everyday I’m amazed at what this machine can do. I can’t believe how long it took me to switch from a PC! <3

  3. Michaela Fox says:

    I love all these hacks, Robyna. Had no idea about the Mac Preview functionality. You are just full of useful gems. I also love all the blogs you’ve mentioned for the same reasons. I am going to throw my blog into the mix as my aim is to make mothering a little easier. I do this by encouraging mums to slow down, play more and stress less. And I am all about guilt-free mothering and debunking the myth of the “Supermum”. Keep your tips and hacks coming – love ’em!

    • Robyna says:

      Mac Preview is AMAZING. I constantly try new things with it and am always surprise when it works! And I’m adding your blog right up there with others – where it belongs 🙂

    • Robyna says:

      Those Preview tips are great if you don’t have Photoshop and Illustrator – sometimes people forget what they can do with the free 🙂 (I never forget what I can do with the free 😉 )

  4. mummalove says:

    Oh, I just love how clever you are. Thanks for those tips! I’m fairly new to the Mac world and, although I love it, there are still things I google to find out along the way. Thank you xx

    • Robyna says:

      I like to just play – I found all those Preview things out just by playing around with it and seeing if it would do what I hoped it could. Nine out of ten times it can, so it’s a good idea just to set aside a few hours (ha!) and play.

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