Windows to Mac – Five Ways to Adapt

If you’ve moved from Windows to Mac, there’s undoubtedly a learning curve involved. However, all it takes is a little “retraining,” and before you know it you’ll be zooming around OS X at lightening speed. Once you get to that stage, it will be Windows that feels clunky and unintuitive – I promise!

However, certain differences will inevitably trip you up to begin with. When my wife (a committed Windows user) has occasion to use my MacBook Pro, I can almost predict when I’ll begin to hear swear words echoing though the house.

So, I’ve produced this guide to help those who have recently moved from Windows to Mac get their heads around some of the most noticeable differences.

Most manufacturers of Windows laptops are now trying to copy this, but I’ve yet to see one that comes close to emulating the precise and reliable gesture control on the Mac.

Want to scroll? Just use two fingers instead of one. Zoom? Just pinch your fingers like you can on your smartphone. Right click? Click with two fingers instead of one. There are tons more too – just go to “Trackpad” within “System Preferences” to learn about them.

Managing (and closing) applications

When you first move from Windows to Mac, it can seem a little strange that closing a program window doesn’t truly close a program. In fact, the easiest way to see if a program is running is that it will have a little dot underneath it on the Mac’s dock.

Closing programs “properly” is easy: just use the keyboard shortcut CMD+Q. Simple.

Dealing with the lack of a “delete” key

The lack of a “delete” key on my MacBook’s keyboard is the thing my wife moans about the most, however I can truly say it doesn’t bother me one bit any more – and I spend at least two-thirds of every working day writing articles.

If you want to delete everything you have selected, you just need to hold the Fn (function) key down at the same time as pressing the backspace key.

Furthermore, there’s actually some advanced functionality hidden away too. Pressing the CTRL or ALT key with backspace will delete the entire word behind the cursor. Pressing CMD with backspace will delete the entire line or paragraph behind it.

It’s well worth remembering that Macs weren’t just designed to be pretty and easy to use. Creative professionals have also used them for many years. There are keyboard shortcuts for everything, and the more time you invest in learning them, the quicker you can travel around the operating system.

Application switching

Are you missing the Windows ALT+TAB combination to switch between applications? Well it’s in OS X too, except you press CMD+TAB instead.

You’ve also got Mission Control if you press F3, which will show you all of your live windows at once, and allow you to spread apps over multiple virtual desktops. Take the time to learn to incorporate multiple desktops into your own individual workflow, and you’ll never know how you managed without the functionality.

Removing applications

Just drag them from the “Applications” folder to the trashcan. Simple isn’t it?

Learning a new operating system is always going to take a little time. The great thing about moving from Windows to Mac is that all the time you invest pays great dividends in speeding up your work. Even after a couple of years using a Mac, I still keep discovering little shortcuts that make me smile. Meanwhile, Microsoft seem determined to make Windows steadily less intuitive. Yes, my wife swears when she tries to use my Mac – but you should hear me when I have to use her Windows laptop!