Written by Megan Huffman
If you are a regular PC user who is using a Mac, the layout and software differences can be a little startling. Your first question may be “Where is Internet Explorer?” or “Why isn’t Microsoft Word on this computer?” Well, hopefully this blog post can help clear up some of this confusion.
Internet Explorer vs. Safari
As you may have noticed, Mac computers do not come with Internet Explorer, but do not fear because Apple has it’s own Internet browser called Safari! Can’t find it on the desktop? Here is what they icon looks like:
Now, when you open Safari, it’s going to look a little bit different than Internet Explorer:
|Internet Explorer browser|
You have your basic back and forward buttons, home button, and print button on the far left. Something that may look a little odd is the + button, but it is basically the same thing as an “add to favorites” or “bookmark” button. The refresh button is also available (it’s just a little harder to spot) at the end of the address bar. Also, Safari has a nice little Google search bar available, which is similar to what Firefox offers!
So here are a couple of features that are different in Safari.
The little glasses icon (surrounded in blue) will take you to your reading list. A reading list in Safari is an option you can use to save pages that you find interesting, so you can go back and read them later! You can add a webpage to your reading list by hitting the + icon. A pop up should come up that looks like this:
Then you click “add” and it is automatically added to your reading list! Now when you open up your reading list by hitting the glasses icon, a sidebar will pop up with everything you’ve saved in it!
Now how about that open book icon?
Well, that is your bookmarks icon; it will take you to view all of your bookmarks and your history as well! When you click it, you should get a view like this:
To view your history, you can simply click the History icon with the clock beside it.
So there was a short overview on how to use the Safari browser; now that you have accessed the Internet on a Mac, now it’s time to learn what other software you can use on a Mac (besides Microsoft Word) to write papers, create flyers, etc.
Microsoft Word vs. Pages
Microsoft Word is a great program for writing a paper, there is no denying that. It has great editing options that you cannot find in programs like Notebook that are available on the PC. But what do you do if you are on a Mac that doesn’t have Microsoft Word? There is another great program out there called Pages! Pages is Apple’s own word processor (just like Safari is Apple’s own Internet browser) that is available in the iWork suite. Not only is it similar to Microsoft Word, but you can also open, save, and edit projects from the Office suite in the iWork suite.
Alright, so to open Pages, you will want to click on this icon:
Now you should get a pop up that provides you with several template options. It’s fairly similar to what the newer Microsoft Word program does but with different templates.
For now, I will just use a blank template to run you through the program.
So when you open up a blank document in Pages, it looks pretty basic; you’ve got your header, body paragraph, and your footer. If you would like to see how your document is laid out, you can click View > Show layout.
This function is useful if you want to make a flyer or a document with several different text boxes.
This is where you do all of your text editing, pretty simple right? This bar lies right above where you are typing your document (just like Microsoft Word).
This area is where you can do all sorts of other editing like adding a new page; making an outline; inserting shapes, text boxes, tables, charts, comments, and media (aka pictures, video, music).
So the layout of Pages is pretty basic, and similar to Microsoft Word. So what are some differences? Well, if you are looking for clip art, Pages won’t provide it; but it does tap into iPhoto and grabs stuff straight from there. So, try going to an open source clip art provider or even office.microsoft.com to get clip art; make sure you have it saved on the computer, and then you can add it from there.
One of the great things about Pages is that it is compatible with iOS, so if you have an iPhone, iPad, or an iPod touch, you can also have Pages! The app does cost money, but if you want to type a paper on your iPad while in class, and then open it up on your computer at home, the fee doesn’t seem too bad; and if you have AirPrint, you can even print straight from your iPad!
Now if you are working with the iWork suite, you may be wondering about how you are supposed to make the PowerPoint presentation or spreadsheet to go along with your paper; Apple has that figured out, too. Numbers and Keynote are Apple’s versions of Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint. Just like Pages they have a very similar layout to Word, Numbers and Keynote’s layouts are very similar to that of Excel and PowerPoint’s!
Now that you know some of the difference in the software on Macs and PCs, hopefully that Mac will no longer look so scary! Generally, Apple’s software is very easy to work with and can create some great looking projects. If you are a normal PC user, don’t be afraid to test them out!