Archive for October 2, 2017

Monday, October 2, 2017

Command-P Squared to “Save as PDF”

David Sparks:

Years ago I shared a tip about printing to PDF by holding down the Command key and pressing P twice. It’s a great tip and people still use it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work in High Sierra. That is because Apple removed the ellipsis from the command. To fix this, go to your keyboard shortcuts and remove the ellipsis, and all will be good again.

His original tip is great: you can assign the Command-P shortcut to the “Save as PDF” item in the PDF button menu of the Print sheet. Then just press Command-P twice to invoke it.

It’s not clear to me why Apple renamed “Save as PDF” without the ellipsis. It still brings up a sheet to ask where you want to save the file.


When it appears in the name of a button or a menu item, an ellipsis character (…) indicates to the user that additional information is required before the associated operation can be performed. Specifically, it prepares the user to expect the appearance of a window or dialog in which to make selections or enter information before the command executes.

Because users expect instant action from buttons and menu items, it’s important to prepare them for this different behavior by appropriately displaying the ellipsis character. Use the guidelines and examples here to help you decide when to use an ellipsis in menu item and button names.

Update (2017-10-02): It‘s a longstanding guideline.

Apple Open Sources iOS Kernel

Apple has long open-sourced parts of macOS, but now the iOS kernel is available as well (via Hacker News). And it’s now on GitHub (which is nicely searchable), in addition to the old Apple Open Source site.

High Sierra’s Disk Utility Does Not Recognize Unformatted Disks

Miles Wolbe (Hacker News):

Plugging in an unformatted external drive produces the usual alert, “The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer. Initialize… | Ignore | Eject”, but clicking Initialize just opens Disk Utility without the disk appearing


As shown above, clicking View > Show All Devices does not cause the raw disk to appear.

Disk Utility has been a disaster since it was rewritten for El Capitan. It now has a single window, so you can only do one action at a time even though actions may take many hours. It’s missing key features related to Core Storage. Mounting/unmounting and partitioning often fail. Strangely, I’ve not had any problems when using the underlying diskutil command directly.

High Sierra did fix the bug from Sierra where Disk Utility would always show the tab bar, with a single giant tab, even though it did not let you create more tabs.

Update (2018-01-14): Pierre Igot:

Software quality at @apple in 2017 (in #DiskUtility):

1. greyed-out text for disabled item is barely legible over dark-blue background selection colour;

2. volume is unmounted but the “Rename” menu item is still enabled (and doesn’t do anything, of course).

Update (2018-01-19): Lloyd Chambers:

Ultimately I failed to be be able to use Disk Utility at all to restore the system to a single volume. Total brick wall impossible.

Update (2018-07-25): See also: Drew Crawford.

The Touch Bar’s Future

Stephen Hackett:

Of course, if Face ID is coming to Macs at some point, the need for Touch ID will diminish. As I outlined in that post, there is evidence that the iMac Pro could be the first iMac to ship with Face ID, but it doesn’t come with a Touch Bar on its custom space gray keyboard. Once Touch ID is gone, will the Touch Bar go with it?

Backing away from the Touch Bar would be a bitter pill for Apple to swallow, but every hardware release where it stays contained to the MacBook Pro, I can’t help but wonder. High Sierra’s lack of major update to how the system and apps can use it makes me wonder even more. Is the Touch Bar going to end up just a weird blip?

Making Better Use of the Touch Bar

Josh Centers:

Many users of Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X were quick to point out how useful the Touch Bar is for editing media, such as Chuck Joiner when we discussed the Touch Bar on MacVoices.


In QuickTime, the Touch Bar offers a Record button, and it lets you quickly select a camera and audio source. Since selecting sources in QuickTime requires clicking a drop-down menu, the Touch Bar saves time here.

Preview offers some interesting and useful Touch Bar shortcuts, such as rotating images, underlining text, and quickly accessing markup tools. But the one that stands out to me is fast highlighting of text. Select some text in a PDF and tap a color on the Touch Bar to highlight the text with that color.


When you press Command-Shift-4 to take a screenshot of a selected portion of the screen, the Touch Bar lets you choose which type of screenshot to take: Selected Portion, Window, or Entire Screen. Even better, you can choose where to save that screenshot! By default, macOS saves screenshots to the Desktop, but via the Touch Bar you can instead choose the Documents folder, you can send it to the clipboard, or you can open the screenshot in Preview, Mail, or Messages.

He also recommends BetterTouchTool, which can create custom Touch Bar buttons.

Previously: What’s Wrong With the Touch Bar.

Update (2017-10-03): Peter Steinberger:

Okay, this is a nice Touch Bar tweak. (when you have an external screen)

Update (2018-08-02): Joe Cieplinski:

I love how people still insist to me that Touch Bar is “useless.” Mostly people who have never owned one, or never even tried to use it.

Come watch me edit in Logic or Photoshop, or triage my email sometime. Then talk to me about useless. It’s all a matter of personal workflow.