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OS X Mavericks: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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Services

For several generations of OS X, a menu called Services has sat in every single program’s Application menu. Services are a little baffling, and not many people use them—but here’s a crash course.

Services commands are contextual, meaning that they show up only when relevant; when a photo is selected, the text-related commands don’t appear. Services can filter out unnecessary material automatically. Run a command on a phone number, for example, and Services are smart enough to ignore any other inadvertently selected text.

You can download tons of Services. To install one, just double-click it; the Mac offers to install it. Once installed, Services appear in a number of places:

  • The Services submenu, in the Application menu of every single program.

  • The shortcut menu that appears when you right-click or two-finger click a Finder icon.

  • The shortcut menu that appears when you right-click or two-finger click highlighted text in a Services-compatible program.

  • The menu at the top of a Finder window.

Figure 7-2 shows what the Services menu looks like when you’ve highlighted some text in TextEdit.

You can turn off Services you never use (in System Preferences), thereby hiding them, and you can even assign your own keystrokes to the Services you do use. Finally, you can very easily create your own Services menu items, using Automator.

Even so, Services aren’t first-class Mac citizens. They show ...

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