Data Detectors

Here’s a cool step-saver, something no other operating system offers—a little something Apple likes to call data detectors.

In short, Mac OS X programs like Mail and TextEdit can recognize commonly used bits of information that may appear in your text: a physical address, a phone number, a date and time, and so on. With one quick click, you can send that information into the appropriate Mac OS X program, like iCal, Address Book, or your Web browser (for looking up an address on a map).

Here’s how it works: When you spot a name, address, date, or time, point to it without clicking. A dotted rectangle appears around it. Control-click inside the rectangle, or right-click, or click the ▾ at the right side. As shown in Figure 5-5, a shortcut menu appears. Its contents vary depending on what you’re pointing to:

  • A mailing address. You can choose Show Address in Google Maps from the shortcut menu; your Web browser opens and shows you that address on a Google map.

    Mail can detect street addresses, phone numbers, dates, Web addresses, and times. When it spots something you may want to add to another program like Address Book or iCal, it draws a dotted line around the info when you point to it without clicking. Click the little ▾ to get a shortcut menu for further options—like automatically adding the address to your Address Book program or seeing the address pinpointed on a Google map.

    Figure 5-5. Mail can detect street addresses, phone numbers, dates, Web addresses, and times. When it spots something you may want to add to another program like Address Book or iCal, it draws a dotted line around the info when you point to it without clicking. Click the little ▾ to get a shortcut menu for further options—like automatically adding the address to your Address Book program or seeing the address pinpointed ...

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