Last week I wrote about sorting order, which prompted Wayne to alert me to a very useful piece of software called Natural Order. Natural Order is a System Extension that improves the sorting order that your Macintosh uses when it displays lists of items that have numbers in the name. Apparently (I haven’t yet tried it) this will ensure that your Mac will properly interpret numbers so they sort in the way you and I would expect.
This week’s topic though is Balloon Help.
Every Mac for many years now has incorporated a Help system called Balloon Help. This is of varied usefulness as some software (such as Outlook Express) doesn’t tap into it, while other software does (such as the email package Eudora).
Balloon Help can be very useful for a novice, while more experienced users are likely to find it intensely irritating.
Go to the Help menu and choose Show Balloons. Now move your mouse around the screen. Occasionally you’ll see a small white “speech bubble” with information about what’s under the mouse at the time.
If you’re using Outlook Express while you try this then you’ll only see the balloon when you hover over the Apple menu or the Application menu or in certain spots on the window.
If you’re using Eudora you’ll find numerous explanatory balloons as you mouse over various parts of the window.
If you now switch to another application such as Appleworks you might find a lot of balloons show up as you hover over the Toolbar, the Starting Points window or any open window such as a wordprocessing document.
If you’re ever puzzled by your Mac try out Balloon Help. You just might get that quick information you need.
Oh, and when you get tired of the balloons, just go back to the Help menu and choose Hide Balloons.