Meet the Snow Leopard Dictionary
Mac Tip #400, 02 September 2009
A brief word about the newly contextual Services menu, and some pointers for using the Dictionary, along with setting its Preferences.
Apple recently released Snow Leopard, version 10.6 of the Mac Operating System. While previous versions of Mac OS X brought loads of whizz-bang new features, the main purpose of Snow Leopard was to tune things up behind the scenes. The ‘new’ features are generally fairly small, though helpful.
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A refined Services menu
You may not have noticed the Services menu before — it appears on most Applications menus. If you did use it you probably found it full of hundreds of items that were of no use for your specific situation.
Now that’s different. The Services menu is more contextual, containing only items that are directly relevant to what you’re doing.
For example, I have some text in a TextEdit document. I want to discover the meaning of a word (
tuatara, in this case) so I select the word and go to the
TextEdit > Services menu. There I choose
Look Up in Dictionary.
The Snow Leopard Dictionary
The Dictionary in Snow Leopard opens, with the word I’d selected in the Search box. It opens up right to a definition of the word:
a nocturnal burrowing lizardlike reptile.
But here’s where it becomes really interesting: I can also see information about the word in a dictionary of Apple terms — no surprise, there was no information; in a thesaurus (also no info); and in Wikipedia.
It’s worth looking at the Dictionary Preferences: include and exclude Dictionaries, choose a default dictionary — I selected Wikipedia as my first preference — and even refine how each Dictionary behaves.
If you don’t yet have Snow Leopard look at the Dictionary now and watch my video to spot the differences.
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