How to Use an iMac Computer

By David Weedmark

Using a new iMac computer for the first time can be exciting, but also confusing if you are not used to the Mac OS X operating system. Learning how to navigate around the computer to find the applications or documents you need is often the biggest challenge the first time using any Mac computer. This is done by using the Finder. It shows you the folders and sub-folders where your applications and files can be found. Most of the applications on the iMac have names and icons that are self-explanatory, such as "Mail," "iCal" (a calendar)and "Address Book." To browse the Internet, use "Safari." Use "Preview" to look at images or PDF documents. To write a letter, you can use "TextEdit."

Finding And Using Finder

Step 1

Turn on the iMac by pushing the power button. After a few seconds the desktop will appear. Move your mouse to the bottom of the desktop to see the Dock, where the most-often used applications can be found. Hover the mouse over each icon to see its name.

Step 2

Click on the "Finder" icon. A new window will open. The left column contains the Macintosh hard drive and shortcuts to specific places on the hard drive, such as the "Documents" folder and your user profile folder.

Step 3

Change the appearance of the Finder by clicking on any of the "View" icons at the top of the window or by clicking on the "View" menu.

Step 4

Click on the "Macintosh HD" entry at the top of the left column. Click on the "Applications" folder to find most, if not all, of the applications on the computer. Many of these are also shown in the Dock. Add new icons to the dock by dragging them onto the Dock from the Finder with your mouse.

Step 5

Click any application to select it and highlight it. Double-click any application to open it.

Step 6

Click on your username on the left column of the Finder window. It has a house icon beside it. The "Applications" folder under your username is for applications only available to you. In most cases this will be empty. The "Documents" folder is where you should store most of your documents. The "Downloads" folder is where your new downloaded files will be saved. Other folders include "Movies," "Music" and "Pictures" for those specific file types.

Using Mouse

Step 1

Use a two-button mouse the same as you would use a Windows-based computer mouse.

Step 2

Use the left button to select and activate programs and drag documents, for example.

Step 3

Use the right button to see additional details about a file or to see specific actions available.

Step 4

Use a single-button mouse as you would the left mouse button on a two-button mouse. To right-click, press the "Command" key on the keyboard while clicking the mouse.

Using Applications

Step 1

Most applications are presented in a way quite similar to Windows-based computers.

Step 2

Click the "File" menu to select "Open" or "Save."

Step 3

Close an application window by clicking the red "X" icon on the top left of the window. Minimize it by clicking the "-" icon. Maximize the window by clicking the "+" icon.

Step 4

Click the "Help" menu at any time when using an application, located at the top of the screen. To get help with questions related to the iMac itself, click on the "Finder" icon in the Dock, or click on any blank space on the desktop to activate the Finder, then click the "Help" menu at the top of the screen.