Tag Archive: display

Sometimes you need to get the volume just a bit lower than the first notch. Is that even possible? It certainly is! All you need is a little Keyboard Kung Fu know-how.

Adjusting the volume

Apple Remote ControlThere are a few different methods of altering the volume of the speaker output on the Mac. Back in the old days every Mac used to come with it’s own infra red remote control that could be used not only with iTunes but also with other video and audio apps as well as the fundamental aspects of the Mac’s operating system. I must confess, my little white remote still lives in my pocket and I use it many times every day, mainly for altering the volume when not sitting in front of my computer.

While I am sitting at my Mac though, I find that the keyboard’s own volume keys are without question the fastest and easiest means of adjusting the volume.

Shows the normal way of decreasing the volume

Decreasing the volume using the volume keys

Can you turn it down just a bit more please?

In those quieter moments it can be beneficial to have greater control over the volume levels. Perhaps you have earbuds in, or are in a quiet place and find that even at the lowest volume setting that last notch is just not low enough.

This is when it is beneficial to know how to adjust the volume in finer increments.

Keyboard shortcut showing Incremental Volume Animation

Decreasing the volume in finer gradations.

While adjusting the volume, all you need to do is hold down two additional keys, Option and Shift:
F11 = Decrease volume in incremental steps.
F12 = Increase volume in incremental steps.

With the addition of the Option and Shift keys the volume can be made to go as low as 0.25.

Smaller increments of brightness too

Way back in Audio/Visual Adjustments we saw how the Option key could be used with a range of buttons across the top of the keyboard, otherwise known as the F keys.

Here’s a little extra tidbit: this shortcut also works with the brightness controls.

F1 = Decrease brightness in incremental steps.
F2 = Increase brightness in incremental steps.

What is looked at but not seen, Is named the extremely dim.
What is listened to but not heard, Is named the extremely faint.

– Chapter 14, Tao Te Ching.

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Options Aplenty

The aptly named “option” key (the one with the ⌥ symbol) provides several options when combined with particular F keys. For example, F1 brings up the Display window of the System Settings. This is because F1 is the ‘decrease brightness’ key. Similarly, F2. is the ‘increase brightness’ key and like the F1 key, when combined with the key, brings up the system’s display settings.

Display settings screenshot with photo of Mac keyboard showing Option-F1

Change the Display settings with Option-F1

Options for Sound Effects, Output and Input

On the top-right region of the keyboard are the volume settings, F11, F12, and F13. Using the key with any of these will provide instant access to the Sound panel of the System Settings. There you can adjust your mic’s input volume, or adjust the volume of your alerts.

Sound panel of System Settings

Grasshopper to Mission Control

Mission Control is great for quickly and easily getting an overview of and access to all your open windows, your Dashboard, and all your open applications. Customising your Mission Control settings to your own choice of key triggers is just as easy.

Use the F3 or F4 keyboard combination to bring up the Mission Control settings. From here you can set what key combinations you prefer for accessing things like Mission Control, open Applications, showing Desktop or Dashboard and also for setting the Hot Corner triggers for your mouse.

Mission Control Settings

Young Caine: You cannot see.
Master Po: You think I cannot see?
Young Caine: Of all things, to live in darkness must be worst.
Master Po: Fear is the only darkness.

Master Po: Do you hear the grasshopper that is at your feet?
Young Caine: [looking down, sees the insect] Old man, how is it that you hear these things?
Master Po: Young man, how is it that you do not?

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