Hi, I’m seriously considering switching from Windows to the Mac. Is this easy to do? Any feedback? Thanks.
It really depends on how adaptable you are. On Mac, for instance, the modifier key is the “CMD” key (the symbol looks like a square with loops at its corners) and is used in the same way that the “CTRL” key is on Windows. The CMD key is where you find the ALT key on Windows keyboards. Confusingly, Macs have a CTRL key in the same general area that Windows keyboards do. So you’ll be reaching for the wrong key to do a copy, or to apply italics, as CMD-c and CMD-i are used instead of CTRL-c and CTRL-i.
Likewise, Apple adopted “natural” scrolling on their trackpads. Drag down with two fingers on the trackpad to drag the virtual paper down into the window, revealing parts of the document/web page you’re viewing that are higher up. It took me about 10 minutes to get used to, but my Wife can’t deal with it, so she turned that feature off.
The menus are always at the top of the screen, not the window, and they change based on which application is currently “in focus”. That confuses or irritates some people, especially people with really large monitors who like to keep their windows small & lower on the screen, but it means you can flick your mouse cursor to the top of the screen without overshooting the menu.
There are a hundred little things that are different, sometimes they’re so “obvious” but different from Windows that you’ll have to google how to do them.
For me, it wasn’t a big deal, but then, I’ve been using computers since the early 80s, and so have had to adapt to a lot of “innovations” in user interfaces over the decades. I prefer Macs to Windows and any of the various Linux X-windows interfaces that I’ve tried, so for me, it is easy. But like every computing system, you do have to learn and adapt when switching.
If you have a mac store, I suggest you go play with a mac there to get a feel for these kinds of things. Visit some websites in Safari, open Pages and compose a fake letter. You should know pretty quickly if it’s going to be easy or hard.
I have been using Windows machines since 1.0, and MS-DOS before that. Fifteen years ago I had to use a Mac for a while, at work, but never got used to it. Didn’t like it. But after having had an iPhone for a few years and then an iPad I decided to switch, and have never looked back. My experiences from iPhone and iPad made the transition easier, I think, but like Rdale said, there are lots of small differences. The thing is, you won’t have to learn everything at once.
But I guess my transition was also made easy by the fact that I have been fixing my own PCs since the mid 1980s. I am used to figuring out how a computer works.
Easy is relative
I’ll offer some unrequested advice, though.
Allow a couple of weeks for your initial frustrations to disappear. For all the claims manufacturers make about being “intuitive”, it’s all rubbish, and things must be learned.
Don’t try to bend macOS to “do it like Windows”. Here be dragons!
If you are getting a laptop, learn to love the trackpad. It is far more functional and usable than any Windows laptop I’ve ever used.
Learn keyboard commands rather than Windows default pointy-clicky behaviour. macOS keyboard commands are consistent across applications. Learn it once, and it works everywhere.
Have a Mac-using friend available or on-call for your first few days. It’ll save you a lot of time and, probably, frustration. Best of all, have them sit next to you for the first couple of hours of trying to do the things you normally do; that is, the period after the initial setup.
I find Windows very frustrating to use. Much, I think, because of the inconstancies and the need to frequently search for operations. In contrast, frustrations with macOS are few; Apple do occasionally mess up something, though, so it’s by no means perfect.
I pay the Apple tax begrudgingly, but it’s mostly due to the thought of the alternative. (fwiw, I’m fine with Linux for software development, but that’s a different use case.)
I jump back and forth between Mac and Windows systems as I still have 1 crucial application that is Win only.
Background. I developed an accounting and stock management system on the very first Mac. Despite limitations of that original Mac, it ran rings around Win.
Then 20 yrs in corporate wilderness using nothing but Win, and eventually with Win 7, an appreciation of Win, soon ruined by Win 8.
Along the way, I retired from ‘corporate’ life and as a retirement present, brought an almost bankrupt software division from the multinational I joined 12 months earlier to turn around.
Turning that company into the 3rds largest distributor worldwide in its industry segment, we secured a worldwide 24/7 support contract for the largest multinational in that segment, re-introducing me to Mac which made up 30 percent of their kit at that time. Over the space of 14 years, we documented support cost, and end result (even IBM came to same conclusion), despite initial higher cost in some cases when doing a true feature comparison, a Mac has a lower total cost of ownership than an equivalent Win device.
After a few weeks getting acquainted with OS/X, I found it easier to be productive on the Mac. As someone else mentioned, the Mac trackpad runs rings around anything on a Win notebook.
Only gripes, I still get the ctr-c / cmd-c etc stuffed up from time to time jumping between the two, and I’m not a huge fan of the new keyboard on the MacBook Pro, though hopefully the latest version is better.
Despite my Mac sales pitch, Scrivener works superbly on either platform.
To paraphrase David Foster Wallace famous quote on tennis on TV vs live tennis (Tennis on TV is to live tennis like porn is to the felt reality of human love), replace ‘Tennis on TV’ with Win and ‘live tennis’ with MacOS in that quote
It’s been difficult for me, maybe in part because I have no intention of giving up my Windows machines or because I’m older or…
I have a MacBook Pro and hate the trackpad. It was the first big hurdle, improved by fixing it so it no longer scrolled in what is to me a backward way, and fixed by sticking a real mouse on the machine.
The next big thing I fought the machine over was where to save things. In the beginning things often saved where I didn’t want them in spite of my best efforts, and the only way to get them where I wanted was to let the machine have its way and then move the file. I still think the machine makes a mystery of file paths all too often and wonder if that’s why a lot of threads in this forum are people who can’t find things asking for help. Maybe there’s a setting I haven’t found. I want to see the entire file path in the title bar always. If there’s a way to have this show in Scrivener, for instance, I haven’t found it.
The small things like different commands aren’t that big a deal, just a matter of learning them. Scrivener and Vellum are the only programs I use on the Mac - well, and Safari. I can get by with Pages enough to save a little of this and that, but WordPerfect will keep me from ever giving up a Windows machine.
I thought so, too. but that was 12 years ago. Here are some of the (largely outdated) resources that got me through.
Gero Hermann’s Spotlight plugin and Nisus are the two that I still use. Up until 2016 or so I kept WP 5.1 in DosBox but haven’t reinstalled on my latest Mac.
Actually scratch that I have a Win98 VM in VirtualBox - not for WP but for the odd Quattro Pro spreadsheet - but all that data is now in R and I don’t think I’ve booted it up more than once or twice to test since 2016.
Sure, although it is an option, so not difficult to change. I’d be lost without easy access to mission control, exposé, and display switching, though.
Displaying paths is one of those differences. I’m sure you know that you can right-click on the project name in the title bar to see the whole path. Handy for opening other projects too.
I’m wondering whether part of the “where are my files” issue is that macOS expects a user’s files to be in their home directory, which is where they have appropriate permissions. If you break out of that into the rest of the file system – basing things off the Windows c:-drive, d:-drive, etc. thing – then you can expect all sorts of problems. That would fall into my ‘bend it to be like Windows’ category I mentioned above.
An easy way to find Scrivener files is to use Spotlight (cmd+space) and type .scriv or kind:scriv. The former will find backup files too. If you highlight a file in Spotlight (via the cursor keys), then pressing cmd displays the full path. Alternatively, cmd+return opens Finder at the file’s location.
There are a couple of settings you can adjust in Finder’s preferences to make things a little clearer:
- In the General tab: set New Finder windows show to your home folder instead of “Recents”. You can still get to that view if you want it, via the Go menu, but having new windows default to your standard user folders should reduce the mystery.
- The other setting is made to Finder windows themselves, and should stick for new ones: View ▸ Show Path Bar or ⌥⌘P. That will act more like the path bar in Explorer. Although you can’t click into it and type a path to navigate to, the View ▸ Go to Folder… command fills that gap.
All of those functions can be bound to keyboard shortcuts or secondary mouse buttons. The bindings are in System Preferences: Mission Control, and the rest are in Keyboard: Shortcuts: Mission Control. You should find most of them already have keyboard shortcuts by default.
I saw that when I did some searching, but I’m running the Windows version 14.something and not going back to 5.1. I’m also not up for dual booting and other solutions. My days of thinking working out solutions like that was fun are long past, and keeping a Windows machine around is the easy way. I have a couple other Windows programs I’m unwilling to give up.
I do know about the right click to find path now, but I don’t think having to do so every time it occurs to one to wonder is the same as having it right there all the time so you know where that file is when you need to, whether you happened to wonder about it yesterday or not. A awful lot of users seem to have no idea where their projects or backups are, and IMO the Mac does it best to keep it that way. Not that Windows doesn’t also think users shouldn’t worry their pretty little heads about such things, but it’s easier to thwart Windows in that regard.
I never tried to save anything anywhere except in Documents, but I wanted things in subdirectories, and that’s where my fight came in. The machine wanted them in the main Documents, and I wanted them in my own sub or even sub-subdirectories. I’ve mastered that now too, although I can’t say I never end up having to move something when the machine wins.