Sleight of hand for your Mac, iPhone and iPad

I can't do card tricks, make balls disappear, or pull coins from the air. Those sleights of hand that enthralled childhood pals never lured me. But, out of politeness or drawn by a crush, I'd pliantly sit cross-legged on the floor with the rest of my chums, and watch the newest Mandrake the Magician solemnly insist, "There's nothing up my sleeve."

Despite that early ennui, I'm hypnotized by any prestidigitation that involves an Apple product. Because I write this blog with "tech" in the title, and because I'm a nice person (translation, noodge), I'll happily share with you my favorite quick finger tricks.

For the Mac:
1. Let's say you want to take a photo of something that appears on your computer screen. You might want to print it, paste it into a document, or include it in a e-mail message. To take a screenshot with a Mac, press the Command-Shift-3 keys at the same time. The image icon (Picture 1) will then appear on your desktop to use as you wish.

2. If you want to capture only a bit of the screen, click Command-Shift-4 and small cross-pointers will pop up. Drag theses pointers over the piece of screen you desire. Your image will then contain only that part.

3. In your browser (Firefox or Safari) bar, you can Cut, Copy, and Paste by clicking on Edit and selecting from the drop-down menu, Or, you can save a trip up there and use these keyboard shortcuts: for Cut, Command X. For Copy, Command C. And for Paste, Command V.

4. Accents can be tricky. For example, to create the name, José. Hold down the Option key, and while holding it down, type the letter e; then release both keys and type the letter: e; an é should result. Using the same formula, you can produce á, í, ó, and ú. It's always, Option+e, release, then the desired accented letter.

5. For more Mac keyboard shortcuts, click on the Apple logo to the far left of your computer screen or browser. Select System Preferences, Keyboard and Mouse. Choose Keyboard Shortcuts. Ta-da!

For the iPhone and iPad
6. Accents are easy on the iPhone and iPad. Imagine you're typing an e-mail and want to add an accent to a letter, hold down that letter for two seconds. Por ejemplo, hold down the E key for a few seconds and you'll see "e" with several options. Move your finger to the right to select, an é.

7. If you're at the end of a sentence and want to add a period, you don't have to switch to the symbol keyboard, just tap the space bar twice. To enable this shortcut, go to Settings, General, Keyboard. Select On for the "." To add a comma, and avoid switching to the symbol keyboard, just press and hold the 123 button. Without lifting your finger, slide it over to the comma and then release. You'll remain in the alphabet screen. The trick of holding down 123 and sliding can also be used for the question mark, parenthesis, or any other symbol.

8. While you're at Settings, General, Keyboard, select On to Enable Caps Lock. Then, when writing an e-mail, tap twice on the shift key, (up arrow) and it will turn blue. It will stay locked until you tap it once to release.

9. To quickly add .com, .org, .net, .edu to an e-mail address in the TO field of an outgoing e-mail, hold down the period for two seconds. A pop up menu appears that lets you add either of those endings. Move your finger to the left, and choose.

10. When typing on the iPhone or iPad, Apple guesses the word you're starting to spell. To accept its suggestion, tap the space bar; to reject it, tap the x next to the suggested word and proceed to your intended word.

For my final trick, I'll disappear. (Suspend disbelief. Witness a puff of smoke, empty stage. No sign of this writer.) Cue applause.