Open Embedded Visio Flowcharts in Word on Mac and Windows

For some reason, on a Mac using Parallels Desktop to run Word and Visio in Windows, I cannot right click on an embedded Visio flowchart to open it in Visio. Usually, when you right click on an embedded Visio chart, you get the “Visio object” option, which includes an option to “edit”. But mine doesn’t have that option!!


However, I figured out that a simple keyboard shortcut can let you open the Visio for editing.

In Word running in Windows, use alt+double click (or option+double click) to open the embedded Visio chart in Visio for editing. When you hold down the alt/option key while double clicking on the embedded flowchart, it will open in Visio. Sweet!

Simple, yet hidden!

Make an Attendee Optional in Outlook for Mac 2016

Surprisingly (or maybe not), I found it hard to figure out how to make a meeting attendee optional in Outlook. It is annoying that Microsoft chose to make the Office for Mac versions different enough from their Windows versions to cause confusion. But, in any case, here is how to make an attendee optional:

When you are creating a new meeting, hit the scheduling button at the top to bring up the schedule view.  The list of attendees will appear on the left. Click on the little arrow beside a person’s name to adjust their status between Required, Optional, or Resource. (I believe Required is default)



Not too difficult, but also not intuitive. Personally I’ve found Outlook so hard to deal with that I’ve switched to Mail, but I have found it not ideal either, and I with Calendar was integrated with Mail, as its annoying to switch between apps. If anyone has a wonderful email/calendar solution on Mac, please let me know!

credit here

Add Git Autocomplete to Terminal

A nifty edition to the git command line is autocomplete. First, get the git completion script:

curl -o ~/.git-completion.bash

Then edit your ~/.bash_profile file to add the following code:

if [ -f ~/.git-completion.bash ]; then
  . ~/.git-completion.bash

(go here for help on editing your .bash_profile)

That’s it. Now you can type git and press Tab twice to get an autocomplete list of commands.


Double Press Tab in Terminal for List of Options

I accidentally found a really cool Terminal keyboard shortcut yesterday.  You may already know that Terminal will autocomplete a file name or method name if you press tab after typing a portion of the word.  For example:

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 8.14.50 AM

You can see I typed ls to list the files and folders in the current location. Then I started typing cd Fi to change the directory to “FiveMinuteChinese”. As a shortcut I can now press the Tab key, and Terminal will autocomplete the folder name:

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 8.18.42 AM


Now what I just learned was that if you press the Tab key twice, Terminal will show you a list of possible options. See the screenshot below:

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 8.20.18 AM


Here I typed cd C, then pressed Tab twice, and Terminal gave me a list of all files or folders that start with the letter “C”. Pretty cool huh? If you’re using irb or another console type environment, you can use this same shortcut to give you a list of possible methods or autocomplete method names.

Hope this is useful!

Reduce the size of Time Machine Backups

I found this great blog post by Hawk iMedia that details a very simple utility to compress or compact your time machine backups.  If you’re like me, Time Machine is way overkill.  I just want one viable backup that is fairly recent.  Not daily/hourly backups until my entire 3TB backup hard drive is full, as Time Machine will do by default.  So I roll with automatic backups turned off, and just manually backup occasionally.

Anyway, the Time Machine backup file (.sparsebundle) was taking up 1TB on my Time Capsule drive, even though my Macbook Pro only has a 500GB SSD hard drive.  So based on the aforementioned blog post, here is how to reduce the size of your Time Machine backup by compacting or compressing the .sparsebundle file.

Its basically just calling a “hdiutil compact” command on the sparsebundle file.

First, open Finder (or my favorite replacement, TotalFinder) and navigate to the folder where you’re sparsebundle file is located. Or in Terminal you can use the “ls” and “cd” commands to navigate through the folder structure. The “cd ..” command moves up one folder.  Here is what my Terminal commands look like:


If like me one of the directories or folders has spaces or special characters in the name, this nifty trick will help you navigate to that folder.  Now you also need to be root to run the “hdiutil compact” command, so sudo into root.  You will need to enter your admin password.  You should be aware that if you run the wrong commands in root, it is possible to mess up your system.  However, just type in the commands directly and you’ll be fine.



And, you’re done!  So easy!  Now, I know that it shows “0 bytes reclaimed” on my system.  But after I ran this command on both mine and my wife’s sparsebundle backup files and got that message, I checked my Time Capsule and found that it was reclaimed 800GB of free space!!  So it definitely works.  Try it out!

Terminal Directories with Spaces or Special Characters

I’ve been trying to reduce the size of the Time Machine backup on my Time Capsule with a nifty trick that I’ll share in the next post.  In the process I learned something very useful in dealing with Terminal commands, in particular with directories.

The name of the directory I was trying to ‘cd’ into had spaces as seen below.  I used the “ls” command to show a list of drives in /Volumes.


If I simply type “cd /Andrew Cockerham’s Time Cap” it will give an error “no such file or directory”.  So to get into that directory, the easiest way is to wrap it in quotes:


You can ignore the fact that I’m in ‘root’ to do this method, you do not need to be in root for it to work.

The second way to do it is using backwards slashes, ‘\’, before each space in the directory name:


Note also that back slashes must be in front of the special characters, in this case the apostrophe.

Now this leads me to the next trick.  Typing out this long directory name with all the back slashes can be tedious, so a great shortcut is to simple start typing the first few letters of the directory, and then pressing the “Tab” key, and it will autocomplete the directory name for you, automatically adding the back slashes where need.


and autocomplete…


I love neat little keyboard shortcuts, especially in Terminal.

Hope you found it useful!