Double tap a word with three fingers to get pop-up dictionary, thesaurus and Wikipedia in Mac OS X Lion

Mac OS X has a great keyboard shortcut to access the system dictionary for a quick definition of a word. Press the keys Command-Control-D when the cursor is hover over the word, and a pop-up window will display the definition and thesaurus for the word.

Mac OS X Lion expands on this convenience by giving us a gesture shortcut for Mac notebooks or Mac with a trackpad. Simply double tap with three fingers on the trackpad when the cursor is over the word. The word will be highlighted, and a pop-up definition box will appear. In Mac OS X Lion, the pop-up is enhanced with easy access to the dictionary and thesaurus of the word. And a new Wikipedia entry for the word is added.


Dictionary pop-up is a system wide feature and will work in most Lion native apps such as Safari and TextEdit. This feature will also work in third party apps that make use of Cocoa text components.

Note: OS X Mountain Lion changes the behaviour to single tap with three fingers instead of double-tap.

Resizing window from anywhere in Mac OS X Lion

Mac OS X prior to Lion is famous for limiting resizing of app window to just bottom right corner. This behaviour often frustrates users coming from other OS such as Windows. This changes with Lion. You can now resize window from any border and corner of a window in Mac OS X Lion.

You can also use the modifier keys while resizing window. Holding the Shift key while resizing constraints the window resizing to its current aspect ratio. Holding the Option key resizes the window from its center point.

Double-tap to auto zoom in Mac OS X Lion


One new multitouch gesture introduced in Mac OS X Lion is the two-fingers double-tap for Smart Zoom. Borrow from iOS’s double-tap-to-zoom function, when you double-tap on the trackpad using two fingers, Lion will auto-zoom whichever element is under the pointer to fill the whole window. For example, double-tap with two fingers on the text you’re reading now will zoom in to enlarge the text column to fit the full window width. Double-tap again to zoom out.

How to disable Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Resume feature

Resume is one of the main new feature in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. It is a system feature that borrows from iOS, where apps states are saved behind the scene, allowing you to immediately get back to the exact state of the app even when system reboots. This is the description for Resume on Apple’s Mac OS X Lion homepage:

Now apps you close will reopen right where you left off, so you never have to start from scratch again. And when you install software updates, you no longer need to save your work, close your apps, and spend valuable time setting everything up again. With Resume, you can restart your Mac and return to what you were doing — with all your apps in the places where you left them.

In essence there is no need to worry about having to save your files, and there is no need to close any apps before you put your Mac to sleep. Applications requires rewrite in order to take advantage of this feature. We expect most apps to take advantage of this new feature eventually.

We encourage you to adapt to this ‘new way’ of using your Mac. For some people however it is hard to break the habit of closing down apps and saving works before logging out. If you find this default Lion behavior annoying, you can disable it if neccessary.

To disbale Mac OS X Lion Resume feature system wide, open the System Preferences->General. At the bottom under “Number of recent items”, uncheck the box “Restore windows when quiting and re-opening apps”.


Resume is one of the useful feature of Mac OS X Lion and we discourage you from disabling it system wide. If you would like just one app such as Safari or Quicktime to start with a clean state without opening a bunch of old windows, use the shorcut key Option+Command+Q to quit the app. The next time you start the app, the last opened windows and tabs will not be resumed and you will start with a new app.


Apple is giving you a brain freeze with natural scrolling in Mac OS X Lion

The first difference new Mac OS X Lion users will encounter is the inverted page scrolling. Previously you would have to move downward on the trackpad or mouse to move the page up; and move upward to move the page up. Mac OS X Lion by default will invert this behaviour by what Apple called “Natural Scrolling”. Lion has taken a clue from iOS which has the same scrolling behavior.

The difference seems small but it might take awhile for you to get used to. You can change the scrolling direction back to Snow Leopard from System Preferences. But we recommend you keep the Lion default, get used to it and pretty soon it will feel natural to you.

How to obtain Mac OS X 10.7 Lion boot disk

A Mac OS X Lion boot/install disk is useful for the occasion that you need to do a clean install, when you are replacing a new hard drive or when you have more than one Mac at home.

Just imagine the time it takes to upgrade to Lion as per Apple’s recommended method if you are doing a clean install: Install Mac OS X Snow Leopard from your Snow Leopard DVD disk. Upgrade to the latest Snow Leopard 10.6.8. Purchase and download Mac OS X Lion from the Mac App Store. Lion is about 3.76GB thus depending on your broadband speed, it might take hours for the download over the Internet. A readily available boot disk is a time saver.

Purchase Mac OS X Lion boot disk from Apple

Apple has announced that Mac OS X Lion will be available on USB thumb drive for $69 in late August through its online store. This is more than 2x what you pay for the digital download.

This is not a wise way to spend your extra money. We suggest this to be a last resort.

Manually create Mac OS X Lion boot disk

The Mac OS X Lion download from the Mac App Store contains a disk image to allow you to create your own DVD boot disk.

  • Purchase and download Mac OS X Lion from the Mac App Store.
  • Wait until Mac OS X Lion download is completed
  • Ignore the invite to continue the installation. If the installation program has started, close it.
  • Right click on the “Install Mac OS X Lion” icon in the dock.
  • Select “Show in FInder” from the menu. This will open up the folder with “Install Mac OS X Lion” highlighted. This is a file package and inside this package you will find the Lion install disk image.
  • Right click on the file package and choose “Show Package Contents”. This will open the package contents in Finder window.
  • Navigate to Contents->SharedSupport folder. Inside the folder there is a file named “InstallESD.dmg” and this is the Mac OS X Lion install disk image.
  • Drag to copy the file “InstallESD.dmg” to a temporary folder such as the Desktop.
  • To burn the dmg disk image to DVD, open Disk Utility app. You can locate Disk Utility under Applications->Utilities folder.
  • In Disk Utility app, click the burn button on the toolbar.
  • Disk Utility will now prompt you to select an image to burn. Navigate to the “InstallESD.dmg” file at the Desktop and select it.
  • Insert a blank 4.7GB DVD and wait for the disk burning to complete.

There is no boot disk required in Mac future

The just released MacBook Air and Mac Mini contains a system recovery mechanism in its firmware. This allows the restore of Mac OS X Lion from Apple servers entirely over the Internet. There is no need for an install/boot disk. We expect all future Macs will come with this “recovery over internet” feature.