More Fun with the “Shift” Key - Macenstein

More Fun with the “Shift” Key

Posted by Helper Monkey

Many of you have no doubt seen the “tip” about holding down the shift key when minimizing/maximizing a Finder or Application’s window to see the scaling/genie effect in slow motion. (If you haven’t, well, there you go). But something I never realized is this slow motion goodness can be applied elsewhere in the OS as well, for an equally unproductive but entertaining time.

For some reason I had the shift key pressed when I hit the “F12” key this morning, and low and behold, my widgets crawled onto my screen. So I figured, OK, let’s try dragging the widgets onto the screen from the Dashboard.

First, I held down “Shift”, then hit F12 again to watch my Widgets slowly appear. Then, still holding the “Shift” key, I hit the little “+” sign in the bottom left of the Dashboard, and watched my widgets slowly scroll out and up. Then, still with “Shift” held down, I dragged a widget (“The Delicious Library” one) out to my desktop. Here things got a little weird. The “growing” effect of the Widgets seem to play back in the same slow motion effect as window minimizing, however, when dropped into place on the desktop, the “watery” effect plays back in real-time for some reason.

This got me to thinking, at what level is this “Shift”-slow motion thing tied into the OS?

As another experiment, I held down “Shift” and activated Exposé. Yup, that too will move your windows around in slow motion. OK, what about that clear bubbly thing in the right-hand corner of all Finder windows that toggles on/off the menu bar? Nope. What about choosing System Preference Panes? Those sort of slide the window pane categories around… Nope. What about testing a Mac OSX Quartz Screen Saver, like the “iTunes Artwork” one? Nope. So, pretty much, as far as I can tell, this weird slow motion effect only applies to minimizing windows, Exposé, Dashboard and Widgets.

I can think of no reason for this effect other than to use as proof you know more about your friend’s Mac than they do (odds are 8 out of 10 ( yes, 8 out of 10, not 4 out of 5) of them will not have seen it before). At least with the whole “Command”+”Option”+”Control”+”8” thing you can screw with a co-worker who’s out of the room. This effect seems really just designed to waste time and hypnotize us. Well, I for one would rather see Apple waste my time by including a nice looking version of Solitaire in the next OS revision. And, yes, make it so the cards flip slowly if I hold down the “Shift” key, please!


27 Responses to “More Fun with the “Shift” Key”
  1. When you perform a find (on a web page for instance) and press cmd-g to find the next instance… if you hold shift-cmd-g it will search in reverse.

    Also, in Safari, if you want to page down… press the space bar (you may have to click first in the window to activate it). If you want to page up shift-space will go in the reverse direction.

    So, yeah, shift is a system wide modifier on Apple apps/OS.

  2. Phil says:

    Haha, yeah I use the slow motion trick on my old imac g3 400 mhz to activate exposé and dashboard when showing friends os x on that computer. They always go “Is it really that slow??” I then show them regular speed just to reassure them. Not too shabby on a 7 year old computer, eh?

  3. Mike v2.3 says:

    The speed that those widgets flew onto my monitor always scared the piss out of me. Now I can safely use them again, without fear!

  4. Paco says:

    Also, works coming out of Front Row…

  5. Dante says:

    The shift option for all of these features are actually added by the development teams specifically for demonstration of the animation effects during a SteveNote. They kept them in for release because they are so cool to show off to your uneducated PC using friends!

  6. Marc says:

    nice find paco!

    ive known about the shift thing for years. didnt know about the command opt cntrl 8 thing though. good stuff…

  7. Romain Guy says:

    To me it looks like a debug tool for Apple’s developers.

  8. Paul says:

    How about this nifty little one?
    On a laptop that supports 2-fingered scrolling, hold down Control and slide two fingers up on the trackpad. The screen will zoom in! (Sliding down will zoom back out)

  9. Brian says:

    Hold down shift when opening or closing the album artwork/video area in iTunes.

  10. Tristan says:

    Really? You just now figured this out? I thought it was pretty obvious what key Steve Jobs was holding down when he demoed all these features.

  11. Ricky says:

    Before someone else says it, I might as well…

    At least with the whole “Command�+�Option�+�Control�+�8″ thing you can screw with a co-worker who’s out of the room.

    This just turns on the Universal Access, (which is easily turned on in System Preferences) for people who have trouble reading the display. While it creats a neat effect, this is its real purpose.

    Have fun.


  12. forgiste says:

    Actually, it works going into Front Row also, you just have to press Command + Esc followed quickly by holding down the shift key.

  13. gman says:

    In Safari, you can also hold shift when clicking on the blue RSS feed icon in the address bar for a slow-mo RSS scroll down/up effect.

  14. Drew says:

    ““Commandâ€?+â€?Optionâ€?+â€?Controlâ€?+â€?8″ thing”

    This is for accessibility. I agree it does mess with a co-worker. I had a student who has visual degeneration. It was absolutely necessary for him to see the items on screen.

  15. Ricky (2nd comment) says:

    I found some other cool eggs, or hidden features, as well…
    ==first egg==

    ==second egg==

    ==And some emacs (unix text editor) tricks==


    emacs -batch -l dunnet

    bye all

  16. Charles says:

    hey when you are watching a dvd full screen you and hold down shift and on of the f keys and it will do a slow mo zip up so you can use the desktop. and the get back to your movie

  17. Paul says:

    That things like this making the homepage is why I read digg less and less.

  18. kevin says:

    I for one would rather see Apple waste my time by including a nice looking version of Solitaire in the next OS revision. And, yes, make it so the cards flip slowly if I hold down the “Shift� key, please!

    ya i think that would be awsome if that happend… and i never knew about he ctrl cmnd shft 8 thing… it scared me for a secound when itried it but i think it looks better thent he origenal look lol

  19. G.D. says:

    Yeah, its pretty cool. But this is kinda old…

  20. bandar says:

    In Panther, Slow motion ( with the Shift key ) works on more stuff, like opening and closing finder folders, and opening and closing the inspector in the finder, but you need to hold ( alt + shift ) …

    In Tiger, for slow motion to work on System Prefernces, also hold ( alt + shift ) when clicking and pane, am sure ( alt + shift ) can work with more stuff in Tiger …

  21. flx says:

    I held shift while ejecting a disc and it came out nice and slow…

  22. Prior to Tiger, if you held Shift while selecting a pane in System Preferences, it would do a slow-motion fade to that pane. Shame it’s gone now and they’ve really mucked up System Preferences with that Spotlight business.

  23. justkidding says:

    Hold the shift key down to make the kernal panic overlay scroll down even slower. Awesome!

  24. Puiz says:

    For a moment, I thought the blog was called “MacEinstein.”
    Up next on Digg’s front page: “Apple eliminates floppy drives from Mac models”

  25. damien says:

    hey you guys probably knew this one but in case someone doesn’t this is pretty cool when working with computer design etc…. Hold Shift + command (apple) + 3, it will take a shot of your screen and throw it on your desktop, You can also get more precise by holding Shift + command + 4, your cursor will then turn into a target which will permit you to select the area on you screen that you want to take a picture of.

  26. Chris says:

    You can mess with the display the following way:

    Hold shift and minimize a window for the slow motion. While it is minimizing, hit F10 (for showing all windows). After it is minimized, hit F11 (for showing desktop) and maximize the window again… It will come back, but in small format! You will be able to use it, except it will be reduced… Interesting bug.

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