How to Choose a Mac’s Desktop Image

Generally, the Mac Desktop displays a decorative background image. Your Mac comes with a variety of images, but you can display any image, such as a photo captured with a digital camera or a favorite picture you downloaded from the Internet. To choose your Desktop image, follow these steps:

1

Control-click anywhere on the Desktop and choose Change Desktop Background.

Or you can click the System Preferences icon on the Dock and choose Desktop & Screen Saver from the pop-up menu.

The Desktop & Screen Saver preferences pane appears, as shown in the figure.

2

Click one of the following to choose the Desktop image (click the disclosure triangle next to Apple if you don’t see the first two choices):

Desktop Pictures to browse images bundled with OS X. Solid Colors to pick a solid background color. iPhoto to choose a photo from your iPhoto library. Folders for access to photos stored in your Pictures folder.

3

Choose the image or color that you want to adorn your Desktop.

Set your favorite color (say, poppy red) as your Desktop. Click Solid Colors, and then click the Custom Color button under the color chips. When the color picker opens, click to choose your preferred shade and then click the Close button.

You can also use a personal photo. Click the disclosure triangle next to iPhoto and then scroll through the choices. Click Photos to see all the photos you have stored in iPhoto or click successive disclosure triangles, such as Events or Places, to narrow your choices to specific albums in those sections.

Or, use something from your Pictures folder (inside Folders). These are images downloaded from a website or from a digital camera. Images stored in separate folders inside the Pictures folder will not initially be visible; click the folder to see images inside. (Click the Add (+) button in the lower-left corner and use the dialog that appears to navigate to the folder that contains the image you want to use.)

4

Click the image or color you want to use.

(Optional) If you choose an image from iPhoto or the Pictures folder, a pop-up menu appears above the images, as shown in the figure. Choose how you want the image to appear on the Desktop from the options shown.

Fill Screen: Expands or contracts the image to fill the screen but might cut off edges, depending on the aspect ratio of the original image.

Fit to Screen: Expands the image to fill most of the screen but might leave edges uncovered, depending on the aspect ratio of the original image. Click the menu to the right of this option to choose the color of the border that may surround the image.

Stretch to Fill Screen: Stretches a picture to fill the entire screen, which might distort the image similar to the way a carnival mirror can.

Center: Places the image in the middle of the screen at its original size, and might leave edges uncovered or crop out portions, depending on the image’s dimensions. Click the menu to the right of this option to choose the color of the border that may surround the image.

Tile: Duplicates the image in rows and columns to fill the screen. Some images are too large to tile and the option will be grayed (as in the figure). Resize your selected image in iPhoto or another photo manipulation app or choose a smaller image.

5

(Optional) Select the check boxes next to the options at the bottom of the window to do the following:

Change Picture: Click the pop-up menu to tell your Mac to change the Desktop background picture based on a time interval, when you log in to your Mac, or when you wake it from Sleep mode.

Choices come from the category where you select the Desktop image, so if you choose an image from the Desktop Pictures folder, the selection is limited to those images. Choose a photo from an iPhoto Event, and the selection changes between photos in that album.

Random Order: Randomly changes the Desktop background image. Left unselected, the images change in the order they appear in the source.

Translucent Menu Bar: Gives your Mac’s menu bar a translucent “see through” effect.

6

Click the Close button in the upper-left corner of the window.

(Or choose System Preferences→Quit or press Command+Q to close the System Preferences window.)

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