If you are new to the Mac you will see that a lot of your programs have icons in the “dock” – that area at the bottom of your screen with all the cool pictures! You can click on those icons to launch programs
You can launch programs from the dock but not everything is there. You can also click on the icon in the upper right hand corner of your screen called “Macintosh HD”.
You will now see several folders listed and you will click on the Applications folder to open it – there are your programs!
Another way to find your programs is to use the finder
The finder also brings up several folders and you can click on the applications folder from here. The Finder could be compared to Windows Explorer.
If you find a program you want to install it is usually as easy as downloading the file and then double
clicking. Let’s use Firefox for an example –
When you install software on a PC you usually use a setup file that has the extension .exe – on a mac you usually download a dmg file.
You click on the dmg file and you may have a file that looks similar to the image on the right – it’s called a disk image. After you drag the app file to your applications folder you will ctrl click on this disk image and “eject” it.
In the case of Firefox you will download the dmg file and on the same page you will have great instructions for what to do next. The screenshots below are what you will find on the Firefox page.
Basically you click on the dmg file. You then drag firefox.app file into the applications folder and you are done. When you double click it the Firefox icon it will open and the icon will show in the dock. If you use it all the time you can right-click or command-click and choose leave in dock. It will now stay in the dock even when you close it.
You can also right-click icons in the dock and choose remove from dock. This does not remove the actual application – it is still in the applications folder. You just don’t have the icon sitting in the dock anymore. You can do this with programs you rarely use to clean things us a bit.
Soooo – the Macintosh HD icon is what you click to find the main folders, including the Applications folder where your programs live. If you want to install software you will download a dmg file (sometimes it may be a zip file) that you click to open. Drag the app file to the Applications folder and you have installed your first program on your Mac!