Stationery Pad – silly name, useful feature

I’m still struggling to like Apple Macs and here’s one reason why

Heathrow Airport
A real airport
One of the many things I find irritating about Macs is that Apple have an annoying habit of giving things completely stupid names. Take the “Airport”, for instance. Now an airport used to be one of those big sprawling places where aeroplanes take off and land. So what possessed Apple to name its wifi devices “airports”? It really makes you think of a marketing meeting, full of smarty pants execs in their 20’s, all trying to outdo each other. “I know”, says one, “we are transmitting (porting) stuff via the air, so instead of calling it a WiFi device let’s call it an airport”. “Yea, cool” – not. Technology is confusing enough already, without confusing us even further with such nonsense.

Apple Airport
Apple’s idea of an airport. Spot the difference
Another example is “stationery pad”. Actually, this one’s not quite as bad, but there are other, more prosaic and accurate, names that could have been used. The pity is that this silly name hides a useful feature in Macs.

We often need to create a new document (word processing, spreadsheet, whatever) based upon one that exists already and we don’t want to replace the old one: just start a new one that’s based on the old one.

The “normal” way of doing this is to open the old one (the template), and then to save it with a different name,thereby preserving the template unchanged. It’s easy, though, to forget to change the name, so your template gets changed.

Now, the clever feature in Macs (cunningly hidden by a stupid name) is that if you right-click on a file and then left-click on “get info”, you will find an option called “stationery pad” with a tick box next to it. If you click in this box, the file becomes a “stationery pad” (or, as normal people would call it, a “template”). Henceforth, if you double-click on this file then it won’t open. Instead, a copy of it will open (together with a default name – eg “fred.copy.docx”) that you can rename later if you wish.

Stationery Pads
Real stationery pads
OK, I agree that this name isn’t quite as stupid as “airport”. Even my poor imagination can conjure up a pad of preprinted template sheets that could just about be called a “stationery pad”. Nevertheless, I’m sure that more people would have stumbled on this useful feature if it had just been called something sensible – like “template” for instance.

Stationery Pad Option
“Stationery pad” as used by Apple. Fred,docx is now a template
And just in case I nearly lost you earlier by referring to a “right-click” when using a Mac, it’s always surprised me how many Mac users have never realised that you can enable a right-click on a Mac mouse and/or trackpad by going into the Mouse/Trackpad options of “System Preferences”.