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Preface > Conventions Used in This Book

Conventions Used in This Book

The following typographical conventions are used in this book:


Used to indicate new terms, URLs, filenames, file extensions, directories, commands and options, program names, and to highlight comments in examples. For example, a path in the filesystem will appear as /Applications/Utilities.

Constant Width

Used to show the contents of files or the output from commands.

Constant Width Bold

Used in examples and tables to show commands or other text that should be typed literally by the user.

Constant Width Italic

Used in examples and tables to show text that should be replaced with user-supplied values.


Menus and their options are referred to in the text as File → Open, Edit → Copy, etc. Arrows are also used to signify a navigation path when using window options—for example, System Preferences → Login → Login Items means that you would launch System Preferences, click the icon for the Login control panel, and select the Login Items pane within that panel.


Pathnames are used to show the location of a file or application in the filesystem. Directories (or folders for Mac and Windows users) are separated by a forward slash. For example, if you see something like, " . . . launch the Terminal application (/Applications/Utilities)" in the text, this means the Terminal application can be found in the Utilities subfolder of the Applications folder.

Relatedly, a tilde character (~) refers to the current user's Home directory, so ~/Library refers to the Library folder within your own Home folder.

A carriage return () at the end of a line of code is used to denote an unnatural line break; that is, you should not enter these as two lines of code, but as one continuous line. Multiple lines are used in these cases due to printing constraints.

%, #

The percent sign (%) is used in some examples to show the user prompt for the tcsh shell; the hash mark (#) is the prompt for the root user.

Menu Symbols

When looking at the menus for any application, you will see some symbols associated with keyboard shortcuts for a particular command. For example, to open a document in Microsoft Word, you could go to the File menu and select Open (File → Open), or you could issue the keyboard shortcut, -O.

Figure P-2 shows the symbols used in the various menus to denote a keyboard shortcut.

Keyboard accelerators for issuing commands

Rarely will you see the Control symbol used as a menu command option; it's more often used in association with mouse clicks or for working with the tcsh shell.

Indicates a tip, suggestion, or general note.

Indicates a warning or caution.

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