Review: Mac OS X Leopard on Demand

Mac OS X Leopard on Demand (Que Publishing, 2007, ISBN-13 978-0-7897-3654-3) is a very good training resource and tutorial manual for OS X 10.5 users. The book rightly categorizes itself as “˜Beginning-Intermediate’ and is a particularly good choice for “˜Switchers’ and others who, new to Mac OS X, want a printed manual. Help desks and those whose mission it is to train and support OS X users might want to keep a couple of copies around as well.

I like the organization of the book: its 500 pages are divided into 21 chapters covering everything from the Finder to apps (like Mail and the iLife suite) to .Mac and networking. Each feature of the OS is covered, usually on facing pages, in well-illustrated tutorials. You can work your way through the whole book, or just flip to the feature you need. Even I, a relatively sophisticated (or, at least, long-time) Mac user found things I didn’t know about Leopard (and the book clearly flags features that are new since 10.4 – very handy).

The tutorials on new features like desktop sharing were of particular interest. The book has 31 pages on TextEdit, BTW, by far the best resource on that particular app (I’d forgotten it does handwriting recognition). One disappointment was the 4-page Preview coverage: it leaves out the new photo manipulation tools, and the iPhoto coverage is even less complete.
Other things I didn’t like were mostly nits: whatever (likely pre-release) version of Leopard the author, Steve Johnson, worked from had some minor features (like keyboard shortcuts) that don’t appear to be in the final release. The cover of the book promises chapters on security and UNIX that aren’t actually present in my print copy, and have yet to show up on the book’s web site.

Short take: good, well-organized tutorial-driven training and reference resource for Mac OS 10.5 (particularly at the $26.39 price offered on the web site).

Chris Gulker has been a startup executive, advisor, and investor, an advocate for open source software, a senior editor at NewsForge, columnist for London’s Independent, an Apple Computer publishing markets director, Adobe Acrobat Product Manager and founder of,… Full Bio