Clever things with Mountain Lion Proxy Icons

In Mountain Lion the Proxy Icon (the tiny icon that appears in the title bar of most windows) has gained some new polish for applications that support Auto Save. You can use Proxy Icons to rename, move, duplicate and revert to a previous version of your document. Proxy Icons can also be used to copy and move Folders as well as creating shortcuts for emails on your desktop.

Apple’s iWork applications (Pages, Numbers and Keynote), as well as certain 3rd Party Applications like iA Writer and OmniOutliner are a few of the many and growing number of Apps that support Mountain Lion Auto Save. You need to have a named and saved document before you can use the new Proxy Icon document functions.

Proxy Icons will give you a visual indication that you have changed your document once you start to make edits, and will display Edited by the filename.

Proxy Icon Edited

If you save the document this label will disappear.

Proxy Icons Saved

To get to the new functions simply hover your mouse to the left of the Proxy Icon, and you will see a small disclosure triangle, left click this and a drop down menu will appear. If you don’t see the disclosure triangle then the application has not yet been updated to support the new Auto save feature.

Proxy Icon Menu

Renaming Documents

Renaming documents normally requires you to either exit the document and rename the file from the Finder, or duplicate the file with a different name. Mountain Lion now enables you to rename directly from the title bar of the currently opened document in Apps that support the new Auto Save feature. To rename your document, mouse over the title of the document in the title bar, and click the downward pointing disclosure triangle. In the pop up that appears, select Rename. You can also access this feature by selecting File > Rename in some Apps.

Proxy Icon Rename Menu

The title of the document will be replaced with a text box for you to rename the document. Type in the new name and press enter to save the changes.

Proxy Icon Rename Window

Move your document

You can now move your document to a location while editing, you can also move your document to iCloud (for iCloud supported Apps) for editing on your iPad or iPhone or another Mac.

To move your document, mouse over the title of the document in the title bar, click the downward pointing disclosure triangle. In the pop up that appears, select Move To (another folder on your Mac) or select Move to iCloud.

Proxy Icon Move to iCloud Menu 2

If you have “Documents & Data” enabled in the iCloud System Preferences, then you will see a dialog for saving to iCloud. If iCloud is not selected, you can select it from the “Where” drop-down menu. Click the Move button after the new destination has been selected.

If you want to move a file that is currently stored in iCloud back to your Mac, click on the disclosure triangle, and select Move To. If the particular destination folder you want is not listed in your favourites, just select any local folder (the Desktop for example), then click the drop down box by the Save As box, and browse to the folder that you want.

Proxy Icon Saving ICloud to Mac


With Apps that support Auto save, you may want to preserve the original file, as Auto save will overwrite the file once you start to make changes. To prevent losing the original version create a copy using duplicate before you start editing. To duplicate a file, mouse over the title of the document in the title bar, and click the downward pointing disclosure triangle. In the pop up that appears, select Duplicate.

Proxy Icon Duplicate Menu

The App will create a copy of the file. One improvement that Apple has made since Auto save was originally implemented in OS X Lion, is you can now rename the file in the title bar directly after.

Duplicate rename

You can also copy a locally saved document by dragging the Proxy Icon itself to another folder and keeping the Option Key(⌥) pressed down before you release the mouse button.

If you do make some edits before you remember to create a duplicate, you can still get back to your original file. See below.

Revert to Last Saved

If you want to abandon the changes that you made to your document and go back to the version that you started with, with can with Mountain Lion.

Clicking on the disclosure triangle beside the document name again, you will notice a Last Opened section with the last status of the document, and corresponding date and time. To revert your document click Last Opened. You can also select “Browse All Versions” to open the versions window and select a particular point in time to revert to.

Proxy Icon Bowse All Versions Menu

The Versions window provides a side by side comparison of your current document on the left as well as the previous versions on the right. You can use the time line on the right to select an earlier version. You can click Restore to restore the old version or Doneto keep the current version.

Proxy Icon  Versions Window

The Versions Browser window has additional functionality. You can go back and restore pieces of your document, not just the whole thing. If you’re working on a presentation and delete a section, then decide you did want to include that, you can just go pull those slides from a previous version. The same holds true for sections of text. You can copy from a historical version in the right window and paste it into the current version in the left. Handy if you deleted a paragraph that you want to recover.

Versions Window copy text

If you press the Alt key down the Restore button becomes Restore a Copy, so that you can actually create a new file from a previous version as well as keeping the current version. This is handy if you forget to duplicate the file when you started working on it and you want to preserve the original and keep the latest updated version.

Versions restore a copy

While in the Versions Browsing window you can also delete older versions. To do this select the version that you want to delete and click the disclosure triangle at the top of the toolbar by the file name. You will get an option to Delete that version. If you press the Alt key down at the same time the option changes to Delete Old Versions– which will delete the version that you have selected and all older versions of the file.

Versions delete

Proxy Icons are not only available for documents, they also appear in Finder and Email message windows.

Proxy Icon – showing location of your document or Folder

If you right (shift) mouse click on the Proxy Icon itself the current location of the document or folder will be displayed.

Proxy Icon Finder Path

Using Proxy Icons in the Finder

Proxy Icons also exist in the Finder, as well as right clicking to show the full path of the currently selected folder, you can also use them to move a folder to another location by left clicking on the Proxy Icon and dragging it to the folder that you want to move it to. If you want to make a copy of the folder instead of moving, hold down the Option (⌥) Key before you release the mouse button.

Proxy Icon desktop drag

Using Proxy Icons in Mail

When you open an individual message in its own Mail window, you can drag that message’s proxy icon to any desktop window to create a shortcut that points right back to the message. If you want quick repeat access to an important e-mail, using the proxy icon essentially allows you to create a desktop bookmark.

Proxy Icon mail shortcut

You can place this shortcut anywhere shortcuts can go; that means you can drag the proxy into your Dock, or even drag it onto a new blank message—which adds the original message as an attachment.

Proxy Icon Email as attachment

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