New to Mac – Drag and Drop Installer

Most programs you encounter on the Mac will be a simple drag and drop procedure. I really like this method of installing a lot better since it’s literally copying a program file from a disk image (better known on the Mac as a .dmg) and then into your Applications folder. Drag and drop simply means to click the  mouse button on an icon and hold it while you drag the icon to a new location. You drop the icon when you let go of the mouse button.

The first thing you need when you go to install a new program is the disk image. You can acquire these from virtually anywhere. WordPress has their own desktop publishing app which installs via a drag and drop installer. Once you tell Safari (or your web browser of choice) to download the file, it will download to your Downloads folder automatically.

downloads folder

On El Capitan (Mac OS X 10.11), the Downloads folder can be configured to look like a grid as I have it, or it can be shown as a fanned out strip of folders. The fanned strip is the default setting (more on changing this later!). Click on the .dmg you just downloaded and the Finder will mount the disk it contains.

open dmg

Inside this disk are two icons: your program ( and an alias or shortcut to your Applications folder. Most mounted disks will tell you how to install the program it contains. For instance, this one tells you to drag the icon to the Applications folder and drop it.

drag install

When you hold the program’s icon over the folder shortcut, a green + icon appears beside your mouse. This indicates the program is being copied to the Applications folder. When this green + bubble appears, it is OK to let go of the mouse button and drop it. The Finder will automatically begin the copying process and a bing noise will sound to indicate the process was completed successfully.

Navigate to your Applications folder and marvel at the new program you’ve just installed! Keep in mind that some programs, such as Microsoft Office, still use a traditional installer package. It’s the same kind of double-click to install proceedure you would see on a Windows computer. This tutorial only covers this simple drag and drop proceedure.


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