Setting Your Function Keys
In Mac OS X, your function keys are your best friends. With a simple keystroke you’ll be able to shove aside all your windows to get to the desktop, or have them all shuffle over so you can see every window you have open.
Go to the pull down menu under the little apple, and select System Preferences. From there go to Dashboard and Exposé. In this window you’ll be able to adjust your Exposé settings so that your function keys are intuitive to your needs. You can also set a function key to pull up your Dashboard, so you can easily access any widgets you use on a regular basis. This is also where you go to program your hot corners.
If you have multiple applications running and you want to be able to switch quickly from one to the other, hold down the command key and click tab. Click the tab key however many times you must in order to move down to the application you want to use. The application should open up to the primary window you have running in that program.
Customizing Your Dock
Your dock is the best place to put shortcuts to all the programs you use on a regular basis. This keeps them all centrally located, and not flung about your desktop in a cluttered heap. You can add icons to your dock by dragging them into it. The other option is to open the program, which will automatically put its icon in the dock. From there simply hold it down with your mouse and a menu will pop up where you can select Keep in Dock.
You can determine which applications open when you log into your computer. Holding your mouse down on the icon will make the pop up menu appear again. Select Open at Login for all the programs you want to automatically open.