Welcome back to Mac 101, our series of posts aimed at novice Mac users and veterans who like the occasional refresher.
Many new Mac owners want to customize their Mac's look and feel. A simple place to begin is the desktop picture. It's easy to change and there are several options, from the images that come with the OS to freebies from the Internet and your own photos. Here's what to do (this post assumes you're using Mac OS X 10.5.x).
Open System Preferences from either the Apple Menu or the Dock and click Desktop & Screen Saver and then the Desktop tab. If you're in a hurry, you can also get there by right-clicking on an unoccupied area of the desktop, and choosing "Change Desktop Background." On the left you'll see several options. Click Apple Images to browse some of the images that shipped with your Mac. To set any as your Desktop picture, simply click it. The Nature, Plants, Black & White and Abstract folders also hold options from Apple. Personally, I like some of the black & whites.
If you've got iPhoto installed, you can browse your albums just as easily. Select the album on the left and click any image on the right to select it. Some of you may maintain your own folder of images. To access it from the Preference Pane, click the "+" and navigate to the photo that contains your images. Finally, you can simply drop an image into the well at the top of the Preference Pane window.
There are additional options at the bottom of the window, like changing the picture at regular intervals and disable the translucent menu bar (my personal favorite). Finally, if your image is too small, you can opt to tile or stretch it.
Now that you know how, go and grab some images. The Iconfactory, Pixlegirl Presents and Mac Desktops are good places to start looking.