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How to Use Notification Center in OS X Mountain Lion

If you’re familiar with the Notification Center layout in iOS 5, and with Growl, a third-party cross-platform notification app, you’ll be right at home in Mountain Lion’s Notification Center. When you receive email, a reminder of an upcoming event, or alerts from most Apple apps – and from third parties who’ve updated their apps – you’ll see an alert in the upper right of your Mac’s display.

Here's how to use and configure Notification Center.

1. Go to the Notifications preference pane under System Preferences. Here you can easily configure alerts for every supported app.

2. Click an app’s name to set it up. A Banner appears in the upper-right corner of the screen and disappears in a few seconds. An Alert sticks there until discharged. None means what it says. You can also decide how many items will appear, whether a notice of the number of messages awaiting will appear in the app’s icon, and whether sounds will announce their arrival.

3. Swipe or click to see your notifications. You can bring up your Notification Center message list by clicking on the menu bar icon at the right, or with a two-finger swipe from the right edge of your trackpad.

4. Mute notifications. If you don’t want to be annoyed with notices, call up Notification Center, and click twice on the top of the window to bring up an On/Off switch that allows you to disable them until the next day. This is a great feature for when you need to focus and can't have any distractions.

Bonus Tip: Here’s a tip for Growl users: A new freeware utility, Hiss (, will automatically transfer Growl notifications to Notification Center. You’ll be advised to quit Growl first if it’s running. Hiss is still a beta, so watch for bugs.