Tuesday, June 21, 2011

4 Handy Tweaks To Customize & Improve Snow Leopard [Mac]

customize snow leapard
Are you always looking for ways to tweak your Mac desktop? Are you always finding things you wish you could do, then searching around to find a little hack to make it happen? Well, if so, here’s a few of those little tweaks ready for you to use.

If you’re keen to maximise your desktop area, clean up your Dock, view hidden files or get some mouseover highlighting occuring where it should, this is a useful list for you. Most of these can be activated with a quick shortcut or a simple Terminal command.

1. Auto-Hide Windows When You Change Focus

Sometimes you might wish that you could actually see those beautiful desktop backgrounds you’ve downloaded. But sadly, most of us clog up our space with all the apps we’re using. Windows pile up on top of each other and leave you with just a tiny amount of free desktop space around the edge. This sort of anti-minimalist behaviour is easy to stop. It’s possible to automatically hide any window that doesn’t have the focus. It takes a little getting used to, but it will keep your desktop uncluttered.

To automatically hide non-focused windows, open Terminal (found in Applications > Utilities) and type this command:

defaults write com.apple.dock single-app -bool TRUE

Then restart the dock by typing:

killall Dock

If you decide you don’t like it, you can go back to normal settings by typing this into Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.dock single-app -bool FALSE

customize snow leapard

Some people might prefer to only hide other windows on occasion. This is possible when you’re accessing an application via the dock. When you click on the application, press Command-Option at the same time and it will hide all the other application windows.

2. Highlighting Items On Mouseover In Stacks Grid View

MakeUseOf Mac users know that Stacks are great. There’s a number of different cool ideas for great stacks you can use. But for some reason, in Snow Leopard when you go to use Stacks, the highlighted focus only works when you’re using the arrow keys, not the mouse. But there’s a quick fix to get highlighting happening for the mouse as well.

In Terminal, type this command:

defaults write com.apple.dock mouse-over-hilite-stack -boolean yes

Then restart the dock:

killall Dock

improve snow leapard

To reverse this, use this command:

defaults write com.apple.dock mouse-over-hilite-stack -boolean yes

3. Add Spacers To Dock

If you’ve got way too many applications in your dock, this tweak is for you. Basically, you can add spacers between your applications in the dock as well as many other dock tricks.

In Terminal, type this command to create each spacer and repeat for however many spacers you want:

defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-apps -array-add '{'tile-type'='spacer-tile';}'

Then restart the dock:

killall Dock

improve snow leapard

When the dock restarts, you’ll see a gap on the right hand side. You can move the spacers about as if they’re regular dock icons, so just drag them into place.

To reverse this, right-click over the spacers and click “Remove from dock”.

4. Viewing Hidden Files

There are two easy ways to show hidden files for Mac. If you’re using the Open/Save dialogue of any application, you can view hidden files by pressing Command-Shift. This only works for the Open/Save dialogue, not for Finder windows.

Hidden files can be shown permanently in Finder using a Terminal command.

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool YES

customize snow leapard

If you want things back to normal, type:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool NO

More Mac Tweaks

We know you love tweaking your Mac to get it just right. So here’s a bunch more articles that you’ll love:

What other Mac tweaks would you love to see? Let us know in the comments!

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