Make a Dashboard Full of Widgets Useful Again [OS X Tips]

Make a Dashboard Full of Widgets Useful Again [OS X Tips]

The first thing I disliked about Mac OS X Lion was the way it changed the Dashboard display. It’s nice to be able to see behind the widgets to the stuff I’m working on in the background. Especially if I’m using a widget like the Calculator, or the Weather, or the Conversion widget to see how much that import from Europe might cost me in US dollars.

Mac OS X Lion, however, puts the Dashboard into it’s own separate space, complete with opaque background that looks like an odd mix of linen theme and bubble wrap. Or maybe a non-skid floor tile from a spaceship? I dunno. Regardless, not being able to see through the background was an issue, until now. I no longer have to launch the stand alone Calculator app to do a quick sum, and can go back to enabling the Dashboard, using the Calculator widget, and dismissing it just as quickly.

It’s as simple as popping into System Preferences, clicking on the Mission Control preference pane icon, and then de-selecting the “Show Dashboard as a space” checkbox. Viola! Back to the way it SHOULD work.

The Dashboard will no longer be seen in the Mission Control layout, however, so be sure to enable your favorite key combination near the bottom of the preference panel. I set mine to Shift-F4.

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  • ilpappas

    the problem with this is that you cant access the dashboard using mouse/trackpad

  • Christopher McKee

    you can if you customize your mouse/trackpad settings with something like MagicPrefs. I hate the dashboard as a space for the reasons described above. I have the trackpad on my MBP to bring up dashboard with the three finger click and the Magic Mouse on my iMac does it with a “tap of the apple stem”, which is cool. Handy little preference app.

  • richbradshaw

    Viola!

  • kappesante

    use spotlight!

  • GingerNinja

    Errr…yes you can.  You have two options:

    1.  On the right hand section of the screenshot above, you can define mouse buttons to be used to initiate the Dashboard such as “Middle Mouse Button” or “Secondary Mouse Button” for the Mighty Mouse.

    2.  Second option is Hot Corners, also seen as the dialog botton in the screenshot above. You can define a corner that activates the Dashboard when you move into it.  This is the one I use and it works perfectly.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Games and Tips Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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