General Mac software discussions forum: MacFixIt Tip: Keep a widget active without Dashboard

by: tkessler July 20, 2009 9:11 PM PDT

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MacFixIt Tip: Keep a widget active without Dashboard

by tkessler CNET staff - 7/20/09 9:11 PM

Keep a widget active without Dashboard

The Dashboard in OS X is a convenient tool for accessing quick bits of information or using conversion, translation, or reference utilities among many other tools. Depending on the task at hand, sometimes the requirement to activate Dashboard every time you want to access a widget can be cumbersome, especially since the Dashboard prevents access to other applications while it is open. Luckily, however, there is a way around this.

Dashboard supports the use widgets without activating the Dashboard interface, which basically prevents them from being hidden whenever Dashboard is inactivated. This is done by enabling the developer mode for the application, by entering the following command in the Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.dashboard devmode YES; killall Dock

After this command is run, the Dock will relaunch and Dashboard will be in "Developer" mode. From here, all widgets will behave the same as usual, except now you can select a specific widget to keep on the Desktop by the following procedure:

1. Activate Dashboard.
2. Click and drag a widget.
3. Deactivate Dashboard (while still dragging).
4. Release the mouse.

This will keep the individual widget active while the rest close with Dashboard, and the widget will be kept above all other running applications. To reverse this for a widgets, do the same process in reverse order as follows:

1. Click and drag the Desktop widget.
2. Activate Dashboard.
3. Release the widget.
4. Deactivate Dashboard.

While this is a convenient trick, keep in mind it will keep the widget active and alive, which in some cases can use up system resources. You can check this by using Activity Monitor.

To deactivate developer mode, run the command in the terminal and replace "YES" with "NO".

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If you have any other Dashboard tips, post'em here.

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