I’ve fallen in love with Dashboard on my new Mac OS X Tiger system, but I hate having to type f12 to get them to show up. Is it possible to have my dashboard widgets show up on my regular desktop?
It’s not only possible, but it’s pretty easy and darn fun! Here’s what you need to do…
First, open up Terminal (Applications –> Utilities –> Terminal) and type in the following, exactly as you see here:
You can just copy and paste from this Web page if you’re concerned that you might type in something incorrectly, of course.
You’ll get another regular system prompt within Terminal if it works, there’s no other output to the defaults program.
Now log out of your account by choosing Apple –> Log Out, and log in again (You need to restart Dashboard).
Ready for the fun now? Press f12 to bring Dashboard up, then drag one of your Dashboard widgets around. While you’re still dragging it around (that’s critical: keep that mouse button down!) press f12 again.
Poof! Your Dashboard vanishes, but the widget’s still visible. Move it to where-ever you want on your screen and it’s there, running, fully functional, without the rest of Dashboard around!
You’ll notice that it lives above everything else on your screen (at least, I don’t know how to push it behind other app windows) so I think you’ll have the best results with small widgets that can be tucked into a corner or lined up neatly on an edge.
To move the widget back into the Dashboard world, reverse the trick: begin dragging the widget, then, while still keeping the mouse button down, press f12, then let go of the mouse button. The widget will be restored to its regular Dashboard layer.
In the screenshot above, you can see the dashboard Weather widget floating above Safari and adjacent to the little floating clock from the Date and Time System Preference.
This is a really cool little hack that I like a lot! My thanks to William Ayer for his help on this.