Clearing and organising your Mac will help you get more done, quicker, and with a more appealing interface.
- automatic dock hiding
- stop hidden windows from showing in the dock
- automate app opening
- invisible folder icons
- move folders into the dock
- active screen corners
- clearing the menu bar and Finder
- copy file path
Invisible folders and automatic dock hiding
Want a minimalist desktop? You can hide virtually everything. First thing to do is turn on dock hiding in System Preferences (Dock, Automatically hide and show the dock) so the dock only appears if you move your mouse cursor to the bottom of the screen.
Stop hidden windows from showing in the dock
If you have a few apps and windows open but hidden, your dock can become a confusing mess as it gets full of the icons for all these things. Go into System preferences, Dock, and select Minimise Windows into Application Icon. Next time you minimise a window it will vanish from sight. Just click the dock icon to reveal it. Some apps require a ctrl click and then selecting the item.
Get rid of all that confusing clutter! ➚
While you are there, clear any icons you rarely use from the dock by dragging them off. You can always drag them back again from Finder or the Apps folder in your dock.
Automate app opening
I've stopped using Automator to launch Live at the moment as it seems to cause a conflict. However you can still use it for other apps, to keep your dock clearer.
Update - I've now started using iKey, see the separate tutorial. Ikey also creates shortcuts and can be use in many ways with Live, to automate tasks. Make sure you read the tutorial!!
Use this procedure to open a frequently used app, open the file menu (or any other), and position your mouse cursor over it ready to select an item.
Another advantage to automating app launching is that you no longer need so many items in the dock.
Open Automator via spotlight and select the application icon. Go to the list and double click on Launch Application. This pops up on the right and from within it select the app you want to open.
Now open the app as normal. Make sure you have the app's menu in view and the automator's record button. Hit the record button in Automator and click on File or whatever else you want. Automator should have a small floating window just below the app's menu, to stop recording. Stop recording and you should have one item in Automator—"Click the "File" menu". Adjust the timeout to 1 second and the speed to 10x. Save in Documents as Open ......(name of app).
Now use Spark to create a shortcut. Download Spark. Put it in Applications and then open it. Double click Application in the list on the left. Name it Open ...... Leave the action as launch. Enter a shortcut e.g. ⌃`. Click Choose, locate the saved Automator application 'Open...'. Double click to select. Click create. Job done. Now when you want to open the app click ⌃`. Close the app test it out.
Invisible folder icons
You might want to have a few folders on the desktop at times (see note of caution about computer speed in the next section however), but made less obtrusive. You can make the folder icon invisible and shorten the file name to a few letters, so all you see is that name. Download Transparent.png from here. Open the file and follow the instructions. Basically you select all, and then copy and paste to the icon location of your destination file. To find that, right click the folder and select 'get info', and it's at the top.
To get the folders lined up nicely, click on the desktop, select Show View Options, and Snap To Grid.
You will just be able to see the name of an invisible folder near the bottom of the pic below. To click on these you need to click on the lettering, not where the folder icon would normally be.
Invisible folder in bottom left corner showing title only
Move folders into the dock
Some people say that having folders on your desktop can slow your computer down. So with this in mind, keep them to a minimum. Try to move most of it off the desktop. You can put most of your desktop folders into one big folder, put it somewhere easy to locate in Finder, and then drag it into the dock. I also keep my tutorials and manuals in folders in the dock. You can drag folders (invisible ones of course!) in and out of the dock folders and onto the desktop for a while when you are using them if you want to.
Active screen corners
Turn on Active Screen Corners in System Preferences, Expose, so you can reveal the desktop or all windows etc by moving your mouse or trackpad cursor to a corner of the screen. As well as being a very handy feature in it's own right, this means you don't need F3 for Expose, so you can go into keyboard preferences and enable F1 etc as standard function keys, for use in Live (see Easy Ways to Control Live).
Clearing the menu bar and Finder
To remove unwanted items from the menu bar at the top, hold cmd while dragging them off. To remove items from the dock itself simply drag them off it. You can always drag them back later from Finder. You can use the same technique described above to change other icons such as those in the dock.
To stop icons for mounted drives and discs appearing on screen, uncheck them in Finder preferences / General / uncheck the four boxes at the top. Just don't forget to eject them before switching off or unplugging. Next click the Sidebar tab and tick the boxes next to all the items you un-ticked in the General tab. While you are there in Finder, tidy it up by unchecking anything you don't need showing in the Sidebar list or cmd dragging out anything you can't otherwise get rid of. I only have HD and User showing in Finder when it opens.
Copy File Path
I made a file to enable a right click option Copy File Path
Back up first, but I have had one person test it. Create a file called Services in User:Library and stick it in there. When you right click on a file you will see an option to Copy File Path. It's quite handy.