Widgets On The Desktop

00 dashboard widget icon   How To Place Your Widgets On The Desktop [Mac]

Dashboard is one of the cool features of Mac OS X (starting from Tiger). With a push of a single keyboard button, Mac users have access to many mini useful applications called widgets.

Users can add or remove widgets to fit their personal preferences. There are already thousands widgets available today on Apple’s Dashboard download page, and who knows how many more are there scattered all over the internet. Users can even create their own widgets.

Some widgets are the “˜smaller versions’ of full-featured applications although not all are. That doesn’t mean these widgets are below the quality of the “real applications”. Many widgets are even so good (like these ones) that they should’ve been made available as stand-alone applications.

Imagine using a currency convertor widget like this one, to convert a whole list of different currencies. You’ll probably have to switch between Dashboard and your desktop a million times.

It turns out that it’s possible to detach widgets from the Dashboard and make them available as individual applications. Here is the way to do that.

01 dashboard n widgets   How To Place Your Widgets On The Desktop [Mac]

Enable Developer Mode
First thing to do is to put the Dashboard in the Developer Mode. You can do that by launching Terminal (Applications –> Utilities –> Terminal) and typing in the following command:

defaults write com.apple.dashboard devmode YES

Hit Enter or Return.

To avoid mistakes, we suggest you just copy and paste the command.

The second step is to restart the Dashboard. But instead of logging out and logging in, type in another command in the Terminal:

killall Dock

And again, hit Enter or Return.

02 terminal command   How To Place Your Widgets On The Desktop [Mac]

Drag the Widgets out and back in
Now you can press the keyboard shortcut assigned to show and hide the Dashboard. The default key would be F12 (or in some keyboard F4). You can change the settings by going to System Preferences → Expose & Spaces.

After the Dashboard appears, drag the widget that you want to detach. While still dragging, press the keyboard shortcut again. The Dashboard will disappear but the widget will stay. You can move it around the desktop and it will always stay above other applications.

You can drag as many widgets as you want out of the Dashboard and into the desktop by repeating the above process.

03 widgets in desktop   How To Place Your Widgets On The Desktop [Mac]

You can also drag the widgets back into the Dashboard by reversing the process: drag a widget on the desktop; and while still dragging, press the keyboard shortcut. Drop the widget back on the Dashboard, and press the shortcut key to go back to the desktop.

Disable the Developer Mode
If later on you decide to disable the Developer Mode, you can do so by typing in this command:

defaults write com.apple.dashboard devmode NO

Hit Enter or Return, then continue with this command:

killall Dock

And hit Enter or Return.

Other methods
Using the Terminal commands is not the only way to detach widgets from the Dashboard. You can also use free widget called DashIt or a paid app called Amnesty Singles.

Please note that if you’ve moved the widgets to the desktop then disable the Dashboard, for example by using MainMenu, the widgets will disappear along with the Dashboard.