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Make hidden apps visibly hidden in the Dock Desktop
This hint has worked fine since 10.0, so I was surprised that it wasn't on this site. You can make the items in your dock slightly transparent when they are hidden, so you have a visual cue that they aren't active. Just go into Terminal and type:
  defaults write com.apple.dock showhidden -bool true
Then restart the Dock by typing:
  killall Dock
[robg adds: It's ironic that this hint wasn't on the site until now -- it's the first thing I do to any new machine and/or new OS install. It's also in the book, so I'm not sure how it didn't wind up on the site. That little oversight is now taken care of ... and if you haven't tried it, you may find, as I do, that it's indispensible once enabled. I like knowing which apps are hidden with just a glance at the dock.]
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Make hidden apps visibly hidden in the Dock | 13 comments | Create New Account
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Make hidden apps visibly hidden in the Dock
Authored by: themacnut on Oct 30, '03 11:43:08AM

It's probably not in a listed hint because most people used the utility TinkerTool (under the Dock panel) to make hidden apps semi-transparent. It is a little easier than using the Terminal, if you don't count the time required to download and install it ;)

The MacNut



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Make hidden apps visibly hidden in the Dock
Authored by: jonahlee on Oct 30, '03 11:55:57AM

Yea, I have been using TinkerTool to do this since it came out. This is a feature I love, and can't believe it is not set to on in the default install.

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- Jonah Lee



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Make hidden apps visibly hidden in the Dock
Authored by: babbage on Oct 30, '03 11:11:29PM
It's probably not in a listed hint because most people used the utility TinkerTool (under the Dock panel) to make hidden apps semi-transparent. It is a little easier than using the Terminal, if you don't count the time required to download and install it ;)

Agreed. I spend the majority of my time working in the Terminal, and would almost always prefer to tinker with the command line than download a silly little GUI tool, but Tinker Tool is a big exception, because it provides quick access to a lot of the minor settings that I like to adjust on an OSX box (e.g. translucent icons on hidden dock items, and I like to have the Dock anchored to the bottom edge & bottom-left corner of the screen).

You can change these things by tinkering with defaults write com.apple.foo... or by hand editing the XML in some file under ~/Library/Preferences/foo.plist, but Tinker Tool makes it all so much more convenient.

The standard tool for making a Windows machine's interface usable is TweakUI, from Microsoft's Power Toys suite. (It has been a free download from microsoft.com since at least Windows 98.) On OSX, the equivalent interface "fixer" is proving to be Tinker Tool, and it's just as essential as TweakUI.

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DO NOT LEAVE IT IS NOT REAL


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So one might find this neat, but what use does it really have?
Authored by: hamarkus on Oct 30, '03 11:53:07AM

I've tried this feature with thirdparty software (e.g. Cocktail) in Jaguar, but I can't really see any use for it. It might make for a less cluttered look of the Dock, since some of the apps (the not-hidden ones) are then displayed more prominently, but it is normally the hidden apps I most often want to access, since they are ones with open windows.

You could use it maybe to create a two-level dock, by always hiding your second-level apps, and not hiding your main ones, but that it is not what the hide command was thought for: getting stuff out of your way.

Sorry for the rant, but I am really curious what it would be good for.



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So one might find this neat, but what use does it really have?
Authored by: robg on Oct 30, '03 12:00:14PM

Useful example:

I usually open four or five Safari windows, each with anywhere from four to 14 tabs. When I want them out of the way, I hide Safari. Without this hack, I might think Safari is just running with no windows open, as its icon looks identical to all the rest. When I click it, I get all five windows instantly cluttering the screen again.

With this hack, I know I have Safari hidden, and I'm much less likely to click on it -- so my hidden windows stay hidden.

-rob.



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ok, but ...
Authored by: hamarkus on Oct 30, '03 02:46:16PM

Thanks, I agree that one is somehow warned by that feature that some windows will show up when clicking on a programs icon and that one could use this as a visual hint that there is still unfinished work (open windows) in a certain application.

But I still don't understand why knowing that an app (e.g. Safari) has open windows would make you less likely to click on it.

If I click on the Mozilla icon, I do this to open a webpage, knowing that there are already several open Mozilla windows would not stop me from doing this. If I want to open a webpage I have to click on its icon, there is no way around it (actuallly there is, I could use another browser, but I don't think that is the point).



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ok, but ...
Authored by: babbage on Oct 30, '03 10:56:50PM

My thinking is kind of the other way around from what Rob described: when I hide an app with many open windows, I like that the dock icon also goes translucent.

Of the windows that remain visible, it's fairly easy to glance at the dock, note the dark triangles, and know which windows are currently on the desktop and which ones are hidden.

When everything is overlapped and you can only see a sliver of some windows -- if that much -- this can be useful.

If you want to clear off some space, the same trick can apply -- the Finder is already hidden but Safari & Terminal are both unhidden. I'm not using Terminal at the moment, let's get those five windows out of the way for a little while. Etc.

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DO NOT LEAVE IT IS NOT REAL



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default on powerbook g4?
Authored by: gelstudios on Oct 30, '03 12:01:34PM

I think it may be default on powerbooks. I noticed this on my friends 867 Powerbook, my ibook didnt do it until i changed the plist.



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Make hidden apps visibly hidden in the Dock
Authored by: Anidel on Oct 30, '03 12:13:27PM

?? On my system (since Jaguar 10.2.6) the dock always made the
hidden app always semytransparent...
Am I missing something?

It's doing it now with Panther Archive&Install...

Anidel.

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Anidel



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Make hidden apps visibly hidden in the Dock
Authored by: sebastienb on Oct 31, '03 10:12:25AM

It's been in there since Jaguar at least, through Accessibility preferences; in fact, I think I got that hint from this site!



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Make hidden apps visibly hidden in the Dock
Authored by: Paso on Nov 01, '03 02:33:52PM

Is there already a hack/possibility to mimic this behaviour in the X.3 application switcher?
I would love to have my hidden apps transparent in the switcher.



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Make hidden apps visibly hidden in the Dock
Authored by: Monkeyboy on Nov 02, '03 06:56:13AM
I tried it, and worked fine. But when I tried to cancel it by typing defaults write com.apple.dock showhidden -bool false the icons still showed up in the Dock but are now not transparant at all anymore. So now I have no hidden or semi transparant icons when apps are hidden : ( I even tried defaults delete com.apple.dock but that only made the Dock return to it's default state, but still didn't hide the icons after hiding the app. Maybe this is all fairly simple (I am quite new to using the Terminal) but I would love to understand all this. And get the Dock back to it's original behaviour : )

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Make hidden apps visibly hidden in the Dock
Authored by: Morwen on Nov 24, '03 03:16:36PM

This is nice, but what I'd really love to be able to do is have hidden apps not even show up in my dock. Anyone know if this is possible?



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