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Greatly increase the animation speed of sheets System
I'm going to do something I don't normally do, and repeat a previous hint. However, when the original hint was posted, I think the context sort of misled some folks (myself included) about what you could do with the hint.

You're probably all familiar with sheets, those "dialog boxes" that slide out of the window that called them -- you'll see them in both Carbon and Cocoa applications when you do things like Print, Save As, etc. When used for Save As (or any other dialog that shows the file system), you can also resize the sheets, which is very handy. However, you also have to sit through the 'dropping from the window title' animation each time a sheet becomes active, as seen in this short movie clip. This can take a bit of time, and if you use sheets a lot, it can get tedious to watch.

Back in October, we ran a hint called Change the smooth window resize speed for Cocoa applications. This hint discussed using the NSWindowResizeTime global preference setting in the Terminal to control the speed of the sheet animation. I think there were a couple things in that hint, though, that caused me (and perhaps others) to miss the real applicability: it only talked about Cocoa apps, and it discussed slowing down, not speeding up, the animation -- it proposed a setting of 2.0 to slow down the animation.

Yesterday, while working on some other stuff, I re-ran the command, but used a much lower setting:
 defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSWindowResizeTime .001
After quitting and restarting TextEdit, the time required to open and close the sheet changed dramatically, as seen in this 'after' movie of the same file and application. And it's not just Cocoa applications; many Carbon applications, such as Word and Excel, rely on sheets as well.

As pointed out in the original hint, this is a global setting (though the hint explains how to change it for just any one app), and all you have to do is quit and relaunch any given program to activate the new setting in that app. This simple change has made a big difference in the speed of my daily tasks -- I use Save As in Word, Excel, TextEdit, and other apps quite often. Now things just pop into existence, instead of slowly letting me know they're coming. The original hint explains how to set it back to the default by deleting the preference (or you could set it to .2, the default value). And use the original hint's increased value if you want to see what the animation is really doing; there's a lot of small details that get glossed over at the normal speed.
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Greatly increase the animation speed of sheets
Authored by: maddys_daddy on May 12, '04 02:30:50PM

Great hint. Since I missed the first one (and wouldn't have thought to look for it on my own), thanks for the rehash. And out of curiosity, I set the time to 2.5 to watch the animation, and I've gotta say, I'm really impressed with the attention to detail the GUI designers gave to something that usually happens relatively quickly. Like you said, there's alot missed when things happen at their normal speed. Like the shadow--it actually appears under, and follows, the sheet from the time it starts feeding out to the end of the animation. Very nice. But like you, I greatly appreciate being able to speed things up.
BTW, is there some type of list somewhere that lists all of these types of global variables, and what they do?

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Greatly increase the animation speed of sheets
Authored by: ripley on May 12, '04 02:45:10PM

The command for all the settings is: "defaults read"
Just have a look at "man defaults".

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Greatly increase the animation speed of sheets
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on May 18, '04 02:55:40AM

Yes, but "defaults read" spits out an enormous amount of text, most of it in a format that most people can't understand, that a utility that presents this info in a more readable and easy to interpret format would be very nice.

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Greatly increase the animation speed of sheets
Authored by: ifthensoft on May 12, '04 04:18:29PM

We just put out a dumb little utility to do this very cool hint--check it out at It's called "Sheethead" and it was based entirely on this hint--MacOSXHints--the best site out there for this stuff!

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Does this not work in 10.2?
Authored by: imacusr on May 12, '04 05:12:39PM

I tried it on a 10.2.8 machine at work, and although increasing the value does indeed slow down the sheets, decreasing the value seems to have no effect (that is, once it returns to the original speed, it does not get any faster). Is it a 10.2 problem or just something flaky on my machine?

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No - this does not work in 10.2.8!
Authored by: alexmathew on May 12, '04 06:30:17PM

Tries it myself..

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Best ... Hint ... Ever!
Authored by: Paul Burney on May 12, '04 05:38:58PM

Well, at least for me. For CSS coding, I use a great program called StyleMaster from WesternCiv. The interface is implemented in a bunch of sheets that come out from the main document so it's always been really slow. With this hint, the app is fast as lightning. This hint will probably save me 15 minutes a day. If it hadn't been reposted, I'd never have seen it.

Thanks, Rob!

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Greatly increase the animation speed of sheets
Authored by: Angus on May 12, '04 06:52:32PM

Excellent, I was just complaining about the speed of those sheets. I used the app linked above and it worked great. Thanks for reposting the tip, and thanks for the app posted too.

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Greatly increase the animation speed of sheets
Authored by: gschueler on May 12, '04 10:00:05PM

Very good hint! I hate the sheet animations, as it is such a needless waste of time and processing power. I had searched for a way to do this a while ago (on macosxhints as well I think) but had given up. Thank you!

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Greatly increase the animation speed of sheets
Authored by: blackxacto on May 13, '04 01:15:59AM

A Terminal newbie here:

A. I copied the code and inserted into the Terminal window. My question is to you advanced folks, do I hit RETURN and close Terminal window.

B. Or do I insert the code, and SAVE the terminal window (giving it a name), then close the terminal Window?

Things seemed rather zippy following A., or was it my imagination until I reboot does the coding take effect.

Lastly, what is a SHELL? Set? Reset? Hardbreak?
Or maybe someone will point me to a dumbed down area to learn more on TERMINAL use?


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Greatly increase the animation speed of sheets
Authored by: robg on May 13, '04 07:32:05AM

Hit return and you should see the prompt again, and that's it. It will be effective in every app *after* you quit and restart each app that was running when you ran the command.

But the easiest way for you to do this might be to get If Then's quickie Sheethead app listed above.


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Control Panel SheetSpeed
Authored by: macman1998 on May 13, '04 01:22:31AM
After I saw this post I figured it would not be difficult to create a System Preferences control panel to make this hint easy for anyone to use. Below is a link to the program.

SheetSpeed 1.0

I hope this helps someone.

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Control Panel SheetSpeed
Authored by: nickfitz on May 13, '04 04:29:12AM

Very useful. Thank you :-)

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Control Panel SheetSpeed
Authored by: PaulH on May 13, '04 08:07:49PM

Great job man, I found it very helpful.

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Greatly increase the animation speed of sheets
Authored by: Chiwo on May 13, '04 06:13:31AM

Is there something similar for drawers? Where should I start looking?

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Greatly increase the preview in Finder (column view)
Authored by: Hulot on May 13, '04 06:25:30AM

Wow! Thank You. I can't see any great change to the sheets, but it does work perfectly for the Finder. Before I disabled the preview in column view, because it was so slow (8 MB vram, no Quartz Extreme support). I set it to .0001 and now I can browse to files with an instantaneous preview. Great!
The Finder (10.2) seems to be snappier.
Does Apple just decrease the defaults to make the the Finder in 10.3 snappier?

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Not greatly increase the preview in Finder (column view)
Authored by: Hulot on May 13, '04 06:42:21AM

Please ignore my previous post.

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Greatly increase the animation speed of sheets
Authored by: wuf810 on May 13, '04 03:28:57PM

...but note if you have smooth scrolling (appearance system preference) turned on and you make the sheet speed super fast, then the scroll becomes jerky and quite horrible.

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Increase the animation speed in other apps?
Authored by: josephaw on May 18, '04 07:28:47AM

How do I change the animation speed of the menu's fading in and out?
And the fade within the mail application?

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Speaking of shadows...
Authored by: jamesg on May 18, '04 10:55:00AM

What's the current preferred method to get rid of the window shadows in Panther?

I'm with the crew that likes a polished interface, but I don't need a ton of crap that's going to slow down the computer.

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