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Use a transparent tab in Safari 1.3 to see other windows Web Browsers
I don't have a whole lot of screen real estate, so I like to use tabbed browsing while keeping a single Safari window open at full size. The problem is that this makes it difficult to get at documents behind the browser. Expose isn't bad and Command-Tab helps, though Hide and Minimize are less useful (personal preference).

In Safari 1.3, the Debug menu (Enable the Debug Menu in Safari) contains a new "Use Transparent Window" option. Now, to see behind the browser, all that is required is to switch to a tab containing a blank, transparent window (prepared in advance). Since the opacity is below some threshold, it is possible to click through the window, and by using Command-clicks, to access background windows and UI elements without changing the frontmost application. The tab switching itself can also be performed by Command-clicking while keeping Safari in the background, as opposed to un-hiding or maximizing, which would always force Safari to the front and end up covering everything else. I guess I could always buy Windowshade X, but for my workflow, I only need it for Safari. Besides, this is built-in and free.

[robg adds: I'm not sure why this feature was added, and it's a bit odd in its behavior. If you have a page loaded, the transparent window setting will just basically make the window's shadow disappear. But as noted, an empty page will completely vanish. And if, like me, you use the status bar, you're left with this very odd window: header area, large invisble section, and a status bar floating below that. Quite strange...]
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Use a transparent tab in Safari 1.3 to see other windows | 23 comments | Create New Account
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Use a transparent tab in Safari 1.3 to see other windows
Authored by: inemo on Apr 19, '05 10:31:58AM

The threshold of opacity before a window becomes clickable is 5%. 5% or more opacity and the window is clickable. Less than 5% (Safari is set to 0% in this case) and the window becomes "invisible" to the UI, and is thus clickthroughable.

I stumbled across the threshold when playing around with a program that put the currently playing track in a customizable window. I wanted the window to be clickable to activate, but just wanted it as black text against my menubar. I thus had to set the opacity of the background to 5%.

Caius



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Use a transparent tab in Safari 1.3 to see other windows
Authored by: loticus on Apr 19, '05 10:37:49AM

This feature has puzzled a lot of people since Safari 1.3 was released. My hunch is that it's intended for Dashboard widget development.



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Use a transparent tab in Safari 1.3 to see other windows
Authored by: kps on Apr 19, '05 11:14:41AM

Exactly. By the way, Dashboard widgets run fine in Safari on Panther. I don't think it will be long before someone releases a little WebKit app to run widgets on the main screen (without Safari's title bar) on either 10.3.9 or 10.4.



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Use a transparent tab in Safari 1.3 to see other windows
Authored by: Black on Apr 19, '05 10:47:59AM

The behavior of this is really quite strange. When you select it, it puts a check next to it, but when you create a new tab, it is a plain blank window again. To make it invisible, I had to uncheck the setting and then check it again. Even odder, if you uncheck the setting on the transparent tab, you return to a blank white window, but if you uncheck it in some other tab and then go back you have a black window.

It looks to me like this is something that they are still fiddling with...



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Use a transparent tab in Safari 1.3 to see other windows
Authored by: taikahn on Apr 19, '05 11:26:11AM

Its absolutely for transparent Dashboard widgets that will run in safari.

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Some people (still) think the world is flat...



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Use a transparent tab in Safari 1.3 to see other windows
Authored by: MonkeyMini on Apr 19, '05 01:01:08PM

It's for testing Tiger Dashboard widgets, rather handly little feature - seems a little odd if you take in context with Panther though!

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[url]www.monkeymini.co.uk[/url]
[email]osxhints@monkeymini.co.uk[/email]



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Use a transparent tab in Safari 1.3 to see other windows
Authored by: turnerm5 on Apr 19, '05 10:21:36PM

Is there any place to download said widgets now if we do not have Tiger? I would like to test them out on this transparent window.



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Use a transparent tab in Safari 1.3 to see other windows
Authored by: qwerty denzel on Apr 19, '05 10:59:23PM
Use a transparent tab in Safari 1.3 to see other windows
Authored by: MatrixHunter on Apr 19, '05 02:07:19PM
If you want to play around with this further try loading the following html in safari with the transparent windows option on:
<html>
	<head>
		<style>
			html {
				background: rgba(255,0,0,.2);
			}
		</style>
	</head>
	<body>
		<h1>hi</h1>
	</body>
</html>


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Use a transparent tab in Safari 1.3 to see other windows
Authored by: trollll on Apr 19, '05 08:03:26PM

sweet!

it also works with text-shadow (like "text-shadow: black 0px 0px 5px;"), creating a very nice blending effect.

something i just noticed: it also makes it so that you can drag the window around from the content within the page!

so not a transparent page, but an in-safari widget. hide everything around it, wrap it in a little cocoa, and you have dashboard.



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From TheDashboarder.com:
Authored by: GORDYmac on Apr 19, '05 03:41:30PM

Friday's update of Mac OS X 10.3 to version 10.3.9 included a few unmentioned surprises, Safari 1.3 and new versions of WebKit, WebCore, and JavaScriptCore that "contain thousands of improvements… made to the engine since Safari 1.2." In addition to what Safari developer Dave Hyatt says is a 35% speed increase, the update includes a feature geared towards Widget developers, the "Use Transparent Window" option. The option, which can be found in the hidden "Debug" menu, allows you to preview widgets in an environment more visually similar to Dashboard, in a transparent layer over the desktop.

To enable the Debug menu, quit Safari and enter the following command in Terminal:

% defaults write com.apple.Safari IncludeDebugMenu 1



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From TheDashboarder.com:
Authored by: maxotron on Apr 19, '05 04:29:16PM

you can use the address
about:blank
to get a transparent window much more easily than typing HTML



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Use a transparent tab in Safari 1.3 to see other windows
Authored by: kamath on Apr 19, '05 06:14:15PM

Just a plug for those who need more desktop space:

Desktop Manager



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Use a transparent tab in Safari 1.3 to see other windows
Authored by: PeterDie on Apr 20, '05 07:59:44AM

Nice to have a transparant tab. Not nice: keyboard shortcut to switch tabs in Safari (Shift-command -arrow left/right) doesn't work on a transparant window. You can switch to the transparant tab via keyboard, but you cannot switch back to other tabs this way. Bummer.



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Use a transparent tab in Safari 1.3 to see other windows
Authored by: eirich on Apr 20, '05 10:32:42AM

Not sure if changing the default key commands for shifting tabs changes the transparent window behaviour, (I have mine set as Alt+Cmd Left or Right Arrows), but unless I actually click on what is under the window, it works fine. Clicking under the window changes the focus to something other than Safari, thus the reason the key commands no longer work.



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Use a transparent tab in Safari 1.3 to see other windows
Authored by: Anonymous on Apr 21, '05 09:50:09AM

You can use Cmd-Shift-[ and Cmd-Shift-] (aka Cmd-{ and Cmd-}) to switch between tabs as well.



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Use a transparent tab in Safari 1.3 to see other windows
Authored by: Tulse on Apr 20, '05 10:14:30AM
What's really fun about this is that any HTML page that does not have a background colour specified will show up with a transparent background, as long as this option is turned on in the menu and the page you're viewing is the first tab in the window. For example, take a gander at the front page of Yahoo! with this setup -- it's a bit disorienting.

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Use a transparent tab in Safari 1.3 to see other windows
Authored by: mark hunte on Apr 20, '05 01:47:11PM

That yahoo page is cool like that, by the way it works on any tab not just the first. Its a matter of turning it off and on in the right order.

You can also access desktop items , while on the yahoo page and select all the text on the page by selecting one of the islands of text and dragging across ones above or below, very strange, its like being told up is down.

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mh



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Use a transparent tab in Safari 1.3 to see other windows
Authored by: eatpixel on Apr 20, '05 05:23:45PM

- all that is required is to switch to a tab containing a blank, transparent window (prepared in advance).-

a easy way to get a blank window.
just tab "about:blank" into the location bar.



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Use a transparent tab in Safari 1.3 to see other windows
Authored by: eirich on Apr 20, '05 06:08:37PM

You can also just use the key commands to make a new tab which comes up as "untitled" and is blank.



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Use a transparent tab in Safari 1.3 to see other windows
Authored by: mark hunte on Apr 20, '05 06:28:42PM

Not in my case, the first tab always seems to work o.k but any others I have to turn off and on

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mh



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Use a transparent tab in Safari 1.3 to see other windows
Authored by: eirich on Apr 21, '05 02:48:43AM

Speaking of the Debug menu and about:blank, has anyone else tried the "Go to about:blank Soon" option from the Debug menu? Be sure to have your speakers turned on. I'm curious as to what this is for.



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Use a transparent tab in Safari 1.3 to see other windows
Authored by: PCheese on Apr 21, '05 01:37:37PM
The idea here might be to surf with the "Use Transparent Window" option on for the tab you're using. You can then bookmark about:blank as the first item on your bookmarks bar. Since most sites specify a background color, you won't notice (except you can't drag and drop anything, it moves the window), and when you want to see your desktop, hit command-1 (or click the bookmark) and boom your desktop shows through. Hit delete or click the back button and you return to the webpage you were viewing.

Personally, I'd rather use F11. ;)

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