Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

Change the default text for just about everything System
This is a hint which will allow you to change the default text for just about anything. This is actually quite easy -- all you need to do is edit various *.strings files. The thing is, these .strings files can be found just about everywhere. Here are some good places to look:
  • /System » Library » CoreServices/
  • Control-click on an application, choose Show Package Contents on the pop-ip menu, then navigate into Contents » Resources » [your language].lproj.
A few points:
  • If the string you replace is too long, it will just be truncated and look a bit odd.
  • Some strings don't appear to work anyway. I've no idea why.
  • The strings files have comments in them. For example, search for OD_8 in /System » Library » CoreServices » Finder.app » Contents » Resources » English.lproj » Localizable.strings.
  • Many applications will need to work on a copy, as they cannot authenticate a save.
  • %@ is often an interesting thing to try.
  • To insert a quotation mark, use \\", and to insert a backslash, use \\\.
Read on for an example to get you started...

Here's how to change the Force Quit menu item in the Dock's contextual menus (I did this in 10.5.2):
  1. Go to /System » Library » CoreServices » Dock.app » Contents » Resources » [your language].lproj.
  2. Open DockMenus.strings in your favorite pure text editor.
  3. Find FORCE_QUIT
  4. Look at the string next to it (the bit in quotation marks). It should say (if you chose English.lproj) Force Quit.
  5. Change it to Kill %@! Yaargh!, or whatever else takes your fancy. Leave the quotation marks in place!
  6. Save the file.
  7. If necessary, copy the file to its original location.
  8. Open the Terminal and type killall Dock.
No, holding down the Option key, click-and-hold on any open application in the Dock. The pop-up menu should now offer (instead of Force Quit) Kill [application name]! Yaargh!, or whatever else you typed.

[robg adds: A couple additional caveats on modifying .strings files. First, if you change a copy and move it back, the permissions will differ from what OS X expects; running Repair Permissions will fix this. Second, changes to these files can and will be overwritten with most any system update that affects that area of the OS or particular application. Third, if you make a mistake editing this file (if you remove a quotation mark, for instance), the results can be bad. Always have a good known backup before trying anything like this!]
    •    
  • Currently 1.80 / 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  (5 votes cast)
 
[9,293 views]  

Change the default text for just about everything | 13 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'Change the default text for just about everything' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Change the default text for just about everything
Authored by: robogobo on Mar 13, '08 08:41:05AM

what does %@ do?



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change the default text for just about everything
Authored by: Old Toad on Mar 13, '08 09:33:06AM

It's just shorthand for "%@*!¥®∆$&∑Ô$#´Å≈£™§".



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change the default text for just about everything
Authored by: mm2270 on Mar 13, '08 09:41:30AM

It's a placeholder for the name of the application or item the string will refer to. So, in the example in the hint, it would change from "Force Quit" to "Kill Safari! Yaargh!" if you option clicked on Safari.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Interesting string with future expandability in mind..?
Authored by: houplagrundle on Mar 13, '08 12:18:50PM

It's interesting just looking through the strings.
for instance
/System/Library/CoreServices/Rescources/English.lproj/AppleSystemInfo.strings
has entries for amount of Ram in MB, GB, TB, PB and EB
If I'm not mistaken an Ettabyte would be a million Terabyte.
Obviously preparing for the future!



[ Reply to This | # ]
Interesting string with future expandability in mind..?
Authored by: Crazor on Mar 13, '08 12:38:44PM

Exa...



[ Reply to This | # ]
Interesting string with future expandability in mind..?
Authored by: S on Mar 19, '08 03:58:08AM

An exabyte of RAM... We'll need another prefix for hard drives, then.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change the default text for just about everything
Authored by: wallybear on Mar 13, '08 01:40:05PM

Just keep in mind that badly edited .string files can cause malfunctions to the application, so check twice before editing and twice before saving.
Remember that the syntax of every line of localizable.strings and similar is

label (or "original string") = "string";

don't edit the label (or string) at the left of the equal sign and remember of the semicolon at the end of the line; also remember to reproduce in your modified string every occurence of the %@ token: it's a placeholder that the program will replace with an actual string (e.g: "Session started at @%" will be actually translated at runtime with something like "Session started at 10:22:15"); you can change its position, but cannot delete it.

(%@ are not the only tokens you can find: as a rule of thumb if you see "strange" @ sequences, just mantain them in your new string)



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change the default text for just about everything
Authored by: S on Mar 19, '08 03:55:05AM

And also ^0, ^1 etc sometimes work.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change the default text for just about everything
Authored by: asmeurer on Mar 15, '08 07:28:51PM

The Leopard automatic sleep dialog has the minutes and seconds on two lines, meaning that I can't move half of it off screen while still being able to see the full countdown as in Tiger. Can I use this hint to change this?

Also, will this mess up the certified applications or it that just changes to the interface?



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change the default text for just about everything
Authored by: S on Mar 19, '08 03:53:20AM
1. Yes. /System/Library/CoreServices/loginwindow.app/Contents/Resources/English.lproj/loginwindow.strings 2. Probably not. But always have a backup and be particularly careful when editing Finder's *.strings files.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Change the default text for just about everything
Authored by: blackxacto on Mar 20, '08 05:50:53AM

Perhaps I am not opening this resource in the correct text edit app, but below is what I got when I opened it in TextEdit. What quotation marks are you guy's referring too as I see none. I see nothing beside the Force Quit but </string>
There is not text to change that I can tell.

John R
Not a code master

<dict>
<key>command</key>
<integer>1024</integer>
<key>dynamic</key>
<integer>1</integer>
<key>name</key>
<string>Force Quit</string>
</dict>
</array>
<key>trash</key>
<array>
<dict>
<key>command</key>
<integer>1000</integer>
<key>name</key>
<string>Open</string>


---
You'll never know which way to look, which way to see us.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change the default text for just about everything
Authored by: S on Mar 22, '08 07:12:48AM
Open DockMenus.strings, not DockMenus.plist
/System/Library/CoreServices/Dock.app/Contents/Resources/English.lproj/DockMenus.strings

[ Reply to This | # ]
Change the default text for just about everything
Authored by: xavier123456789z on Apr 28, '08 09:26:40AM

Please help, I read your tutorial from a link you provided in a post of mine at the apple forum recently.. I would like to change the 'downloads' folder but there is no 'Package Contents' option.

Thanks



[ Reply to This | # ]