As a fan of little tweaks, hacks and hints for the Mac, thought I’d start a thread for the ways we MacGyver our machines to make the Mac experience easier and more fluid. (This thought stems from my wife telling me that my Macbook is so heavily booby-trapped that it is virtually unusable for anyone but me. So apparently my plan is working perfectly.)

I’ll start with my favorite Mac tip ever: System Preferences > Exposé & Spaces > Exposé > Active Screen Corners. At the top of the box, you can set your Active Screen Corners preferences. I set my right top corner to Desktop.

Now, when I mouse over to the very top right, all my active apps wipe away to reveal my desktop, allowing me to – for example – grab a jpeg on the desktop and drop it into the Scrivener Research folder. (Just click-and-hold whatever it is to drag it, mouse back to the right top to bring back your active app, and drop it where you need it.) Oh, and once you’ve grabbed that thing on your desktop, you can command-Tab to any open app to bring it to the front. Or, you can drop the grabbed thing onto an icon in the dock to open it in another app.

For some, this falls squarely into the “duh!” category. For the rest of us, this is a great way to instantly navigate through the clutter to the desktop and back, without having to remember the hide-all hotkey.

A friend at Apple showed me this, and it instantly made my life easier. Note: It tends to freak out the uninitiated user when they’re just sort of mousing around and they suddenly blank out all your work (this happens a lot when you go to the Spotlight icon in the menu bar, right next to your hot corner.) But when you know it’s going to happen, it’s not even remotely annoying – and the ability to get to the desktop so easily is a godsend.


I also used to employ the screen corner thing, but it doesn’t play nicely with things such as games that run in fullscreen mode. I wish it could detect when an app has taken over the screen completely and disable itself for the duration.

I don’t know if this is the sort of thing you’re looking for, but I find the free Plain Clip indispensable for cutting and pasting bits of text betwixt applications.

And there’s a handy little AppleScript app that I keep in my sidebar which closes all Finder windows but the active one… … der_window

And for those Final Cut Pro users seeking better Finder integration, the $50 Loader will handle a lot of the monotony of importing files.