I came across this simple piece of software on the Mori forums. Think lets you focus a selected application, and place a background colour between it and the other programs you are running. In essence, it is a bit like “full screen” for your entire application. The interface is very simple, composed of a slider for the opacity of the background, a colour selector (default black), and a button to select a focussed application.

You might have come across other utilities which block out everything except for the application you are working on, but Think takes the concept a step further. It acknowledges that you sometimes need more than one application focussed. Using the dock or your favourite application switcher (such as Cmd-Tab), you can promote other applications to visibility. However, it still retains the original selection as the focussed application (indicated by the icon of the chosen program in a “thinking bubble” in the dock). This means that, while you can have multiple programs “above the fold,” returning to your focussed environment is dead simple. Simple click anywhere on the background, and all of the alternate programs drop back below the background, leaving just the chosen focussed application. Brilliant, interface-less execution at its best.

Choosing a new application to focus is likewise very simple. You can either click on the necessary icon in the control strip, or Think’s dock icon. You will be presented with the icons of all running applications in a manner quite like Apple’s task switcher. My only grief with this process is that you must use the mouse to select the focussed application.

If you wish to temporarily disable Think’s focussing powers, simply hiding the application will do the trick.

There are still some bugs, in my opinion. Think’s background layer comes up as a window in Expose; switching back to Think after hiding it produces an blank screen you have to click on once to re-focus your selected application; and integration with Finder/Path Finder is perhaps not as well thought out as it could be. The desktop is an important part of the file management system on a Mac, yet Think blocks the desktop in both of these applications. I understand there are technical reasons for that, however, as it would have to hide all of your applications to reveal the desktop. Otherwise, it is a very solid 1.0.

Think is freeware, and available at this location.

Thanks for the link Amber. THINK seems clean and well designed. With 2 big screens and a small, rather childish brain, I’m prone to distraction. This may help, if only because it hides this forum while I’m working in Scrivener.



Excellent app, and resource (Freeverse makes top shelf software). Thank you for the lead.

A cautionary tale.

Intrigued by Amber’s description of Think, I downloaded and tried it. I thought it interesting but not essential.

I had opened Think directly from the disk image which had been unpacked from the .dmg file. When I had finished noodling with it, I left it running in the dock (with Scriv open as the focused app), and put my computer to sleep for the night by closing the screen (I run a PowerBook G4, 1.67 GHz, 1.5 GB RAM, OS 10.4.8 ). I rarely completely shut down the computer.

When I opened my PowerBook this morning, I was greeted with a black screen. I tried escape, cmd-dot, diddled around with a few other keys. Nothing. I restarted. Bong, then the black screen. Several more attempts. Same result. I tried starting in single user mode. Same result. I connected the PowerBook to my external screen. Bong, then a black screen on my PB and a white screen on the external display. Several more attempts. Same result.

Next, I decided to start in Target Disk mode. Worked! I got the normal blue screen with the firewire symbol (which always reminds me a a nuclear hazard symbol) floating around the screen. Whew! Screen seemed okay. Given that positive sign, I decided to restart in normal mode again. No joy.

Next, I started from my DiskWarrior CD. After interminable CD drive gurgling, grinding and grumbling, up came the Alsoft screen. I ran basic diagnostics and repairs (it found minor stuff), then restarted. Voila! All was well. The Think.dmg file was still on my desktop, but it’s disk image had disappeared from the desktop, and of course it was no longer in the dock as a running app.

Since my most important file is my current work in Scriv, I opened it to check it out. At first glance, I got a small shock. In the Binder, one of my Draft document files now had a gibberish title. Its contents were blank except for a string of plus signs. After a brief moment of minor panic (I am fully and redundantly backed up), I realized this was not one of my chapters, but a new document. Apparently in my blind key poking I had created a new document and named and populated it with squirrel droppings. In all other respects my Scriv file appears fine, and all is well.

Though this was likely an anomalous event, I’ve decided not to use Think, so I chucked the dmg into the trash. Just thought this might be worth posting in case someone else has a similar experience.




The Think disk image clearly states, in the header, the following:

  1. Drag to your Applications folder.
    2. Eject disk image.
  2. Enjoy.

I have yet to have issues with Think, but I have not run it from a disk image.

Oh, you’re absolutely right. That’s why I mentioned I launched it from the disk image. Sheer laziness on my part. I often do that with software I just want to take a peek at. :blush:



I had to chuckle regarding your last post because I have done the very same thing! No matter, I am sure I will do it again. :laughing: