One of the many unique ideas Apple has pioneered in operating systems is the use of desktop widgets. Apple first introduced widgets with the Dashboard when they released OS X v.10.4. Since then, they’ve grown in popularity, in number of widgets available, and have been copied in several iterations for every major operating system. While they don’t all replicate Dashboard’s functionality, most desktop, tablet, and mobile computers, be them full blown machines or cell phones, have some sort of widget system incorporated. One of the coolest parts about the OS X implementation though, is the ability to create your own, quickly and easily, from any web page you visit often. This gives you the ability to quickly check your Dashboard for info that you get several times a day, rather than having to open up Safari, navigate to a page, and find what you’re looking for.
Where do I start?
To show you how to do it, I’m going to use the League Standings table from the Philadelphia Phillies website. Here’s a link to the site, so you can follow along! Obviously, I’m a huge Phillies fan. As such, I check at least once a day to see how they did in their last game, who their next is against, when it is, and how they’re doing against teams in their division. All this info is in one chart at the Phils’ site. But to open Safari, head over the page, find the link, and load it up is just way too much hassle. So here’s how to add it to the Dashboard.
First, pull up the page. It should look something like this:
Then, click the “File” menu, then click “Open in Dashboard…”. Your screen will dim, and you’ll see a box, like this:
Using the dots on the outline of this box, you can resize it, and perhaps more useful, you can drag it around, and it will automatically resize to parts of the page that you are likely to want to add to your Dashboard. I’m going to scroll down the page and grab the National League East section.
Once you’ve selected what you want to add to the Dashboard, just click the “Add” button in the top right corner. This will automatically bring up your Dashboard, along with your newly added web clip widget!
Don’t like how it looks after all? Or did you grab the wrong thing by accident? Don’t forget, deleting widgets from your Dashboard is as easy as calling up your Dashboard, then holding Option on your keyboard and click the “X” that appears in the upper left hand corner of the widget. In addition, as I said, not only do most operating systems have their own version of widgets, but there are even 3rd party apps that add extra widget functionality to many systems. If you prefer one of these, or even just covet certain features of them, be sure to sound off below!