OSX Dashboard

The OSX Dashboard features “widgets” on Apple desktop computers and notebooks. These widgets offer similar types of applications or features that can be found on personal computers, such as a clock, calendar, calculator and dictionary. A wide range of widgets are available for Apple users.

The OSX Dashboard was first introduced with Mac’s OS X operating system, Tiger. The Dashboard is invisible until a user clicks on its icon in the dock. However, depending on the version of OSX that the user has and the user’s preferences, the ways that a Dashboard is activated varies. For instance, users can create a designated hot spot for the Dashboard and activate it by moving the cursor to the hot spot. The Dashboard also can be activated by using “hot keys”: for instance, in OS X Mountain Lion, the Dashboard can be opened by pressing F4, the launchpad key or by swiping three fingers up across the mouse pad. This is a new feature first made available on Mountain Lion. Users that have versions of OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or earlier, however, must click the dashboard in order to activate it.

Once the Dashboard is activated, the desktop background dims, highlighting the default Dashboard widgets in the foreground. The widgets can then be moved around the screen by dragging their icons. Users can also delete or add additional widgets. To do this, click the widget browser, type the name of the widget to be added and click the icon. To remove a widget, select the remove button from the bottom of the screen and then select the widget to be deleted. To activate a widget, use the method listed above or simply click it.

The Mac OS X system comes with several widgets pre-installed. These include: contacts, calculator, calendar, dictionary, flight tracker, movies, ski report, stickies, tile game, translation, unit converter, weather, web clips and a global clock.

What do these widgets do?

  • Calculator: An electronic calculator widget lets users input numbers and pursue equations by using the numeric keys or pressing the buttons on the electronic keypad.
  • Calendar: A small calendar widget allows anyone to track the events of their day.
  • Contacts: Allows users to look up email addresses, phone numbers and mailing addresses by typing into the search bar.
  • Dictionary: A dictionary and thesaurus in one widget, this widget provides definitions as well as synonyms and antonyms.
  • ESPN: A sports widget displays the latest news on all your favorite sports teams.
  • Movies: Use this widget to look up movie information or check out the new movie releases.
  • Ski Report: This widget delivers the weather conditions around popular ski resorts across the US.
  • Stickies: This widget is the Mac’s electronic version of Post-It Notes.
  • Stocks: Track stocks with this widget that updates every 20 minutes.
  • Tile Game: Essentially this widget works like a puzzle. Arrange the tiles to form a picture.
  • Translation: Translate a phrase into another language using this widget. Just choose the language that you want to translate to and from.
  • Unit Converter: This widget converts measurements, weights, temperatures, speed and volume.
  • Weather: This widget displays the current weather settings for the user’s city of choice.
  • Web Clip: Create a widget from a website that you like by simply selecting the part of the page that you want to copy
  • World Clock: The clock widget displays the time and date of any city across the globe

Additional Resources

OSX Dashboard Widgets

(Image provided courtesy of Apple.)