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Diving into Dashboard

Christopher Breen | June 7, 2013
This week we turn our attention to the screen on the left and the items it holds--Dashboard.

These may look strangely familiar to some of you. And they should. Many of the default apps found on iOS devices look and perform similarly.

Adding and removing widgets
Helpful though the default set of widgets is, it's a fairly meager collection. Thankfully you can add more. To do so, first click the Plus (+) button in the Dashboard screen's bottom-left corner to switch to the Add Widgets screen. When you do this, a larger collection of widgets appears, including Ski Report, Contacts, Dictionary, ESPN, Flight Tracker, Movies, Stickies, Stocks, Tile Game, Translation, Unit Converter, and Web Clip (a kind of widget that I'll explore more fully later in the lesson). To add a widget to the Dashboard screen just click it.

Many of these widgets, like the default set, are configurable. Hover your cursor over them and look for the small i in the bottom-right corner. For example, when you click the Info button in the Stocks widget, you can add the symbols of Dow Jones and NASDAQ stocks that you'd like to track, simply by entering a company name in the Search field and clicking the Plus (+) button. Any stocks that match that name will appear in a menu. Click the one you want, and it will be added to the widget.

If you'd like to remove a widget you have two ways to go about it. The first is to click the minus () button on the bottom-left of the screen. Do this and X's appear in the top-left corner of each widget. Click the X on each widget you wish to remove from the screen. This procedure does not remove the unwanted widgets from your Mac completely. They're still available when you click the Plus button I mentioned earlier.

The other method is to hold down the Option key and hover your cursor over the widget you'd like to delete. The X will appear over just that widget. Click the X, and the widget is gone.

Adding third-party widgets
Sharp-eyed readers who've clicked the Plus button to add a widget have spied the More Widgets button at the bottom of the Dashboard screen.

When you click this button, Safari launches and takes you to Apple's Dashboard Widgets page. Here you'll find categories of available widgets. Select a category, choose the widget you'd like to add, and then click the Download button that appears below the widget. You'll be asked if you'd like to install the widget in Dashboard. You wouldn't have gone to all this trouble if you didn't want the thing, so click Install. The widget will be added to the list of available widgets on the Add Widgets screen. Just click it to place it on the Dashboard screen.


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