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Faking fullscreen mode on your Mac

Faking Fullscreen Mode

I forget where, but someone once mentioned that you could probably emulate fullscreen mode in most OS X apps by using the "Universal Access" PreferencePane (if I'm stealing this idea from you uncredited, send the link and I'll correct the error with my thanks).

Anyhow, this rules. Once you get the hang of it, it's pretty fast to set up, and if you're as easily distracted as I am, it's a handy way to minimize distractions and force yourself into focusing on just one thing.

  1. To help set the mood, turn off as much ringing, buzzing, popping-up, notification-related stuff as you can handle. Yes, that includes email too, Mr. Busy
  2. Select "Turn Hiding On" in your dock
  3. Go to the "Universal Access" PreferencePane ("System Preferences...") and flip on the "Zoom" accessibility function
    • in the future, just hit Option-Command-8 to flip it on or off
  4. Click "Options" in the Zoom area of the PrefPane and select the following:
    • "Show preview rectangle..." UNselected
    • "Smooth images..." SELECTED
    • "Zoom follows the..." SELECTED
    • "When zoomed in..." SELECT: "Only when the pointer reaches the edge"
    • then click "Done"
  5. Open up the app of your choice.
    • I live in TextMate -- although I'd love it even more if Allan would reconsider and add built-in fullscreen functionality. :)
  6. Flip off all the chrome you can stand
  7. If you are using a text editor and have the ability, set margins or a wrap width that's to your liking
    • In TextMate, I set "View > Wrap Column" to 78
  8. Create a new document and maximize the window
  9. Get the fonts the way you want
    • I jacked mine up a bit, and went white over black to go easier on the eyes
  10. Now the magic: hold down the Option and Command keys and click "=" once.
    • If you turned on "Zoom" correctly, you should now see almost nothing but workspace
    • Click Option-Command-= again to zoom in further or Option-Command-- (that's a dash) to pull back. Adjust to your liking.
  11. Use your mouse to glide the cursor toward the edges, adjusting exactly what shows up on-screen
    • This makes more sense when you do it.
  12. Work undistracted.

When you're finished (or any other time), flip off "Zoom" and you're done.

So, how'd it work for you?

(N.B. I wrote this up kind of fast, so tell me if I missed anything that's not obvious or is peculiar to my own setup)

Credit where due

  • Mmm. I'll award partial credit to this Mezzoblue post although I was thinking of a more specific suggestion someone made to use Zooming as an aid to beating distraction (ala writing in MacJournal and Ulysses).
Hugh Todd's picture

For writing without distractions in...

For writing without distractions in full screen mode, in editors that can also manage your documents, you may like to try (on the Mac):

1) Ulysses (expensive) http://www.blue-tec.com/ulysses/

2) CopyWrite (many similar features to Ulysses) http://www.bartastechnologies.com/products/copywrite/

My only beef with CopyWrite is that in their quest for simplicity they refuse to add a "smart quotes" option. Since curly quote marks were only nudged aside because of the limitations of typewriters, I'd argue that proper quote marks, cheerfully managed by the writing software, should be a core feature, but that's another issue.

Copywrite allows the user to specify colours in full screen mode.




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