43 Folders

Back to Work

Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

Join us via RSS, iTunes, or at 5by5.tv.

”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

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).
Linley's picture

Brilliant. Am going to use...

Brilliant. Am going to use it all the time. Very timely too as I've been trawling the interweb like a crazywoman in the last couple of days, desperately downloading demo's to every text editing app with fullscreen I can find. (Recently found hidden away beta with lots of potential, http://www.rumramruf.com/ScrivenerBeta/info.html ) - unfortunately rejecting most for various fussy personal aesthetic and other reasons to long and boring to go into here.

Filthy-desperate, I tell you!

I'm about to take myself and my ibook on a three-week brainstorming and writing holiday, to a sunny place, and in lieu of finding an app that does what I want it to in all other ways, OR one that actually even implements fullscreen itself in a way I like...I am going to utilise this junior, but fabulous, and 'it'll damn well do the job for right now' systemspref-option-cum-hack.

Bless you Merlin, for your timeliness - I will now go on my holiday with a bit more hair....and sans nagging shareware reminders, proprietary formats or database issues.

Just me, the ZOOM, textedit, and some kinky green type on an endless sea of black....

Aahhh. (sigh) Simple, simple pleasures sometimes.





An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


Subscribe with Google Reader

Subscribe on Netvibes

Add to Technorati Favorites

Subscribe on Pageflakes

Add RSS feed

The Podcast Feed


Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

This is an essay about family, priorities, and Shakey’s Pizza, and it’s probably the best thing he’s written. »

Scared Shitless

Merlin’s scared. You’re scared. Everybody is scared.

This is the video of Merlin’s keynote at Webstock 2011. The one where he cried. You should watch it. »