Ultimate Leopard Tweaking Guide

Sections: Apple Business, Operating Systems, Originals, Snow Leopard

submit to reddit


No matter how good Apple Mac OS X Leopard is, there will always be features that people dislike, and want to change. And while Apple may think they have the perfect recipe for a perfect OS, many power-users will want to tweak OS X to their liking. They want to change more than their desktop image, or the icons in their dock. Sometimes Apple doesn’t always make it easy to tweak your Mac, so Appletell has compiled a list of several ways to tweak your Leopard.

The Dock
Dock Doctor: Ever since Steve Jobs announced the 3D Leopard Dock at WWDC, there has been some mild skepticism to say the least. DockDoctor allows you to easily switch between the 2D and the 3D Leopard dock whether you have the dock on the bottom or the sides of your screen.

DockColor: If you actually like the 3D dock, there are many ways to tweak it exactly to your liking. DockColor is a small app with a very simple interface. It allows you to easily change the color of your 3D dock to suit your desire. and If you really want to go all the way, these two websites are for you. They are filled with hundreds of different docks (both vertical and horizontal), and allow you to easily install the docks, or even switch back to the original.

Stack Drawers: Stacks are supposed to un-clutter your desktop, but sometimes, it is hard to distinguish one stack from another. Stack Drawers are little overlays, that help you to organize all of your stacks, and actualy make Stacks a whole lot more useful.

Stacks In Da Place: The perfect companion to Stack Drawers, Stacks In Da Place lets you make any icon of your choosing an overlay of any of your stacks. It automatically detects all your Stacks, and let you drag any icon to become a stack overlay.

Quay: Many Mac OS X users complained when Apple took away the functionality in Leopard of navigating a folders heirchy from the Dock. Quay is a little app that allows you to re-add this functionality in Leopard.

Recent Items Stack: This is a simple terminal command that adds a Stack to your Dock that has the 10 most recent documents, applications, or servers. Simply type the terminal cpmmand, and then type “killall Dock” and the Stack will be added to your Dock.

defaults write persistent-others -array-add ‘{ “tile-data” = { “list-type” = 1; }; “tile-type” = “recents-tile”; }’

The Menu Bar
OpaqueMenuBar: One of the most controversial “features” of Leopard is the slightly transparent menu bar. Some find it distracting, and others find it pointless. OpaqueMenuBar makes your Leopard menu bar solid like back in Tiger.

Leo ColorBar: If you don’t want your menu bar a simple opaque, you can make it as colorful as you want. A red, green, blue, or yellow menu bar may now sound that appealing, but if you can do it, why not?

Candybar 3: Candybar is the greatest application for changing icons on the Mac. While it is shareware, there is a free, fully functional trial, and it is really worth the cost of admission.

IconFactory: Partnering with CandyBar, IconFactory is a great resource for free Mac icons that can be used to replace Apple’s defaults, or even for special folders. And it integrates seamlessly with CandyBar.

Login Window
Visage Login: This is a really cool app that allows you total customization over your login window. You can change the background image, add an icon, change the name, and even choose specific information to display.

DefaultDesktop.jpg: If you prefer to do things the old fashioned way, you can simple replace the image located at /System/Library/CoreServices/DeafaultDesktop.jpg and the next time you log in, it will be set to your background to your customized image.

Chax: Chax is the ultimate plugin for iChat. It adds a ton of functionality to iChat, like a unified Contact list, Screensaver away messages, Growl messages, and auto-accepting of chat invites. If you are a hard-core iChat user, Chax is really a must-have.

More iChat Effects: iChat comes with some pretty niffty effects, but if you want to be a hologram from Star Wars, or the Statue of Liberty, MoreiChatEffects is a fun addition to the many effects that come with iChat. This website is a community dedicated to coming out with new iChat effects and plugins. They have some very active forums, with many users making Quartz designs for iChat effects.

Folder QuickLook Plugin: QuickLook is undoubtedly one of the coolest features in Leopard. This plugin is easy to install, and allows you to use QuickLook to see inside folders.

Zip QuickLook Plugin: Another QuickLook plugin that actually allows you to see the files inside Zip files without even opening them. Very handy.

Displaperture: Another feature that was removed in Leopard, but was previously in Tiger was the rounded look of the corners. Dispalperture is a background process that allows you to round the corners of your screen to regain rounded look that was in Tiger.

fonts500: Not specifically a Leopard tweak, but handy nonetheless, is a great website with 500 high-quality free fonts. If you are ever looking for a way to jazz up a document on your Mac, fonts500 is a great place to look for some cool fonts.

InterfaceLift InterfaceLift is one of the greatest sites for tweaking your machine, whether you are on a PC or a Mac. They have thousands of free icons, desktops, and themes for Mac and PCs alike, and are constantly being updated.

Leopard Scripts [Direct Link]: As an extra, we have compiled over 30 Automator actions specifically designed to enhance your Leopard experience, and make Leopard work in exactly the way you want it to.

Print Friendly
  • David

    You can find a bunch of links to Quick Look plugins at .

  • paul merrill

    Great tips!!

    Many thanks to you.

  • Nichm is another great place to get things to tweak your Mac.

  • Scott

    A nice collection of tips, cheers

  • BinkyM

    The "Recent Items Stack" is plagued by curly apostrophes and quotes. Try this instead:

    defaults write persistent-others -array-add '{ "tile-data" = { "list-type" = 1; }; "tile-type" = "recents-tile"; }'

    Happy new year!

  • Raven

    DockDoctor DOES NOT work if you have the dock on the side. None of these mods do. Please actually test things before you link them – DockDr. even says in its gui that it doesn't do what you say it does.

  • John Grimmett

    Note that Shape Shifter, and thus all themes at InterfaceLift, will not work on Leopard. All Application Enhancers such as Shape Shifter or other haxies will not work on Leopard.

  • Nameless One

    @Nichm, you left out an "i", the URL should be:

  • Doug Berger

    Thanks for all the great feed back everyone!


  • Michael Riedel

    Recent Items Stack: doesn't seem to work, I get the following error:

    sh: syntax error near unexpected token `}'

    is there a typo on the site? There is above in the text where command is spelled "cpmmand"

  • Michael Riedel

    Thanks!! And happy new year to everyone!

  • Deric

    Will Apple ever allow users to make custom changes to the appearance of the GUI as in a theme without the need for third party software like shapeshifter? Or at least give us more options to choose from when it comes to the appearance of our desktops and themes.

  • SLLhotD

    Visage is a trial

  • Sean

    has anyone bothered to look around system preferences to find a solution to the translucent menu bar?

    like at all?

    I found it my first day with leopard.

    Go into system preferences, choose Desktop and Screen Saver, then underneath where you choose your desktop picture, there is a simple little check box to turn on and off your translucent menu bar.


    Hope I was helpful.

  • Furniture

    Cool tips! excellent work. Thanks

  • oswaldo

    For the recent stack suggestion you have to type in th following instead:

    defaults write persistent-others -array-add '{ "tile-data" = { "list-type" = 1; }; "tile-type" = "recents-tile"; }'

    in the text in the article it was using special character quotes. and mac copies them also with the syntax. the terminal can not read them.

    if you replace the quotes with the regular ones it works like a charm

  • John

    Hey friends this is good blog . This blog solved my changing icon problem. Also on this blog we get latest news related to tricks and other things related to macbook and mac family.

  • slots machines online

    Nice post! Loved the article!!

  • robinsonor

    software is powerful.both in computer and cell phone.
    we like a good quality ,and a beautiful desktop.