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How to put Dashboard wigets on the Desktop in MacOSX

Dashboard widgets in MacOSX is separated in its own workspace, and it’s convenient to keep them their. But if you like to put your widgets on the desktop, there’s still a way to do it


If you are running Lion, you have to complete the first 2 steps, otherwise, please start from step 3


Step 1 (For Lion only):

Open System Preferences -> Mission Control


Step 2 (For Lion only):

Disable "Show Dashboard as a space", and close the preferences



Step 3:

– Open Terminal (in Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal)

– In the Terminal window console, enter

defaults write devmode YES

– Next, kill the Dock

killall Dock




Now, it’s time to add your widget to the desktop


– Press F4 to open Dashboard

– Click and hold the widget you want to add to the desktop. While still holding the widget, press F4 again, you will be able to put it anywhere on the desktop, the widget will be on top of all other application.


If you want to remove the widget, do as followings:

– Click and hold the widget with your mouse

– While holding the widget, press F4, now drag the widget around on Dashboard Canvas and it will be removed from the desktop


It’s fun, isn’t it πŸ™‚

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  1. Chuck

    Worked for me. Thank your for this really helpful tip!

  2. yvan

    sorry, but this does not work for me?

    worked very well with snowleopard!

    one idea ?

    • number.0

      Can you recheck it, I’ve done this for all Lion machines and it worked!

      • yvan

        rechecked on IMAC 24
        no positive

        thank you for your answer

      • yvan


        I do not know why, but it works now

        thank you

        • number.0

          Glad to hear that πŸ™‚ !

  3. karen

    This was great and easy to follow. Thanks so much!

  4. Rachel

    great thanks πŸ™‚
    has anyone figured out how to keep the widgets BELOW all windows? or maybe embed them in desktop via geektool?

  5. raha

    +1 for Rachel.

    Any tips to have the widgets under the window?

    How to use Geektool to do that ?

    Thanks !!

  6. Mike

    I had no problem adding the widget. However, I now can’t get rid of it. The directions to click/hold/press f4 aren’t working for me. Has anyone successfully removed a widget? Thanks!

  7. Doug Taylor

    F4 launches Mission Control on my Mac mini with OS X 10.7 but I checked the preferences for the Dashboard and found that F12 opens it. Had to press fn + F12 but got it working. Pressing ESC after you have grabbed the widget also closes the Dashboard.

    Thanks for the tip, worked a treat!

  8. Mike

    Anyway of keeping the widget in the background?

  9. Lep

    How do i undo this?

  10. Lep

    Please help it doesnt work and screwed up my comp how do i undo this ?

  11. Lep

    thanks got it to work but i find when moving between desktops my desktops take a second for my desktop icons to reload? does this happen to everyone?

  12. EAN

    Brilliant, worked great! Simple to the point instructions, and easy to follow, just what I been looking for!

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