Use Dashboard widgets in Safari

21 February 2013, 09:00

Dashboard is a love-it or hate-it affair. Several times over the years I’ve tried to use it but can’t find a place for it in my workflow. That’s a shame because there are a handful of useful widgets.

If you’re in a similar boat, there’s a solution to try — opening Dashboard widgets in Safari, as if they’re web pages. This is possible because the widgets are coded as miniature self-contained web pages and accessing them in Safari puts them close at hand at all times.

Here’s how it’s done:

1. Open Finder, then hit Shift+Command+G. In the dialog box that appears, type /Library/Widgets.
2. Choose a widget you’re interested in from the list (Stocks, for example) and then right-click it and select Show Package Contents.
3. In the Finder window, look for the a file with the ending .html, which will be preceded by the name of the widget. In the case of Stocks, this file is Stocks.html.
4. Double-click this file, if Safari is your default browser, or drag it onto Safari’s icon in the Dock/Applications list if not. Note that it’s likely this will only work in Safari, although you can try to open the widgets in Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

The widget can be bookmarked, avoiding the need for the above steps in future. This raises intriguing possibilities — bookmark the Calculator widget, for example, and you have a useful calculator right there in your browser without the need to even move the mouse cursor away from Safari.

There’s a slight bug when you hit the ‘i’ button to change settings, something which usually flips the widget around in the Dashboard. You won’t be able to return to the original screen unless you hit the Refresh button on your browser’s toolbar. Cmd+R doesn’t work, perhaps because the widget takes over keyboard input.

Know better?