Mac Daniel's Advice

Personalize Your Mac's Look & Feel

Evan Kleiman - 2000.09.25

Q. I've seen web sites all over the place with tips and tricks on how to customize your Mac. But all of this stuff looks too confusing. What should I do to personalize my computer without confusing myself or destroying my computer?

A. There are many sites out there, such as ResExcellence, that shows you how to customize your Mac. But sites like these appear very confusing because they only give you instructions "customizing gurus" can understand.

You don't need to be a guru to personalize your computer.

First, one of the basic things you can always do is the desktop picture. MacDesktops is my favorite site for getting desktops, since you can pretty much find anything you're looking for.

Another easy customization solution is Kaleidoscope. This program will drastically change the look of your entire computer. It customizes the look of your menu bars, tool bars, menus, cursor, and many other aspects. And the best part of this little wonder program is it has thousands off "themes" which you can install to change the look of your computer.

Another non-dangerous fix you can try is switching icons around. Changing icons is as easy as selecting the icon you want, copying it to the clipboard, choosing Get Info, and pasting the new icon over the old one. The hardest part is finding the right icons for you. There are many sites you can go to to get icons. Some of my favorites are Iconfactory and Epoch Icons. There are tons of other Mac Icon places.

There are many other solutions to your ugly looking plain desktop, but most of them require a program called ResEdit. This program allows you to physically edit the insides of a program to make it more customized. However, this application is the easiest way to mess up your computer in a major way. So the best idea is to stay away from this program unless you know what you're doing.

In the end, customizing your computer can be fun and enjoyable. Also, many sites have competitions for most customized desktop. Check out this screen shot to see how truly customized a desktop can be. It's my desktop.

Evan Kleiman has been writing for Low End Mac since January 1999. He also runs his own site, Evansite. Evan uses an iMac, along with some vintage hardware. You can read more about his computing experience in The Many Macs of Evan Kleiman.

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