Blog Post

5 More Ways to Become a Mac Minimalist


My first post on becoming a minimalist with your Mac had great feedback, so I’m back with another round of tips to keep your digital workspace as simple as possible.

Reduce Finder Window Clutter


Right click on the top of any finder window and select “Customize Toolbar…” Drag out any items you don’t need. For example, I have no idea what to do with that Action menu.

Another thing to try is to right-click on the top of the window again and select “Text Only.” This should simplify all of your Finder windows.



Hide Tab bar. Hide Bookmarks bar. Customize your toolbar and remove all unnecessary buttons.


Turn off “Always show the tab bar.” Hide Bookmarks bar. Customize your toolbar by only showing text.


Stainless is an extremely simple to use web browser. Some might view its limitations as disappointing whereas I see them as a means to provide a non-distracting browsing experience. Tabs and a tiny bookmarking sidebar. That’s it. The company maintains a Twitter account to discuss development progress. Give it a download and let me know what you think. By the way, the above screenshot is the default appearance.

Really Clean Out Your Dock

Why do you still have such a full dock when all of your applications are only a few keystrokes away? Applications like Google Quick Search Box, LaunchbarQuicksilver and even Spotlight are available to help relieve your dock and still increase your productivity. I know some of you have tried these tools and just forgot to use them. That happened to me as well. It takes time to create the habit. Need to open Photoshop? Command + Space, “pho”, Enter. Now that I’m hooked on Quicksilver I can’t remember what it was like before.


Helvetica Takeover

Looking for a way to refresh your online applications? Do you like Helvetica? Even if you are unsure, you should check out the following Helvetica tweaks to your favorite online tools. Detailed installation instructions are available at each of the websites.



Google Reader:


Google Calendar:


Full disclosure

In my first round of minimalism tips there was one part lacking further explanation. I had Tweetie open but there was no Tweetie window. Why? I use a Mimo Monitor. It is somewhat contradictory to recommend purchasing hardware and adding something to your work environment in a minimalism discussion. However, for $129 it is a simple way to move your task list, Twitter app, buddy list, or Adobe windows off screen. Below you can see a Mimo Monitor next to my 24″ iMac.


What are some of the ways you keep your Mac minimal?

22 Responses to “5 More Ways to Become a Mac Minimalist”

  1. I’ve been considering one of those Mimo monitors for my home office setup for awhile now. I use two displays at work but at home I often find myself wanting to get rid of smaller windows or apps from my workspace. I use Spaces and all but the Mimo would allow me to move them out from in front of me but still leave them accessible. It would be great for certain Flash panels as well. Are you happy with it?

  2. Minimalist I am not. But I do like to keep things clean. My adium has a skin that integrates well into osx, safari, although full of bookmarks in the menubar (can’t help it, I use them constantly), is kept stock. I’ve tried other browsers but none reach the level of usability that safari does for me. My dock is small on the bottom of my screen, icons are probably 24×24 maybe a little smaller. And I have stacks set up for my major folders (ie Downloads, class notes, Applications, and a separate commonly used application folder). I’m far from a minimalist but I still like my stuff simple.

    Btw. You’re set up is not minimalist. At all. Have a fantastic looking set up, and being minimalist are two incredibly different things.

  3. Having read both this and your previous article on Minimalist Macs, I found that I was doing much of the things that you suggest. I love Quicksilver, and use it all the time. Adium is my IM program of choice, and Bowtie is great for telling me the track without un-minimising iTunes. I also use spaces and exposé all the time when I’m working on my macbook just to try and get all the tasks done without cluttering the small real estate up too much.

    However, unlike Mr Klein I have all manner of icons in my menu bar that stretch it almost half way across the screen. I don’t see that as cluttering the screen. I also like to see the dock, and have 10 Apps and a couple stacks in it normally, if only because I see it as something that defines a Mac, and therefore is to be treasured rather than hidden away. To me it is all about cleaning up the desktop – as long as that isn’t full of icons, then I am happy.

    I will commend Mr Klein on his beautiful work space. That MiMo Monitor is certainly a nice piece of kit. My workspace is a fairly ordered mess of external harddrives, wireless kb and mouse and a 22″ TV serving as a monitor for my MacBook. Certainly not as ‘minimal,’ or beautiful, as his!

  4. I’ve never understood the obsession with Helvetica font. I understand that it may look cleaner, but it’s not easier on the eyes if you read a lot of text. Serifs on fonts help us to distinguish letters. That’s why newspapers are formatted with serif fonts. Sans serif fonts work far better for large billboards. So, how is having a cleaner font that is more challenging on the eyes over time more minimalist?

  5. I have my few main apps that I use all the time in the dock, but I also added the Applications folder to the Dock on the right side. Any app is then 2 clicks away.

  6. I’ve never had a problem with the dock taking up screen space — but I could see this being an issue on smaller screens.

    I understand what you’re saying, and it makes perfect sense in theory, but I haven’t been able to make it work for me. It’s not that I’m reluctant to change my workflow; I read articles like this one all the time and have tried Quicksilver and Launchbar and removing all icons from my dock on several different occasions based on just this kind of recommendation. I’ve taken the time to learn both programs, but I always go back to using the dock in the end. I can usually grab the mouse and drag an icon somewhere faster than I can think of the name of the file and application. Maybe I need to watch some more screencasts, but I still don’t understand what most people are doing with their computers all day that makes using only keyboard shortcuts faster. I do use a lot of keyboard shortcuts, just not to replace the dock or Finder.

  7. I still don’t really get the desire to clean out the dock to the degree that most Mac minimalists advocate. Sure, take out all the stuff you rarely use and launch them through Spotlight (or something else). But there are about 10 applications that I use almost all the time that I always keep in the dock. It’s not so much about launching them, but about having my frequently used apps in the same place all the time. I use the application icons in the dock to control Expose & Spaces, and to open files (by dragging to the appropriate icon). My dock is always visible for that reason. I’ve tried using the various Mac productivity applications (Quicksilver & co.) many times, and I just don’t get it. Maybe I’m not doing enough repetitive tasks to see the advantage — I just use scripts when I do need to do repetitive things.

    • Mark Crump

      I’m not big on minimalism for minimalism’s sake. While I have nothing in my dock, and have cleaned off my menu bar except for stuff I really need, I don’t advocate that for everyone.

      Too many times I’ve seen someone pare the system down so far getting info you might need (like battery info) is more effort than just looking at the menu bar.

    • It’s always easier and faster to keep your hands on hte keyboard rather than the mouse. The dock takes up extra screen real estate that many consider necessary.

      You can always switch apps in spaces by using CMD+Tab and if you’re really into dragging items to the dock, you can still do that and keep it hidden. It will show up when you drag it to the bottom.

      The only thing I have in my dock is running apps, docs & downloads. With an app like Launchbar, I can easily search for the files that I want, quick look to make sure, open in the app I want, not have to open any new windows during this process and w’o having to use the mouse.