Mac Basics: Dashboard gives you quick access to frequently used info

Dashboard provides you with a quick overview of info you use daily—like your local weather, quick notes, a calculator, and more.

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dashboard icon

Dashboard provides access to several fun and functional, mini applications called widgets. OS X includes widgets for some of your favorite Mac apps, like Contacts and Calendar. These widgets give you quick access to your contacts and events without having to open up an app. You can add more widgets to Dashboard, and even create your own.

Working with Dashboard and widgets

To open Dashboard:

  • Click the Dashboard icon in the Dock, or open it from the Applications folder.
  • If Dashboard is set as its own space, swipe from right to left across your trackpad using two fingers. 
  • Enter Mission Control. Choose the Dashboard space to switch to it.

Once you're in Dashboard, you should see some widgets appear, such as the World Clock or Calculator. You can move these widgets anywhere you want by simply dragging them with your pointer.

Dashboard with widgets

To activate a widget, just select it. For example, once you click the Dictionary widget, you're ready to type a word in its search field. Click the Stickies widget to type a note or two. 

Adding Dashboard widgets

To see all the widgets on your Mac, click the add (+) button in the lower-left corner of the screen. This enters the widget browser. It shows you all the widgets installed on your Mac.

Widget Add button

To add a widget to Dashboard, click an icon in the widget browser. Or start typing the name of the widget in the search field and click the widget to add it to your Dashboard. You can even add more than one copy of the same widget. This can be useful if you need to track time in multiple time zones, or want to create multiple Stickies.

Download and install more widgets by clicking the More Widgets button. This takes you to the Apple Dashboard downloads webpage.

Creating your own widgets

Use Safari to create your own widget from a feature of your favorite website. For example, if you want to keep an eye on an order status from a website:

  1. Go to the website using Safari.
  2. Choose File > Open in Dashboard.
  3. Highlight the area you want to create a widget out of.
  4. Click Add at the top of the Safari window. 

Removing widgets

To remove a widget from Dashboard, click the Remove (–) button in the lower-left corner of the Dashboard, then click the unwanted widget's close button (X).

Customizing widgets

Some widgets allow you to customize them so that they display information that applies to you. For example, add and remove your favorite stocks from the Stocks widget, or choose a time zone or city for the World Clock widget.

To customize a widget, look for an info (i) button. Click this button to view its settings:

  1. Open Dashboard as described above.
  2. Move the pointer over each widget. Widgets with settings or options have a small info button (i) in one corner.
  3. Click the Info button to see the settings you can change.

Leaving Dashboard

When you're ready to exit dashboard, do any of the following:

  • Press the escape (Esc) key.
  • Use Mission Control or Application Switcher to switch to another application.
  • Swipe from right to left using two fingers on your trackpad.

Learn more

Want to learn more about Dashboard? Use the built-in Help included with OS X. From the Finder, choose Mac Help from the Help menu, then type Dashboard in the search field.

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