Translucent Icons for Hidden Applications

I know a lot of people who use only use the minimize function to hide windows that they aren’t currently using. I really don’t like this, as it’s not really usable via the keyboard, and it doesn’t work well with the Command-Tab application switcher. Instead, I use the hide function by pressing Command-H to hide active application. That is, all the windows of the program will become invisible and allow you to see the application underneath, or the desktop. This can also be achieved by choosing hide from the menu with the name of the application. To show the windows again, just click the application icon in the Dock, or switch back to the application by using the Command-Tab switcher.

One drawback of this method is that there is no way to tell that an application is hidden by looking at the dock. Unlike when you minimize, the windows don’t appear on the right-hand side of the Dock. The application icon also remains fully visible, unchanged from when the application was in view. With lots of applications open, it gets quite hard to tell which applications are hidden and which aren't.

By modifying a hidden setting, you can make the Dock show which applications are hidden by displaying them as a semi-transparent icon. To do this, open up the Terminal (located in Applications/Utilities), paste in the the following line and press Return.

defaults write showhidden -bool YES

For this change to take place, you have to relaunch the Dock. There are a few ways of doing this, but seeing as we are already in the Terminal, the quickest way is to just type `killall Terminal` followed by Return.

To cancel this change, and return the icons to normal, repeat the above command in the terminal, but replace YES with NO.

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