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Hackinations: 5 really good Lion tweaks


Lion. We love the OS. We hate a few tiny details. Here are five extremely handy Lion tweaks that can improve your day-to-day use. Enable each by typing the supplied commands into Terminal.

1. Turn off those #*%(ing zooming windows Launch Safari or TextEdit and then hit Command-N a few times. Do you see how the new windows fly or "zoom" into place? You can disable that with this elegant tweak from TUAW reader Ryan Hauk. First, open Terminal and type the following:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticWindowAnimationsEnabled -bool NO

Finally, quit and restart whatever app you're looking to de-zoomify. You do not have to set the defaults more than once, but the apps won't pick up the new setting until their next launch.

2. Enable key autorepeat. You won't be able to use those cool iOS-inspired, press-hold-and-select-an-accented-character feature, but you'll get back thissssssssssssssssss. Courtesy of

defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool false

Interestingly, you can set this preference on a per-application basis. So you can enable key-repeat for, say, TextEdit but not for Safari by using e.g. instead of the global domain.

3. Make your ~/Library folder visible. This removes its hidden flag, so you don't have to keep using the option-key from the Finder's Go menu.

chflags nohidden ~/Library/

4. Disable spelling correction. When you want to be able to refer to "nethack" or "Megs" without it being autocorrected to "netback" and "Mess," you can turn this off from the command line -- or, if you prefer, get somewhat more granular control in the Text section of the Language & Text system preference pane (uncheck 'Correct spelling automatically').

defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticSpellingCorrectionEnabled -bool NO

5. Mandate scrollbars. Let scrollbars become a permanent part of your windowing experience.

defaults write -g AppleShowScrollBars -string Always

And 6. Add back the Finder's size information. (Via TUAW reader 1TallTXn) Open a Finder Window and use Command-/. Presto

And 7. Disable mail animations. Chris Pirillo sent me link to his how-to write-up, which uses this command (discovered by "Adrian") to simplify visuals when replying in Mail.

defaults write DisableReplyAnimations -bool YES

Have you found more good prefs? Let us know in the comments! Some good places to check are the Preferences folders (global and local), the HIToolbox, and Core Services.

Update: A reader pinged me to ask if I had come across any prefs that I didn't include because I wasn't sure what they did. Yes. Yes, I did. Here are a few for you to mull on: AppleUseCoreUI, AppleMagnifiedMode, AppleMenuSwipeDrivesMenuBar, and AppleUseSharedMenuBar. There are lots more like these in HIToolbox.

Update: I'm asked if there's a way to disable autosave. I believe you have to set a default for NSDocumentAutosaveOldDocumentDayThreshold, which will probably only autosave beyond a certain time threshold. If you can confirm or test, please ping me at erica at tuaw.

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