Treating the desktop like a desktop

Hey folks,

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been playing with my desktop as a productivity tool and am wondering if there are any apps you like that I might use to extend the idea.

For example, I’m using Paper as a sheet of paper to capture notes. I’m using calendar-style wallpaper.

I’m using Notesey for little reminders bc it has a simple menu bar interface I like.

And this morning, I saw a poem I wanted to think about throughout the day, so I put it on a sticky note with the Stickies app that comes with macOS.

Untitled 3

I would love a way to make my own stickers (like photos or emoji) around… or give files unique icons?


Edited to replace second screenshot, which wasn’t cropped correctly.


Like, for example, I’d love to be able to have every file named ○ ○ ○ for like, habit tracking, and then convert those ○ ○ ○ to ● ● ● as I do them. So, like the image below, but every day looks like that.

Any ideas?

You can replace an icon in the Get Info field with Command + C and Command + V.

Copy the icon in the upper left corner (In the Finder Get Info of a file or app) with Command + C, then replace the icon on the second file by with Command + V.

Right clicking does not work. First click on the icon to select then copy or paste with the keyboard

Screen Shot 2022-05-31 at 11.23.39 AM

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Great tip! This is exactly the sort of advice I was hoping for. :pray:

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Check out Übersicht -– lots of widgets, many of them strange, and lots of customization.



Thanks for point this out. It looks very cool.

Now I really have to learn JavaScript …


I love these ideas! The biggest hurdle for me is that I almost never see my desktop, so maybe some of these ideas can inspire me to figure out how to make it work for me. I realized I never see my desktop after spending some time culling some 5K images to use as wallpaper, and then realizing a couple weeks later I barely saw them. I typically keep at least two windows on the screen, filling the entire screen, and I’m usually right into my work or play when I sit down, so I only see the desktop when starting up my computer.

Add a second desktop in Spaces. That way you can swipe away your work when (if?) you take a break.


In the same theme and probably just because I’m getting old and cantankerous, but does anyone know of an app (better a Finder extension) that implements the original Apple desktop concept that if you dragged a file from a folder onto your desktop, you could put it back with a single click?

That’s a great idea. So much of the time when I’m pausing or taking a break my work remains on screen glaring at me unless I’m able to get out of the office.

Rather than turning the screen off, I can perhaps swipe to something more beautiful/informational/relaxing.


Great tip -looks quite useful and customizable - surprised this is not better known on MPU.

I stand corrected…

I tried out Übersicht - the demo widget works but there seem to be issues with almost all of the sample widgets in the gallery. I get a sense that the JS/React required by the app is very specific to the particular monitor(s) configuration used and/or that many of the examples use a different/earlier version of JS/React.

@KVZ - Have you been able to get this to work well? What widget(s) in particular do you use?

Looks like it was a great project when started but much of the discussion is years old - perhaps it is not being actively maintained to keep up with current OS/JS versions?

With the tips so far, I’ve made the following aesthetic changes:

I’ll archive the May notes in DEVONthink and set up June now.

That was my experience as well, although the dates on the Github page are more recent.

Thanks. Unfortunately, I’m typically running between 3-5 desktops. Maybe I could make desktop #1 be the one with the widgets, etc., so it was easily accessible.

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Not exactly like that, but you can ⌘⌥ drag the file (or a folder) to the desktop, which creates an alias. Then when you are done, just delete the alias (drag to trash or ⌘⌫)


This also works with file servers. I had users that would frequently create an alias to a sub-folder on a share. When clicked it would even prompt you for a username and password if you weren’t already authenticated.

Thank you, I shall try that.