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For some Web pages, it seems like overkill to launch Safari, navigate to the site, use the page, and close it when you’re done. That’s especially true if all you want to do is get a quick glance and move on, such as with a daily comic strip, status page, or simple Web app.

Apple came up with a solution to this problem long ago—called Dashboard—but it never caught on in a big way so many people don’t know it still exists in macOS. Here’s how you turn on Dashboard, invoke it, and add what Apple calls a “Web Clip.”

First, open System Preferences > Mission Control. From the Dashboard menu, choose either As Space or As Overlay. The former displays your Dashboard widgets in their own space, whereas the latter overlays them on top of your Desktop.

Next, you need to set how you’ll invoke Dashboard. There are three possibilities: an F-key, a mouse button click, or moving the mouse pointer into a particular corner of the screen.

  • To configure an F-key, choose it from the first Show Dashboard pop-up menu. Press a modifier key like Command, Shift, Control, or Option to add it to the keystroke, as in Command-F11.
  • For a mouse button, choose an item from the second Show Dashboard pop-up menu. Again, you can specify that a modifier key must also be down.
  • To invoke Dashboard by moving the pointer into a corner, click Hot Corners, and in the dialog that appears, choose Dashboard from one of the four pop-up menus corresponding to a screen corner.

Give it a try—Dashboard will load with some default widgets. You can delete those you don’t want by clicking the minus button in the lower-left corner of the screen and then clicking the X button that appears on every widget. You add more widgets by clicking the plus button, though creating a Web Clip requires more work. When you’re done viewing Dashboard, click anywhere other than on a widget to dismiss it.

To add a Web Clip, you need to work in Safari. Load the page that contains what you want to turn into a Web Clip, such as the Ice Conditions and Weather on Ottawa’s famous Rideau Canal Skateway. Then, choose File > Open in Dashboard. Safari guesses at selecting part of the page to clip, and you can move or resize the selection rectangle. Once you have it set, click the Add button in the upper-right corner of the page.

Now invoke Dashboard again, and you’ll see your new Web Clip! Like all widgets, you can drag it anywhere on the screen you like. It’s like a little window into that portion of the Web page, so it updates whenever you enter Dashboard. If there are fields to type in and controls to click on the page, those will be live too.

Keep in mind that Web Clips can’t change size. So, if you want to make one for a portion of a page that expands after you click a button, for instance, create it after what you want to capture is fully expanded. If you get the size wrong at first, just delete the Web Clip and try again.

Dashboard may not have set the world on fire when it was first introduced, but Web Clips remain useful today!

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