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Using Widgets in OS X

written by: adam12•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 3/27/2009

There are many different widgets available for OS X. These mini applications provide useful information, help you with day to day tasks and even entertain! A standard collection of widgets comes pre-installed with Leopard and many more can be downloaded for free.

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    Widgets are mini-applications that can be accessed in the Dashboard. They are very convenient to use because you can access and exit the Dashboard quickly and you can have multiple widgets running at the same time. It seems that there is a widget for virtually every purpose and there are more being made every day.

    The best place to find new widgets is Apple’s website. Here you will find a large list of widgets divided by category. In addition there are sections highlighting the most popular widgets as well as the staff picks. The next section will highlight four useful widgets that come pre-installed in OS X.

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    Recommended Widgets

    The movie showtimes widget by Fandango is very useful, especially for film buffs. After you enter your city and state or zip code, this widget will display all local movie theaters, movies and showtimes. It also gives you information on the cast and genre of the movie along with a plot synopsis. There’s even a link you can click to purchase tickets online.

    The weather widget by Accuweather is perhaps the most practical widget. Again, you simply enter your city and state or zip code and you receive a six day forecast. You can view the high and low temperatures in Celsius or Fahrenheit and there are a range of icons to indicate how sunny or rainy each day will be. This is a great resource that you can use first thing in the morning to plan your wardrobe and prepare for the day.

    If you write a lot, then the dictionary/thesaurus widget is a godsend. Using this widget, you can find definitions and synonyms on the fly. You can also use this widget to quickly check your spelling as it suggests words after you enter a few letters. You can customize the font size by choosing large, medium or small.

    Finally, Yahoo! Finance provides a stock market widget that allows you to keep track of your stocks. You can enter any symbol and get the current price of the stock along with a chart of the price history. The history can be set to a minimum of one day and a maximum of two years. You can also choose to have the daily price chance quoted in points or a percentage.