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Disable menu translucency (10.5)

The latest version of OS X, 10.5 or Leopard, has several new interface features. Most of them are good, but not all of them and the semi-transparent menu bar at the top of the screen came in for some criticism when the OS was first launched. Some people didn't like it because the wallpaper on the desktop would partially show through and make the menu difficult to see.

If you are bang up to date with all the updates, you'll find an option in System Preferences to make the menu bar solid again. It's not the traditional white, but at least the background doesn't interfere with the visibility.

Click the Apple logo at the left side of the menu bar and select System Preferences. Click Desktop and Screen Saver in the Personal section and make sure Desktop is selected. Clear the tick against Translucent Menu Bar. Now you can see the menu better.

Customise the desktop (10.4/5)

Customise desktop iconsDo you keep your desktop organised? Do you keep the number of icons to a minimum? Are they lined up in neat and tidy rows? Or is your desktop a mess, with icons scattered all over the place in a chaptic fashion? If you are the disorganised type, you can get OS X to organise the items on the desktop and keep it neat and tidy.

Hold down the Ctrl key and click an empty area of the desktop, then select Show view options. A small dialog appears that enables you to select the icon size using a slider.

The text size of the icon captions can be set too. Whether you have small or large icons and captions is entirely up to you. The default size is a bit too big for some people and a 32 x 32 icon and 11 pt caption size may suit you better.

Choose Snap to Grid in the Arrage by box at the bottom and then drag the Grid spacing slider to reposition the desktop icons. Smaller icons, captions and grid size makes the desktop much neater.

There is an option to display item info too. This shows the free space on a disk drive, the dimensions for pictures and so on. It's a useful extra.

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