How to Customize Buttons, Menus, and Windows in Mac OS X Lion - dummies

How to Customize Buttons, Menus, and Windows in Mac OS X Lion

By Bob LeVitus

Customizing buttons, menus, and windows in Mac OS X Lion can be a breeze. If you’d like your Mac to look a bit more festive (or, for that matter, businesslike), you have options in the General pane at your disposal. To open this pane in Mac OS X Lion, choose Apple→System Preferences and then click the General icon.


First on the list are the general appearance options:

  • Appearance pop-up menu: Use this menu to choose different appearances and change the overall look of buttons.

  • Highlight Color pop-up menu: From here, you can choose the color text is surrounded by when you choose it in a document or select an icon.

The next area in the General System Preferences pane enables you to set the behavior of scroll bars and title bars:

  • The Show Scroll Bars radio buttons let you choose when you wish to see scroll bars on windows.

  • The Click in the Scroll Bar To radio buttons give you the option of moving your view of a window up or down by a page (the default) or to the position in the document roughly proportionate to where you clicked in the scroll bar.


    Choose the Jump to the Spot That’s Clicked radio button if you often work with long (multipage) documents. It’s handy for navigating long documents.

  • Selecting the Use Smooth Scrolling check box makes documents more legible while you scroll.

  • The Double-click a Window’s Title Bar to Minimize check box does just what it says when chosen: it shrinks a window to the Dock when you double-click its title bar.

The next area in the General pane controls the Number of Recent Items that are remembered and displayed in your Apple→Recent Items submenu.

Here’s what each pop-up menu means:

  • Applications: When you choose to display any number of applications, you can open any application you’ve used recently from your Recent Items submenu.

  • Documents: This setting tells OS X Lion to show specific documents you’ve opened recently in Recent Items.

  • Servers: Determines the number of recently accessed remote computers OS X Lion displays in the Recent Items submenu.

The last item in this section is Restore Windows When Quitting and Re-Opening Apps will do just what it says: Any document windows open when you quit will magically reopen themselves the next time you launch the app.

The final area offers a few options for how your fonts look. The Use LCD Font Smoothing When Available check box makes text look better on most displays. Unless your monitor is a very old tube-type (CRT) display, you probably want to select this box.

The Turn Off Text Smoothing for Font Sizes x and Smaller pop-up menu (where x is the pop-up menu setting) does just what it says. Fonts that size and smaller are no longer antialiased (smoothed) when displayed.

If you find that type in small font sizes is hard for you to read, try increasing or decreasing this setting.