Appearance Preferences on Your MacBook - dummies

Appearance Preferences on Your MacBook

By Mark L. Chambers

The Appearance preferences appear on the Appearances pane in the System Preferences window of your MacBook. These settings enable you to customize the appearance and operation of your Desktop and login account.


  • Appearance: From this pop-up menu, choose a color to be used for buttons, menus, and windows.

  • Highlight Color: From this pop-up menu, choose a color to be used to highlight selected text in fields and pop-up menus.

  • Show Scroll Bars: Use these radio buttons to specify when Lion should display scroll bars within a window. By default, they’re placed automatically when necessary, but you can choose to display scroll bars always, or only when you’re actually scrolling through a document. (If you’ve used Mac OS X before, note that the familiar scroll arrows from past versions of the operating system no longer appear within Lion.)

  • Click in the Scroll Bar To: By default, Mac OS X jumps to the next or previous page when you click in an empty portion of the scroll bar. Select the Jump to the Spot That’s Clicked radio button to scroll the document to the approximate position in relation to where you click.

    (You can also choose smooth scrolling, which looks cool, but many folks think that it’s too slow compared with the default scrolling speed.) If you select the Double-Click a Window’s Title Bar to Minimize check box, you can minimize a Finder or application window by simply double-clicking the window’s title bar. You can also set the size for the icons in the Finder window toolbar.

  • Number of Recent Items: The default number of recent applications, documents, and servers (available from the Recent Items item in the Apple menu) is 10. To change the default, click any of the pop-up menus here and choose up to 50.

  • Restore Windows When Quitting and Re-Opening Apps: If this check box is enabled, Lion’s Resume feature automatically saves the state of an application when you quit. When you launch the application again, Lion restores all of the application windows and opens the documents you were working on when you quit — in effect, you can continue using the application just as if you had never quit.

    If you disable the check box, Lion will not restore your work, and you’ll have to load your document again; this is the same action taken by earlier versions of Mac OS X.

  • Use LCD Font Smoothing: By default, this check box is enabled, making the text on your MacBook’s LCD display appear more like the printed page.

  • Turn Off Text Smoothing for Font Sizes: Below a certain point size, text smoothing isn’t much good for most on-screen fonts. By default, any font displayed at 8 point or smaller isn’t smoothed, which is suitable for a high-end video card and monitor. You can speed up the display of text by turning off text smoothing for fonts up to 12 point.