Do it yourself – Fullscreen mode for your Mac apps

Everyone knows that multitasking is usually bad for your productivity, and that in order to get ‘in the flow’ one would need to focus on the task at hand and nothing more. Having your app maximized to your screen size might be enough most of the times, but a real full-screen mode(that is, covering also the Dock and the MenuBar) would be even better.
Apparently the next operating system version for your Mac(OSX Lion) will add native support for full-screen apps. But until then, neither of these two options are made easy by the current Mac OSX version.

If you’re in the same place as I am and too impatient to wait for your full-screen productivity boost, I found a temporary solution. An awesome one which, best of all, is completely free(although donations to their developers are welcome)!

First of all, download SIMBL – SIMBL (SIMple Bundle Loader) – pronounced like “symbol” or “cymbal” – is a nifty app that enables hacks and plugins into OSX apps that don’t normally support them. The latest (Leopard and Snow Leopard version) can be downloaded directly from this link. A list of the most popular popular SIMBL plugins is available here.
Like you already guessed, we’ll get ourselves a couple of SIMBL plugins.

  • My favorite is called SizeWell. It’s free, easy to download, install and setup, and adds a simple to use System Preferences pane. What it does? It allows you to configure how you’ll resize and zoom the windows on your Mac. For instance, by holding down CMD when maximizing the window, it will grow to the maximum screen size(except for the MenuBar and the Dock), which is probably what you want like 90% of the time and the default behavior that Windows has for maximizing windows(a lame pun, sorry). You can also configure maximizing on just half of the screen(left or right or top or bottom), which is a dream come true for most multitaskers who don’t want to spend $14 on the nice Divvy utility.
    SizeWell
  • If you’re really craving for fullscreen, SizeWell won’t be enough for you. Instead (or, better yet, in addition to it), you’ll need Megazoomer, the latest version of which can be downloaded from here. After unzipping the downloaded archive, you’ll need to copy the included megazoomer.bundle to the /Library/Application Support/SIMBL/Plugins/ folder so that SIMBL can use it. Once you do this, you can start toggling full-screen mode for your current windows by simply pressing CMD+Enter (or look in the Menu at the Window submenu for the newly-added Mega Zoom menu entry). Really awesome stuff in my opinion, wouldn’t you agree?
    Fullscreen Finder and my SIMBL plugins

That’s it. One simple app and two plugins to install, and your operating system just got 50% better. My regret? That I spent 4 years on the Mac not knowing about them.

[Disclaimer/warning/footprint:
Like all OSX hacks, SIMBL and its plugins are not supported by Apple(obviously, since they only support their own apps) and might stop working at some point in the future. Also, we don’t make any guarantees that they will work for your system. They should, but just don’t sue me if they fail for your particular machine.]


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