Getting Started with GeekTool [Mac How-To]
By on August 25th, 2011

A few days ago, I pointed out that GeekTool, one of the most powerful customization tools available for the Mac, is now available in the Mac App Store. I promised in that article that I would do a short write up on how to use GeekTool. I know that it can be a daunting task for those who are new to the application. That’s why I have decided to show you how to set up a simple geeklet.

The geeklet, which is what you get when you place a GeekTool script on your desktop, that I am going to show you is a simple clock. It will display the time in 12 or 24 hour format based on your clock settings. It is essentially a desktop clock that shows a mirror of what is on your internal clock. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Download and install GeekTool.
    geektool-mas.png
    That’s an easy one. You can grab it from the Mac App Store.
  2. Open GeekTool and select Shell.
    geektool-window.pngYou will see 3 different options when you open GeekTool. Click and drag ‘Shell’ to the desktop, and a new window will open.
  3. Type ”  date ‘+%I:%M:%S %p’ ” into the Command box.
    command-geektool.jpg
    So this window can be a little daunting. There are a ton of options that you don’t need to touch. For this step, simply copy and paste that code string into the Command Box.
  4. Set the Refresh rate to 1 second.
    refresh-geektool.jpgIf you want this clock to actually work correctly, then you need to set it’s refresh to 1 second. That option is right under the command.
  5. Optional: Change the Font Color and Size.
    font-geektool.jpgThis last step is optional, but it can make a world of difference. Towards the bottom of the Properties windows, you will see a bar that says ‘Click here to set font & color.’ Click that to do what it says.

If you did everything correctly, you will now have a working GeekTool clock on your desktop. You can move it around you desktop to wherever it works best for you. Mine is in a speech bubble in my Doctor Who comic desktop. I’ve seen them carefully placed behind image geeklets, as backgrounds and even made gigantic. The only limit is your creativity.

If you want to find more unique geeklets, I recommend you check out Mac OS X Tips. They have a great database of cool and unique uses for GeekTool. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a note in the comments below.

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Author: Tony Price Google Profile for Tony Price
Tony A. Price is a Nutrition and Dietetics Student from Louisiana in the United States. He has a deep passion for high end technology, mobile devices and applications, Mac hardware and software, and video gaming. His website is Tony's Brain, his Twitter handle is @TonyAllenPrice and you can follow him on Google+.

Tony Price has written and can be contacted at tony@techie-buzz.com.
  • Pyko

    Im tyring to make a geeklet for chekcing my utorrent downloads however im brand new to unix and ive never written in script any help?

  • bazmonkey

    Hello when i do this my clock is 12 hours out…any suggestions, cheers

 
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