How To: Use Easy-to-Install Plugins to Customize Almost Any App on Your Mac

Use Easy-to-Install Plugins to Customize Almost Any App on Your Mac

When you buy a Mac, you accept that you're giving up the customization found on Windows or Linux systems for a more fluid and secure machine. This is great for most consumers, but for those of us who'd rather opt for a tailor-made experience, there are always developers that can combine functionality with stability.

EasySIMBL, released by developer Norio Nomura, uses an approach similar to Xposed on Android by injecting custom code into individual apps (or the entire system). With this code, apps can be tweaked without needing to alter any code yourself or switch out any core system files.

Step 1: Install EasySIMBL

Since EasySIMBL isn't available on the Mac App Store, you'll need to download the EasySIMBL .zip file, extract it, and move the app to your Applications folder. (Make sure that you've allowed installation of apps from "unidentified developers" on your Mac beforehand in order to open EasySIMBL.)

The first time you run EasySIMBL, you'll need to make sure that "Use SIMBL" is enabled or else the plugins will not work. Then, just select which plugins you want to download and run. The app itself does not come pre-loaded with anything; it acts more like a catalog and installer for user-submitted tweaks.

Step 2: Pick Your Plugins

Unfortunately, there is no unified repository for all EasySIMBL plugins, so instead you will have to rely on some Google-Fu to find compatible plugins. However, if you are looking for some highlights, here are some of the best extensions that I have found so far.

To install any of the plugins mentioned in this guide, you will need to download them, extract if necessary, and drag and drop the .bundle file into EasySIMBL.

MenuAndDockless

MOApp created this plugin to customize how your app's windows behave whenever they are opened. With it, you can select whether you want your dock or menu bar hidden when an app is open, along with setting a static position for the app's window when it is opened no matter where the app was orientated when it was closed. The options for each app can be found under the "Window" menu bar option.

Click here to download the MenuAndDockless .zip file

SimblPluginsForTwitter

SimblPluginsForTwitter by Norio Nomura adds embedded photos to the timeline of Twitter for Mac. Once activated, the app will need to be restarted to start seeing pictures from Imgur, Instagram, TwitPic, and other popular image hosting sites displayed right in your Twitter feed.

Click here to download the SimblPluginsForTwitter .zip file

BetterDictionary

With BetterDictionary by Pooria Azimi, you will now be able to add bookmarks to Apple's dictionary app. The plugin uses keyboard shortcuts to save and remove words from the bookmark list, so refer to the list below to better acquaint yourself with them.

  • Command + S: save word
  • Command + R: remove word
  • Command + Shift + D: display bookmarks
Click here to download the BetterDictionary .zip file

Custom NC

Last up we have inket's CustomNC plugin which allows you to change how your Notification Center, Growl banners, and alerts behave. After you apply your animation or time-out duration changes, they will be active immediately so there is no to restart or relaunch Finder.

Click here to download the CustomNC .zip file

As more people pick up EasySIMBL, hopefully, we'll start to see developers create even more plugins and tweaks for Mac OS X apps. Be sure to let me know your favorite plugins in the comments below, and make sure to keep us with us over on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter for more fun Mac hacks.

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