Adjust Mac elements to add style, enhance functionality

Changing a Mac’s appearance settings, accent and highlight colors, and even individual app color schemes can make quite a style statement. But these tweaks can also improve functionality.

Computer veterans know this. Those who remember Microsoft’s Hot Dog Stand desktop profile on Windows version 3.1 learned early on that the color scheme you choose has a significant impact on the overall user interface experience. But these colors also impact how effectively you can immediately read title bars, locate menus, locate highlighted items, and differentiate between related on-screen elements using natural assistance. contrasting colors.

But the hot dog stand?

The bold combination of red and yellow colors was absurd and basically visually assaulted you. As many have learned, contrasting colors grabbed attention at first glance, but after using this creative palette for an extended period of time, you usually found yourself having to revert to a more conservative color combination, even realistic. So imagine my surprise when I started playing around with an approximation of the red and yellow color scheme on my Mac to challenge the January doldrums and found that the contrasting scheme could actually work on a Mac. The difference, of course, is that Apple’s developers have implemented more subdued matching colors. Although less playful, the desktop and menu colors available in macOS do work.

Judge by yourself. Figure A shows a simple approximation of the hot dog stand on macOS Monterey. Menus, highlights, and selections are easy to spot. Even with a bright yellow wallpaper, I found myself using the scheme for weeks without thinking about changing it.

Figure A

An approximation of Microsoft’s infamous Hot Dog Stand desktop color scheme works well on macOS. The scheme helps the eye quickly locate highlighted selections and application menu bars, as shown here with help from Microsoft Outlook’s individual color customization.

Adjusting the corresponding Mac settings is easy. Open System Preferences, click General, and experiment with changes to Appearance (a relatively new feature that applies the popular Dark Mode), Accent Color, and Highlight Color. Combined with changes to the Mac’s desktop background – completed by clicking Desktop & Screen Saver in System Preferences, highlighting the Desktop tab and selecting an image, and even adjusting the game colors of an individual application (as can be done with Microsoft Outlook) – and you have the ingredients to quickly customize a new Mac desktop work environment that adds flair, breaks up the regular monotony of working with the same spaces immutable visuals and really improves usability and functionality.

Figure B and Figure C demonstrate the variety of color schemes that can be quickly activated on a Mac. Changing a few appearance and color settings provides the equivalent of entirely new operating environments, while allowing menu selections, highlights, and title bars to stand out for quick identification.

Figure B

Enabling dark mode provides an intriguing contrast that helps menu selections and title bars pop, while providing a break from the usual color schemes.

Figure C

Jumpsuits do not need to adopt non-traditional or overly aggressive colors. Even using a standard blue scheme and pairing the application-specific color standard can create a nice-looking yet productive workspace.

Even better, there’s really no harm if you select a palette arrangement that you later decide doesn’t work well. Just open System Preferences, click on General and adjust the corresponding settings as shown in Figure Das required.

Figure D

Adjusting color values ​​in macOS is quite easy. Select from the options provided for Appearance, Accent Color, and Highlight Color.
Those using Microsoft Outlook on a Mac can change Outlook’s color profile using the program’s own preferences options. Select Outlook from the Mac menu bar, select Preferences, click General, and specify the look and color theme you want to use, as shown in Figure E.

Figure E

Some applications, such as Microsoft Outlook, include the ability to customize colors in its own Preferences menu.

Play around with a few combinations. Make adjustments, also making sure to experiment with the Appearance (Dark Mode) settings, which allow you to always apply Dark Mode or let the Mac adjust the appearance of the computer (using the Auto ) depending on the time of day. To make a mistake? No sweating. Go back to settings and adjust the scheme as needed. Who knows? With an updated color palette, including different desktop backgrounds, you might find the Mac a little more welcoming and user-friendly.


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Steven L. Nielsen