10 Remarkably Useful Dashboard Widgets

Although Dashboard received a huge amount of attention when it was originally released, it has since become a fairly standard feature of OS X. Thousands of different widgets are available – some far more useful than others.

Today I’ll be taking a look at 10 widgets that really stand out from the crowd, and have something unique and interesting to offer you in your day-to-day computer use. I hope you find a few of them useful!

iStat Nano

iStat Nano

iStat Nano

iStat nano is a system monitoring widget with a tiny footprint and a beautifully animated user interface. It can show a range of different in-depth information about your Mac, and is completely customisable. Although it’s a touch geeky, it can be genuinely useful to gain a quick picture of how much disk space you have remaining, discover your IP address, or take a look at your CPU usage.

Price: Free
Developer: iSlayer

Twidget

Twidget

Twidget

Twidget is a free Dashboard Widget for OS X that allows you to update your Twitter status. It isn’t going to challenge Tweetie for the Twitter client crown, but offers a quick and handy way to check recent updates and post a new message – particularly if you’re a very casual user of the service. Nicely designed, simple, and completely free.

Price: Free
Developer: Aquabox

Screenshot Plus

Screenshot Plus

Screenshot Plus

Screenshot Plus can take full screen captures, grab portions of the screen, and even capture windows, desktop icons, and other widgets. Captures may be saved to the clipboard or to the hard drive, or they may be exported to any application directly from the widget. It supports a range of formats, and is a slightly more advanced alternative to OS X’s native screen capture tools.

Price: Free
Developer: Steven Chaitoff

Currency Converter

Currency Converter

Currency Converter

A great widget, that I feel should be bundled with the operating system by default. Currency Converter supports over 200 different currencies but, most importantly, works reliably and accurately. I use it regularly, and it’s a real time-saver compared to visiting a currency conversion site or using Google.

Price: Free
Developer: Palple Software

Time Machine Buddy

Time Machine Buddy

Time Machine Buddy

If you’re having problems with Time Machine (or wondering why on earth it’s taking so long!), this widget can be a real help. It organises and displays the systems logs generated when backing up, allowing you to quickly tell what is happening behind the scenes for the backup in progress or any previous backups.

Price: Free
Developer: BlueDog

Eject Volume

Eject Volume

Eject Volume

Eject Volume displays a quick and simple list of all the volumes currently mounted in OS X, and allows you to eject all the active volumes on your system in a very handy way. It’s considerably quicker than locating them on your desktop and dragging to the Trash (particularly if you have a very messy desktop!)

Price: Free
Developer: OffByte

HSLider

HSLider

HSLider

Targeted at developers using CSS, this Dashboard widget uses HSL sliders and text fields to tweak colors. Copying the new color as valid CSS (hex, RGB, or HSL) is easy. A real time saver if you regularly work with color as a designer.

Price: Free
Developer: Brandan Lennox

iTube

iTube

iTube

If you’re like me, you often find yourself wondering what the video is to a particular song in iTunes. This widget helps to satisfy that urge, and saves you surfing around the web searching for it. Very handy!

Price: Free
Developer: Philip Andrews

Wikipedia Widget

Wikipedia Widget

Wikipedia Widget

The reference book for our generation, Wikipedia is full of useful knowledge and research. This widget makes all that accessible from your Dashboard, and even allows you to make edits if the information you come across is a little suspect.

Price: Free
Developer: Sean Billig

Delivery Status

Delivery Status

Delivery Status Touch

This is a wonderful widget for tracking the progress of a parcel, and (unlike many) works with a variety of different international stores and shipping services. Really well designed with an impressive interface, and Growl support to notify you when the status of your package changes.

Price: Free
Developer: Junecloud

Conclusion

Dashboard has matured and grown impressively over the past few years, and a number of thoroughly useful widgets are available. If you’d like to explore more, Apple’s directory of Dashboard widgets is a great place to start. Have fun, and by all means share your favourites in the comments!