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Creating the Look of Your Widget

Creating a widget quickly and easily using a template is great, but no one wants to deliver a cookie-cutter product. One of the coolest things about Dashcode is how easy it is to customize the look of your widget. You can select any visual element on the Canvas (or from the Navigator) and use the Inspector button to bring up an Inspector pallet.

As with iWeb, the Inspector contains contextual tools to modify the look and, where appropriate, the behavior of any interface element. This makes it easy to adjust size, color, shading or style, fonts, default values, and virtually any other option for any visual element.

You can also customize your widget by adding artwork either from your iPhoto library, which is available by from the Library pallet’s Photos tab (via the Library button), or by dragging and dropping images onto the Canvas.

Also if you want to add or change the interface elements in your widget, you can do this easily using the Parts tab of the Library pallet. The Parts tab contains all manner and style of Mac OS X interface elements from check boxes and text fields to gauges and freeform shapes.

In addition to creating the look of the widget itself, don’t forget to create a custom icon (displayed in the Manage Widgets bar inside Dashboard) and default image. You can modify them just as easily using the Canvas and Inspector. You can also edit them directly in an external image editor. When designing the icon, you can even use the Place button at the bottom of the window to select an existing image file to be used as the icon.

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