11

I do web development on my Mac and I tend to have lots of windows open. Even per application, I tend to have multiple windows opened (ie a Terminal window for tail -f error logs, one for ssh, and one for local commands).

When I switch applications with tab, the visual effect on focused window is subtle and I often get confused and perform commands on the wrong window. For example, I switch to Terminal and do w to close a tab on the tail -f command, but I accidentally closed the ssh tab!

Is there a Mac program that will highlight or do some more effects on a focused window when I switch applications?

5

If a paid app is ok, HazeOver darkens everything but the active window slightly. http://hazeover.com

Note that I haven't used it, so I can't speak to it. It has a 4 star review, but the only review for the latest version is negative.

  • It's been updated recently and has 5 stars for current version. – pointum Jun 4 '15 at 23:04
  • 1
    I have used HazeOver for a long time, and it works perfectly. You can also adjust the intensity of the dimming background. Highly recommended. – sayzlim Aug 4 '16 at 4:01
  • If I were you, I'd purchase it from the app store and not from the link to "payproglobal.com" built into the trial version; payproglobal is an absolutely bizarre payment processor that wanted to call me on the phone, and later wanted me to send them photo ID in order to purchase. The app's author said he's received a number of complaints and plans on switching. – offby1 Jan 4 '17 at 16:35
10

This is Mavericks specific, but Honer will draw a border around the active window. You might also want to combine it with this app that removes window shadows.

  • 1
    Also works on Yosemite, and is exactly what I wanted, thanks a lot. – chmac Mar 30 '15 at 10:41
  • 1
    Alas, it's not terribly stable: see this bug – offby1 Dec 30 '16 at 19:14
  • lol I wrote this answer and filed that bug report. – wting Dec 30 '16 at 23:20
3

If you're willing to invest some to set it up, Hammerspoon has the hs.window.highlight module that provides:

  • Darken the non-active app (like HazeOver)
  • Put a border around the active app (like Honer)
  • Toggle one window to be isolated (like Isolator)
  • Briefly flash a window when it is created

You can further configure this to activate only for some apps. The module is written in lua so I'm guessing you can extend or replace its functionality in the Hammerspoon config file (which is Lua code). For example this config implements a red border around the focused window. There's also a function to turn off window shadows but I haven't gotten it to work.

Having tried Hammerspoon, Honer, and HazeOver, I like Hammerspoon's configurability but I like HazeOver for being well polished, stable, and easy to use. I had tried Honer for a while and liked the way it looked but it wasn't stable on my system. Both Honer and Hammerspoon's border-drawing will lag behind window moves, and sometimes won't catch the window move at all. I haven't tried Isolator.

1

HazeOver works very well for me (in 10.10.5 as of this writing), and plays well with f.lux. HazeOver can be changed (quickly) to highlight the active window and dim everything else (even pretty much hide it entirely, for "focus" or "theater" mode), or to highlight all windows of the frontmost app, and dim the rest just a little, which I use a lot when writing or developing. Honer can be run at the same time, though I find its responsiveness too slow for my tastes, and it gets confused a lot, especially by float-on-top dialogs).

-1

Isolator is free and pretty good.

  • 1
    We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed. – Tetsujin Jan 20 '16 at 12:42

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