On my desk at the office I’ve got a couple of A3 sheets of paper underneath my keyboard and trackpad. At the end of the day the top page of the stack is often filled with lots of litle scribbles, reminders and notes I make during the day.

Each day, before going home I digitize what I still need from that page.

Sometimes it’s a todo that I need to finish the next day, but most often it’s a phone number, serial, IP-address,… that I need to copy to an Evernote note.

Those pages are basically filled with bits of information that are faster to write down when I encounter them and archive in their proper location all at once instead of opening up the right note every time I encounter such scraps of information.

I’m so used to this scratchpad on my desk that, while on the road, I often find myself taking a pen to write something down, only to realize that not every office I visit has my scratchpad.

So, for the last couple of weeks I,ve moved to a digital scratchpad. It’s a low-tech one that comes with every Mac: But I tweaked it a bit so it’s always visible, and without any visual noise (read: not yellow and written in marker felt)

  • I made the note a floating window so it's always visible (ALT-CMD-F)
  • I made the note translucent so it doesn't hide other content (ALT-CMD-T)
  • The note is grey, and in Helvetica
  • I removed the dock icon with a simple plist tweak.

The result is an always available scratchpad, that can be hidden with a double click on its titlebar.

Hiding the dock icon:

  • Create a backup of the original
  • Right click the app and pick Show Package Content
  • Open Info.plist with a texteditor
  • Add the following two lines (use the screenshot below for reference):