As most Mac users know, last week was the annual Macworld Conference and Expo in San Francisco. It was a fun week that gave all of us here at Macworld a chance to meet and talk with Mac users in the flesh. Over the course of the week I also presented—with my friend and colleague Ted Landau —three different Expo sessions on Mac OS X. (One of those sessions, “ Mac Gems,” was based on this column. You can find a list of the cool tools for OS X that we covered in the session here.)
I bring these presentations up because it was during them that I grew to appreciate today’s Mac Gem, the free Mouseposé ( ). Since the purpose of a presentation is to show or demonstrate something, effective visual aids are important. When you’re demonstrating software—in a classroom, a training course, or, in this case, a Macworld Expo conference session—you want your audience to be able to follow exactly what you’re doing. Mouseposé does this by spotlighting the mouse cursor onscreen when you press a hotkey. For example, if you’re showing your audience where to click in a dialog, Mouseposé will darken the screen except for a small circle around the cursor, making it obvious what you’re attempting to demonstrate:
We realized the value of Mouseposé the first time we enabled it and heard a few “oohs” and “aahs” from audience members. Several attendees to our sessions approached us afterwards and commented that it was an effective part of our presentations. But Mouseposé isn’t just for presentations; it’s also useful when taking screenshots (for books, magazine articles, etc.) and when making training videos.
Although Mouseposé’s functionality is simple, it provides a few ways to customize its behavior. By default, you activate Mouseposé by pressing the F1 key; however, you can change this to any F-key; you can also decide how long Mouseposé’s effect lasts—for a specified amount of time or until you press the hotkey again. You can customize its visual appearance by changing the size of the “spotlight” circle and the opacity of the rest of the screen, and you can choose the color of this opaque layer.
If you give presentations or demonstrations, give Mouseposé a try. Your audience will appreciate it.