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How to display custom text on macOS desktop

A note on the desktop is a good way to remind you about something important, or to have important information readily available. Sticky notes are often the go-to tool used to add important information to the desktop but they don’t always do the job. Information can still get lost in a pinned note. Here’s how you can easily display custom text on the macOS desktop.

Need to display custom text on the desktop on Windows 10? We’ve covered how you can do that with a Rainmeter skin.

Custom text on macOS desktop

In order to show custom text on the macOS desktop, we’re going to use a tool called GeekTool. If you’ve ever used a Windows system, or have heard of Rainmeter, this app is the Mac equivalent of it.

The text is going to be sourced from a simple TXT file. This allows you to change the text easily whenever you want. Go ahead and create the text file, and enter the text that you want to display.

Install GeekTool and open it.

Drag the Shell item out and drop it on to your desktop. You will see a placeholder frame which will determine where the text will appear. You can move it around now, or later, it’s up to you.

You will also see a Properties window. The window has a ‘Command’ field.

In the Command field, enter the following command;

cat path-to-text-file

The placeholder frame will show you the text in the file. You may not like how it looks in which case, use the Properties window to change the background color the text is displayed on. To change the font and color of the text, click the ‘Click here to set font & color…’ button. You can select any color, and any font that’s installed on your Mac.

Once you’ve set the font and color, return to the GeekTool window and close it. Make sure you do not quit it. The app needs to continue running in order to display text.

Once you close the app’s window, the Properties window will disappear. You can’t edit the text’s appearance nor its position on your screen at this point. If you change the text in the file, you will have to open GeekTool again and the text will update when it does. Likewise, to move the text, you will have to open GeekTool and then drag the frame around the text to move it.

GeekTool is a pretty powerful tool so explore some of its other options and the many Geeklets that are available for it.

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