Tutorial Thursday

When on a Windows computer one of the things I always did was make the Taskbar twice the normal height. The reason I did that was because it would then show the date in addition to the time, which is something I use quite regularly. Sure I could have hovered my mouse over the time to see the same information, but that often took more time than was necessary.

So naturally when I got my Mac I was surprised to see that I couldn’t do something similar with the Menubar. There is a checkbox in the time configuration options so that you can add/remove the day of the week, but there’s no setting to add the current date. Being the geek that I am I begun a quest for someway that I could get this, and as it turns out there’s a rather simple solution. The best part is that it requires no additional software! Here’s what my end result looks like:

mac menubar clock.png

Notice how the Menubar shows the date without needing to be clicked? Cool, huh? Here’s how you can add the date to the Mac Menubar clock:

  1. Go to System Preferences -> International -> Formats, and click the Customize button listed in the Dates section.
    mac international.png
  2. Now you’ll want to build the format of the date that you want shown next to the time. To change between the different different date formats use the arrow located next to each element, or drag and drop elements from the lower section to add more of them:
    date builder.png
  3. Now you need to copy and paste the elements by highlighting everything in the contents of the box, and then pressing Command+C to copy it. Once you have the elements copied press CANCEL:
    copy date format.png
  4. Now click the Customize button located next to the Times section in the International settings. Make sure you switch the Show option to Medium, and then paste in the formatting where you would like it to appear. Remember, you can add spaces, punctuation (hypens, slashes, semicolons, brackets, etc…) by simply typing them in where the should appear. After you are done formatting press OK.
    custom date time mac menubar.png
  5. You should now see the date in the Menubar located alongside the time (no restart is required). If you don’t, you may need to change the Show option in Step 4 to Long and paste in the formatting elements from Step 3 again. One of those two styles should work for you. When all is said and done you should see something like this:
    mac menubar clock.png
  6. Note: By changing the time format you might noticed that the day of the week is automatically shown in the Menubar. If you don’t want this just go to System Preferences -> Date & Time -> Clock, and uncheck the Show the day of the week option.

I do want to point out that there could be some adverse affects from manipulating the Menubar clock in this fashion, such as an application showing the date and time where it would only show the time before. That will only happen, however, if the application uses the Medium time format that you altered in Step 4. I’ve found that most programs, such as iChat, use the Short format when doing things like timestamps though so they really aren’t affected.

This might not be as simple as checking a box, but I was actually surprised that I didn’t have to go diving into a system file to adjust the setting. It’s not optimal, but it definitely works. This is a must-have tweak in my book!