source code

For Transloader’s upcoming version 3.0, I needed an NSMenuItem that not only showed a title, but also a subtitle, along with an optional image.

Because it took a bit of work and “reverse-engineering” (the click-on-an-item-selection-animation’s timing, in particular), I figured someone else might benefit from this.

Where to get it / Sample Project

It’s all pretty straight forward, and best shown / explained as an Xcode project, which you can download on Github.
This is basically all you need to do:

Screenshot the sample project's source code

That’s it!


There are some things this implementation can not do, which the default NSMenuItem can:

  • There is no type select
  • The arrow keys can’t be used to go through the items
  • You can’t activate items with the space or enter keys

Basically, keyboard interaction is unavailable.

I do hope it’s useful to you anyways.
If you’re using this, I’d love to hear from you! 😊

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Since I’ve had to go re-watch WWDC20’s “Adopt the New Look of macOS” session (at around the 07:03 mark), I thought I’d note it down here – for anyone else late to the update-for-macOS-Big-Sur-game 😉

What we want to achieve is go from this UI (basically standard on any macOS before Big Sur):

Screenshot of Yoink's preferences on macOS Catalina and earlier

to this UI (new UI for Preferences windows on macOS Big Sur):

Screenshot of Yoink's Preferences on macOS Big Sur

And it’s fairly easy to do so. All you need to call is (pardon the Objective-C, Yoink for Mac (and iPad and iPhone, for that matter), is still 100% Swift-free..)

self.window.toolbarStyle = NSWindowToolbarStylePreference;

and update your toolbar items’ icons, and you’re all set.

Screenshot of Xcode  24 09 2020 08 48 22



– Matthias
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When copying files in Finder, you might have noticed that the newly created, still-being-written-to files are ‘grayed out’, conveniently informing the user that the file is not ready yet.

Greyed out files in Finder

I wanted to replicate that for an upcoming upgrade of Transloader (along with a progress indicator, as you can see in the screenshot above, but that’s another topic), and after trying a couple of things, I found out how to do it.

I tested this on macOS High Sierra only, since it’s the OS version I’m targeting right now, but I don’t see a reason why it wouldn’t work on earlier versions of macOS.

It’s All in the Date

After digging around on the internet, I found that all that needs to be done is to change the file’s creation- and modification dates to one specific date, namely:
January 24th, 1984, 09:00:00 AM

Setting the creation and modification dates of the file to be greyed out

And it works great – the created file appears ‘grayed out’ in Finder.

There’s a downside, however:
When copying a file in Finder, and trying to move that still-being-written-to file, Finder will display a convenient message that tells the user the file is in use and moving it might cause problems.
This doesn’t happen when using this date-setting approach.

So I kept digging.

The Solution

What I did, then, was use Terminal and the ‘mdls’ command to list the meta data of the still-being-written-to file:

mdls in Terminal on a copying file

At first, coming from the date-approach, I noticed the kMDItemFSCreationDate item, stating
1904-01-01 00:00:00 +0000

However, setting that as the creation date does nothing at all.

Then, I noticed the kMDItemFSCreatorCode and kMDItemFSTypeCode fields (red arrows in the screenshot of Terminal above).

Setting those like this…

Setting creator and type codes in Objective-C

…does exactly what I wanted – it ‘grays out’ the file in Finder, and displays the convenient Finder error message when trying to move it:

Finder error message when trying to move a still being written to file

Mission accomplished – we’re done!

Please keep in mind, though, that the user may still choose “Continue” to move the file, so you should definitely use an NSFileCoordinator to take care of that.

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