There have been many times when I’ve wanted to keep a single Dashboard Widget active while working in TextEdit or Dreamweaver or while browsing the web. However, Dashboard is set by default to launch all Widgets at once and then immediately hide all Widgets when you go back to working in a non-Dashboard application.
I’ve discovered that it’s actually very easy to keep a single Widget active while all the other Widgets hide away. To do this, press F12 (or whatever key you’ve defined to launch Dashboard), then click on that little circle with a ”+” in it in the left bottom corner of the screen. Select the Widget you’d like to keep active, drag it out of the dock, and before letting go of it with the mouse (very important) push F12 (or other assigned Dashboard key) again.
The Widget will stay active and float above all other applications until you launch Dashboard again. I don’t know how to make the Widget stop floating above all other applications. Also, I don’t know how to keep the Widget out after pushing F12 again, without repeating the steps above. However, this method works great for quickly and simply keeping a single Widget active.
There is also a great application called Amnesty Widget Browser that provides greater control over Widgets, including making Dashboard Widgets run as standalone applications. One of its best features is that it allows you to embed Widgets directly into your desktop, almost like an active desktop picture. This is very cool.
Download a trial and see it in action here: