One of the great features in Mac OS X Leopard Server is the Wiki component that allows anyone to quickly and painlessly create a community-driven knowledge base for their organization, the public, or for themselves. We decided to create a Small Dog wiki, accessible only from our private networks and by our employees, to help bring consistent training to all new employees. Our Employee Handbook, Operations Manual, and Training Manual are all hosted by the wiki system of Mac OS X Server.

In creating the technical training manual, I found myself wanting high resolution images of icons found throughout the system, but I was limited to sizing them at 128 pixels by 128 pixels. When I tried to enlarge them, they became pixellated or blurry. I solved the problem by modifying the maximum icon size allowed by the system: 512 pixels by 512 pixels.

To do it, open up Terminal (Macintosh HD/Applications/Utilities/Terminal and type

defaults write DesktopViewOptions -dict IconSize -integer 512

Press return.

Then, killall Finder

Press return.

After issuing the second command, you’ll notice that the desktop and all Finder windows will disappear and quickly reappear. Because icons appear in the Finder, modifications to preferences like this require the Finder to reboot. In my tip a few weeks ago (see the Tech Tails archives at which detailed some hidden Dock features, it was also necessary to have the Dock process restart for changes to take effect.

If you have a MacBook Air or one of the newest MacBook Pros, you can use the Multi Touch trackpad built into your machine – just “reverse pinch” with two fingers on the trackpad, and you’ll see the icons get bigger and bigger. To insert these icons into my documentation, I would use the built-in screenshot features of OS X, and just drag the artwork into Pages, where I composed the copy.

At this size, it’s easy to see that the folders on your desktop are made from post consumer material! The default hard drive icon has a label on it, legible only at this huge size, that reads “Internal Hard Disk: Handle the hard drive carefully to avoid damaging the circuit board. Make sure you are properly grounded.” Sound advice.


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