Minimalist: A clean and intuitive touchbar preset

touch-bar
window-snapping

#1

I just bought my 2018 MacBook Pro a few weeks ago and came across BetterTouchTool. I downloaded vas3k and GoldenChaos presets – and both were amazing. However, I found that many of the included features require you to use other apps like Fantastical 2, Things 3, etc. As I do not use those apps, I incorporated some of the elements in those presets to stock apps that I use. Also, I found the Touchbar to become quite messy and cluttered as there were so many buttons and details on it.

Hence, taking vas3k and GoldenChaos presets as inspiration, I decided to clean up certain stuff not used by me and added some tweaks that were more suited for me to create a clean and intuitive Touchbar experience – showing only what I wanted to see and use.

This is my first attempt at customising the Touchbar, so do leave feedback for me if you happen to use it! My goal is to make it clean and minimal, adding only features I believe most people will actually use.


Settings I use for this preset in BTT is shown above.

There are two presets to choose from: Minimalist and Minimalist Plus


MINIMALIST

Default Setup (Main)

  • Always ready Finder and Notes for quick access
    – Long press Finder to open System Preferences

  • Play button to trigger Spotify


    – Tap the currently playing song to skip track
    – Long press currently playing song to open Spotify app

  • Now Playing for Spotify songs and YouTube videos


    – Tapping the now playing video will launch Chrome / Safari

  • Screenshot buttons (Selection & Screen)
    – Screenshots are copied to clipboard instead of the saving a file to the desktop (if you prefer saving it to Desktop, just change the keystroke shortcuts)

  • Brightness and volume widgets
    – Tap to change (no more swiping)
    – Long press Brightness Down to Sleep Screen
    – Long press Volume Down to Mute
    – Two finger swipe to adjust volume / Three finger swipe to adjust brightness

  • Coffee button to Sleep Computer

  • Time in 12h format always docked to the right
    – Press to view standard Apple Touchbar (super useful if you want to use Apple's app specific Touchbar like Photoshop)
    – Long press to open Calendar app

Holding control

  • Access more features such as Force Quit, Lock Screen, AirDrop, and even view time remaining on your battery

Holding option

  • Access Windows snapping, adjust keyboard backlight, and toggle True Tone (only for 2018 MBPs)

Holding command

  • Access App Switcher and Downloads folder

ADDITIONAL FEATURES ON MINIMALIST PLUS

/ Finder /

Holding command

  • Access App Switcher, view hidden files, Move button and a Permanent Delete button

/ Excel /

  • Quick access to some keys I use frequently like F2, F4, Filter, and other formatting keys
  • Paste as Values configured into a one touch button
  • Hold Shift to reveal the global touchbar

/ VLC /

  • Quick access Fullscreen, Step Backward/Forward buttons, and open playlist
    (You might have to edit the shortcut of VLC’s Step Backward and Step Forward to ⌥← and ⌥→)
  • Hold Shift to reveal the global touchbar

TLDR list of features

  • Always ready Finder and Notes
  • Hold down Finder to open System Preferences
  • One tap play for Spotify, one tap skip track on Spotify
  • Now playing widget available for both Spotify and iTunes
  • Quick access screenshot tools
  • One tap brightness and volume control
  • Hold down Brightness Down to sleep screen
  • Hold down Volume Down button to mute
  • Quick access sleep computer button
  • One tap Time widget to hide and show BTT toggles
  • Hold down Time widget to open Calendar app
  • Two finger slide on the Touchbar to change volume
  • Three finger slide on the Touchbar to change brightness
  • Hold Control/Option/Command for more functions such as Force Quit, Lock Screen, Windows Snapping, view battery life, App Switcher
  • Added specific Touch Bar keys for certain apps like Finder, Excel and VLC
  • True Tone toggle

Hope you guys like this preset! Do let me know if you have any feedbacks.


Download preset: (requires BTT 2.605)
Minimalist
Minimalist Plus

  • Minimalist Plus brings additional functionality for Excel, Word and VLC
  • Use Minimalist if you do not require these additional functions

What's new in v2.2

  • True Tone toggle now changes color if activated/de-activated
  • Added a shortcut to 'Downloads'
  • Added Do Not Disturb toggle
  • Added AirDrop quick launch
  • Added Spark mail client Unread Mail script (thanks GoldenChaos)
  • Added 4-finger gestures for keyboard backlight
  • Changed the aesthetics of some buttons and a divider before Time
  • Holding shift in app-specific setups will reveal the global touchbar

Note: I am experiencing some weird glitches with the Now Playing script for Safari. You might see "YouTube" instead of the title of video on the Touchbar. This is because the title of the video is not shown on the tab header (this is why the script just returns "YouTube"). However, I noticed that doing a refresh of the webpage will actually bring back the title of the video on the tab header, causing the title of the video to show up on the Touchbar.

If you guys like this Minimalist preset, you can say thanks at: https://www.paypal.me/taimingk

Thanks,
TM


GoldenChaos-BTT: A complete Touch Bar UI replacement preset
VLC & Discord: Simple, integrates with the default Apple preset.
VLC & Discord: Simple, integrates with the default Apple preset.
#2

Hey man,

This is GREAT! Thanks so much!

3 Problems:

How do I get the youtube now playing to work with safari? I tried changing to "Safari" .. doesn't work.

The automatic 'Finder' controls don't appear for me when I open Finder.

Can I make the new mail notifications work with the email app: "Spark" ?

Thanks man!


#4

Hey JTL!

Based on your feedback, I've added Safari functionality for YouTube now playing and Finder controls in Version 1.1. With regards to your last request, I do not use Spark so I am unable to help on that.

I realised that having the Finder specfic Touchbar settings is actually quite redundant now that the Time widget works as a BTT toggle. So if you want to use the Finder specific touchbar, tapping on the Time Widget will actually bring back the stock Apple Finder touchbar. Quite nifty. Hence, in Version 1.2, I've removed the Finder specific settings.

Cheers!


#5

REALLY, REALLY, AMAZING!

Thanks so much man! Love it! Do you accept donations?


#6

1.2 not loading for me.


#8

Yes I do haha, you're too kind! Which part of v1.2 is not loading for you?


#9

All working!

Any way to make the FN button perform the same as the 'tap clock' touch bar effect? ie. Bring up stock app specific finder bar.


#10

I'm afraid the BTT app does not provide a FN key modifier so that can't be done.


#11

How much energy is your BTT using in activity monitor?

I'm trying to think which part is causing it to use so much (currently sitting at around ~12)


#12

Usually that's caused by script widgets with small repeat rate values.


#13

Try changing repeat rate values for the scripts of Spotify and play pause button to 1 second. It helped to reduce the energy usage but a lot.

Sorry should have updated it in v1.2!


#14

Hey JTL!

Updated the preset with v1.3, check it out! Hope it solves your energy issues :slight_smile:


#15

Thanks dude.

Happy with it so far, send me a link to donate when you can.

Some feedback:

The Window Left and Window Right placement is the wrong way around. Easy fix.

The Youtube Now playing functionality doesn't work all the time... any ideas?


#16

Nice work here, if you have a stable enough version let me know, I'll then go through it and mark it as developer verified on the share site!


#17

Hey JTL,

Dropped you a PM with a link, thanks a lot really appreciate it!

I fixed the window snapping icons thanks for pointing that out!
With regards to the YouTube Now Playing script for Safari, I am also experiencing it. In the past there wasn't this problem so I'm not sure what is the main cause for this. What is believe is happening is that you might see "YouTube" instead of the title of video on the Touchbar. This is because Safari doesn't show the title of the video on the tab header (this is why the script just returns "YouTube"). I tried many things such as changing the text encoding of Safari, disabling ad blocker plugins and they all seem to work temporarily. Ultimately, I realised that just doing a refresh of the webpage will actually bring back the title of the video on the tab header, causing the title of the video to show up on the Touchbar. I know this isn't a solid fix but I am really scratching my head at this one.

Once again, here's the updated Version 1.4!

Cheers!


#19

Hello!

Still enjoying.

A couple of things:

  1. Would it be possible when holding the command key to swap out the app switcher icons to a selection of emojis that I use frequently? (I know, I know... embarrassing!)

  2. When I hold command in a finder window what is the green icon with the folder and the downward arrow in between trash and show hidden files.. what does that do?

Thanks!


#20

Hey JTL!

Regarding your queries:

  1. Do you mean something like this:


    So no to 'app switcher', yes to 'emoji bar'?

  2. The green icon with the folder represents "move" (ie. option + cmd + v). I included that button so that I could move files more conveniently with my right hand. So after you copy, you can press the green folder button to move the copied file (ie. cut and paste).

Cheers!


#21
  1. Exactly!
  2. Thanks, I get it now!

#22

I'll be rolling out Version 1.5 soon after the new updates on BTT soon. Will include the emoji bar that you request!


#23

Hey JTL,

I've updated the preset. Added Spark mail client feature (activate it in the preset) and an emoji bar.


Check the box highlighted in blue to activate it. Then uncheck the App Switcher widget above to remove the app switcher.

Cheers!