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Stay focused with ADD Helper

Another great plugin from the extra plugins package for CompizADD Helper lets you focus on a single window by fading out the rest.

I prefer plugins like this one to fullscreen editors for several reasons. First, when you use a fullscreen editor, you essentially have to learn an entirely different program. There are several editors I’ve been using for a while now – OpenOffice Writer, for example – and having to learn a new set of features and shortcuts doesn’t appeal to me. ADD Helper works with the programs I’ve got now, so there’s nothing that I have to adjust to.

For another thing, editing with a “distraction-free” program blots out the rest of your screen entirely, putting your writing front and center. I’m not always comfortable with this, and losing most of my navigation options strikes me as unnecessary. ADD Helper fades out only what is bound to distract you the most – the contents of other windows – and to a varying degree; if you’d like to see what else is going on while maintaining focus on what you’re writing, you can adjust ADD Helper to a level of concealment you’re comfortable with.

And finally, ADD Helper is flexible. Whether I’m jotting down ideas in Zim or writing up a post in Chrome, ADD Helper is there with a press of Super+P.

I have to admit it works particularly well with Linux Mint 10’s default gray wallpaper – I’m not sure if I’d find it as useful against a more colorful one. I suppose I’ll find out sooner or later!

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