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Appearance CDEV 8

The Appearance control panel allowed users of Mac OS 8 to 9.2.2 (and the Classic environment) to make some modifications to the user interface of classic Mac OS. It was derived from user interface work on the cancelled Copland project.[1]

Mac OS 8.0 to 8.1[]

Appearance CDEV 8

Appearance options in Mac OS 8.1

The Mac OS 8.0 version of the control panel, which remained unchanged in Mac OS 8.1, provided the user only limited functionality, for example, choosing different color accents. It did not allow the user to choose different themes. Desktop pictures had to be managed in a separate control panel. Versions 1.0.2 and 1.0.3 of the Appearance Manager (which enable the control panel) are backwards compatible to System 7.1 to Mac OS 7.6.1.[2]


The top button, Color, controlled the accent color and the highlight color. User could choose from a variety of existing accent colors, and they could also choose an existing highlight color or create a color of their own choosing (if it was not available on the pop-up menu).


The bottom button, Options, allowed the user to enable or disable collapsing windows and its sounds. This, in essence, was the WindowShade control panel from System 7.5. There was also a checkbox from playing a sound when a window was collapsed.

Also included with Options was Appearances — this enabled the user to choose a default system font (Charcoal or Chicago (previously used in System 7 and earlier). Other font options, such as Espy Sans or Sand were not available by default, but could be installed through some "hacking". There was also an option to disable (after restarting) the System-wide platinum appearance. This allowed applications to be displayed in classic System 7-style windows, though the Finder itself would remain in the newer Platinum theme.

Mac OS 8.5 to 9.2.2[]

Appearance CDEV 9

The Themes tab from Mac OS 9.1

Appearance CDEV 9.2

Other option tabs in Mac OS 9.2.2

The Mac OS 8.5 version of the control panel, which persisted through Mac OS 9.2.2, integrated other control panels that were previously separate, such as the Desktop Pictures control panel. The new features were arranged into 6 tabs:

  • Themes — Basically a combination of colors and desktop pictures.
  • Appearance — Incorporated the Color option from the earlier 8.0/8.1 version. The Appearance pop-up menu allowed the user to switch to appearances or "skins" other than Platinum in beta versions of Mac OS 8.5, such as Hi-Tech or Gizmo. However, but Steve Jobs insisted on a more consistent user interface and had the other options removed from the Appearance folder in the System Folder. However, it is possible to add these appearance files back. Kaleidoscope was a third-party utility that allowed the implmentation of other "schemes" besides the appearances developed by Apple.[1]
  • Fonts — Adds several more font options, such as Capitals, Gadget, Sand, Techno, and Textile. A checkbox offered the first implementation of text anti-aliasing by Mac OS.
  • Desktop — Formerly a separate Desktop Pictures control panel.
  • Sound — Allows the addition of audio effects to user interface actions.
  • Options — Includes the pre-existing collapsible window option, along with a new "Smart Scrolling" option in which the scrollbar handle proportionately scales to visually represent the ratio of the entire document that is being viewed.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Copland by BG, The Long View. 2011-02-26.
  2. Appearance Manager Versions, Apple Computer. 1999-04-29. (mirrored).

External links[]