Fluid Crib Sheets for Cheaters

January 02, 2014 by Gabe | [mmd] |

How's that for an anti-SEO title?

Are you using Brett Terpstra's Cheaters? You probably should be. It's pretty and very functional. However I've always been annoyed by the Automator web view. It's cool that it has support for fixed dimensions and user agents but in order to dismiss it you need to click on the window to activate it first. I assume that's because it is a HUD and not a normal window.

To solve this, I've moved all of my crib sheets over to Fluid.app.1 This allows me to use remote or local files just like Automator but they are real apps that respond to ⌘-Tab and window switchers. They can be closed with ⌘-Q or hidden with ⌘-H, just like a window should.

Using my own hosted HTML files I can configure Fluid to behave like Cheaters.

Create the new fluid app with the URL (this can be a local file URL too) and choose an icon. You can use an application for the icon if you like. I also store all of my Fluid apps in a subfolder of Applications so that I remember they are Fluid apps.

Setup a Fluid App

I name these apps with the word "Crib" so it's easy to get a listing in Alfred. It's not a common word in my environment, which helps keep the result list short.2

Cribs from Alfred

Next, I tweak the experience.

I jump into the Preferences for the new app and choose Appearance. This is where the window behavior is set to Floating.

Window Appearance

I then switch to the Behavior preferences and make the window appear in all spaces. Otherwise it acts like a normal application and sticks to one space. That's not what I want for popup floating windows.

Spaces Behavior

I can also set a global hotkey to open the Fluid app by going into the General preferences. That's pretty cool but Alfred works well for me.

Fluid apps can be configured to use a specific User Agent but I see no reason for anything other than the default for this use case. By default a Fluid app will remember the window size and position. I just shrink the window to the appropriate size the first time I use the app and then it stays that way.

User Agents

If you want to get really high class, you can even configure your own User Styles to change how the Cribs look without changing the source file.

And here's a trick that Automator can't do: Create a menu bar applet with a crib sheet.

Choose the Pin to Status Bar option to convert from a standard application with a floating window to something more like a menu bar application.

Pin to Status Bar

This results in a very simple applet that sits right up on top of the screen. The downside is that it no longer behaves like a standard application. I prefer to be able to stay on the keyboard than mousing up to the menubar to activate it.

Menu Bar Expanded

Fluid.app is underrated. For $5 it solves a lot of problems.


  1. I'm calling my variant "Crib Sheets" to distinguish them from Brett's much more attractive "Cheaters". His name is better. 

  2. apparently I researched infant bedding 6 years ago. I really need to clean that out of Evernote.