If you're anything like us, you probably have multiple applications and windows open while you're working. While having everything at your fingertips is convenient, it can also be really distracting when you're trying to concentrate. Shroud for Mac is a basic program that creates a solid backdrop behind your active window, eliminating the visual clutter of everything else you have open. Shroud is a great choice if you want or need to keep lots of things open but also tend to have trouble focusing on the task at hand.
It never occurred to us that Shroud was something that we might need, but using it proved surprisingly calming. The default color for Shroud is a dark gray, but users can change it to whatever custom color they desire. Enabling Shroud is as easy as selecting it from the dock and then choosing whatever application you want to focus on; Shroud will supply a blank, solid background behind it. Users can also create keyboard shortcuts to activate Shroud, and it can be set to appear behind the frontmost window or the frontmost application. We liked that, by default, Shroud hides the menu bar. If you find that you keep checking the clock, this is a great way to break yourself of this habit and focus on your work. Mousing over the menu bar will reveal it, though, and this feature can also be disabled if it's not for you. Shroud for Mac is easy to use, but it also comes with a comprehensive Help file.
Shroud for Mac installs and uninstalls without issues. Overall, we were surprised by how much we liked Shroud for Mac, and we recommend it to anyone who could use a little help focusing.
From Nicholas Riley:
Shroud places a solid-color backdrop behind windows or applications on your Mac to allow you to focus. Unlike some similar applications, the backdrop doesn't activate when you click on it, messing up your carefully arranged workspace. Shroud also (optionally) obscures your menu bar until you move the mouse over it.
- Note: This version requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later, including OS X Lion (10.7) and Mountain Lion (10.8). Shroud 1.1.2 is the last version to support Mac OS X 10.5.
- Hide or show Shroud's backdrop with a keyboard shortcut.
- Focus on the frontmost window in OS X 10.8.
- Eliminate flashing when focusing on the frontmost window or application (not entirely in Mac OS X 10.6, however).
- Try to ensure Shroud's Preferences appears in front of the backdrop in more cases.
- Fix an issue where the "Cover menu bar" checkbox in Shroud's Preferences did not match reality when Shroud was first run.
- Fix Shroud becoming visible if it was hidden when you exit from full-screen mode if you had "Cover menu bar" checked.
- Update crash reporter (the service I was using to receive crash reports is no longer operating).
- Sign with Developer ID for Gatekeeper on OS X Mountain Lion (10.8).