Ricing MacOS

November 1, 2023


Recently a screenshot of my MacOS rice blew up on X (formerly Twitter), eventually becoming my most liked post of all time.

My MacOS rice

I've been asked a lot about my setup, so I decided to write a blog post about it.

Window Manager

There's only one decent tiling window manager for MacOS, and that's yabai. It allows you to control your windows and spaces by using a CLI, for which you can set hotkeys using skhd. yabai is a tiling window manager, which means it automatically arranges and resizes your open application windows in a non-overlapping manner. It allows you to move and manipulate windows in various ways, including moving windows to different spaces and changing the layout of spaces along with a whole lot of other features.

It's probably not as good as some of the amazing window managers available for Linux such as bspwm or hyprland but it works and I haven't had any problems with it so far.

To install yabai, go through the yabai wiki.

Here's my yabai config:

# ~/.config/yabai/yabairc

# bsp, stack or float
yabai -m config layout bsp

yabai -m config window_placement second_child

# padding
yabai -m config window_gap 12
yabai -m config top_padding 4
yabai -m config bottom_padding 4
yabai -m config right_padding 4
yabai -m config left_padding 4

# mouse settings
yabai -m config mouse_follows_focus on
yabai -m config mouse_modifier alt
# left click and drag
yabai -m config mouse_action1 move
# right click and drag
yabai -m config mouse_action2 resize
yabai -m config mouse_drop_action swap

# disable yabai for these apps
yabai -m rule --add app="^Discord$" manage=off

Hotkey Daemon

yabai is usally paired with skhd which is an excellent hotkey daemon for MacOS. It utilizes a very simple DSL to define hotkeys. Using skhd, you can setup hotkeys for quickly executing yabai commands.

To install skhd follow this guide.

Here's my skhd config:

# ~/.config/skhd/skhdrc

# start and stop
ctrl + alt - q: yabai --stop-service
ctrl + alt - s: yabai --start-service

# changing window focus
alt - s: yabai -m window --focus south
alt - w: yabai -m window --focus north
alt - a: yabai -m window --focus west
alt - d: yabai -m window --focus east

# rotate layout clockwise
shift + alt - c: yabai -m space --rotate 270

# rotate layout anti-clockwise
shift + alt - a: yabai -m space --rotate 270

# flip alone x-axis
shift + alt - x: yabai -m space -- mirror x-axis

# flip along y-axis
shift + alt - y: yabai -m space --mirror y-axis

# toggle window float
shift + alt - t: yabai -m window --toggle float --grid 4:4:1:1:2:2

# maximize a window
shift + alt - m: yabai -m window --toggle zoom-fullscreen

# reset window size
shift + alt - e: yabai -m space --balance

# swap windows
shift + alt - h: yabai -m window --swap west
shift + alt - j: yabai -m window --swap south
shift + alt - k: yabai -m window --swap north
shift + alt - l: yabai -m window --swap east

# move window and split
ctrl + alt - h: yabai -m window --warp west
ctrl + alt - j: yabai -m window --warp south
ctrl + alt - k: yabai -m window --warp north
ctrl + alt - l: yabai -m window --warp east

I typically use vim keybindings for most things, but here I make one execption when it comes to changing window focus. I find it more convenient to use the wasd keys for this purpose because they're closer to the left option key.

Terminal Emulator

I use Alacritty as my terminal. It's super fast and customizable. I have written about it in my previous blog posts as well. Since then my configuration has udpated and now I have a pretty minimal yet aesthetic config.

# ~/.config/alacritty/alacritty.yml

  TERM: xterm-256color

  size: 14
    family: "Dank Mono"
    style: Regular
    style: Bold
    style: Italic
    style: Bold Italic

  option_as_alt: Both
  # Window padding (changes require restart)
  # Blank space added around the window in pixels. This padding is not scaled by
  # DPI and the specified value is always added at both opposing sides.
    x: 12
    y: 12

  # Spread additional padding evenly around the terminal content.
  dynamic_padding: false

  # Window decorations
  decorations: buttonless
  # Startup Mode (changes require restart)
  # Values for `startup_mode`:
  #   - Windowed
  #   - Maximized
  #   - Fullscreen
  # Values for `startup_mode` (macOS only):
  #   - SimpleFullscreen
  startup_mode: Windowed

  # Background opacity
  opacity: 1

# Colors (Mellow)
  # Default colors
    background: "#161617"
    foreground: "#c9c7cd"

  # Cursor colors
    text: "#c9c7cd"
    cursor: "#757581"

  # Normal colors
    black: "#27272a"
    red: "#f5a191"
    green: "#90b99f"
    yellow: "#e6b99d"
    blue: "#aca1cf"
    magenta: "#e29eca"
    cyan: "#ea83a5"
    white: "#c1c0d4"

  # Bright colors
    black: "#353539"
    red: "#ffae9f"
    green: "#9dc6ac"
    yellow: "#f0c5a9"
    blue: "#b9aeda"
    magenta: "#ecaad6"
    cyan: "#f591b2"
    white: "#cac9dd"


Dont't worry, I still primarily use VSCode for anything serious, but I did create a new Neovim configuration from scratch which I don't plan on updating frequently. I kept it quite minimal and used very few plugins. Here's Neovim and VSCode side by side.

Neovim on the left and VSCode on the right


This isn't a blog post I necessarily wanted to write but I kind of had to because the X post blew up. Hopefully it serves you as a good reference for configuring your Mac.