Just open a blank document

When I start an app like Word by typing its name into Alfred, I almost never want to do anything other than open a new, blank document. Instead, by default, tons of apps show a “New Document” dialog, offering to help me by creating a generic looking flyer, brochure or todo list.

Here’s how to go back to just the blank paper, spreadsheet, or whatever, at least for the apps I find myself requiring it:

  • Office:
    • Word: PreferencesGeneralShow Word Document Gallery when opening Word.
    • Excel: PreferencesGeneralOpen Workbook Gallery when opening Excel.
    • Powerpoint: PreferencesGeneralShow the Start screen when this application starts.
  • iWork: from Preferences you need to choose a default template to skip the template gallery for every new document. Skipping the open dialog box at startup requires some defaults work, see below.
  • OmniGraffle: the key I missed here is that this is a two-step process. Go to PreferencesGeneral, then: (1) select Create a new document if nothing else is open, and (2) select a template for the new document, I chose Auto-Resizing.

The Apple Stackexchange has the answer for turning off the open dialog box at start up that many apps on the Mac show; iWork, Text Edit and Calca are the ones where I see it most. From the command line:

defaults write -g NSShowAppCentricOpenPanelInsteadOfUntitledFile -bool false

If you want to show the dialog again:

defaults write -g NSShowAppCentricOpenPanelInsteadOfUntitledFile -bool true

If nothing else, writing this note prompted me to figure out whether you can disable that stupid dialog. Given it took all of 30 seconds to find, I’m rather saddened at the immense amount of time and bother that I have cost myself by not looking previously.