I disable animations on all my computers (even the Mac) and people wonder why. It’s very simple: I find them annoying. I use the keyboard more often than I use my mouse, and keyboard navigation is significantly faster than mouse navigation for many, if not most, applications. I know what I’m doing, and I don’t need an animation to tell me that a window has opened or minimized to the Taskbar. Animations take to perform, and that time is a delay in action. Although windows are actionable when the animations start, at least in Windows, there are times when I would see the window fade in and out and barely catch a glimpse of the window content because my commands given through the keyboard were done faster than the animations.
Not only does it look faster, it feels faster. Without the animation making you think that you have to wait for it to finish before you can do anything, you can instantly do what it is that you want to do. The time that an animation takes to run seems insignificant, but it all adds up.
So, how does one disable animations?
You can disable the animations in Windows through the Performance Options dialog (search for “Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows” in the Start Menu).
Uncheck anything that has to do with animations. I usually keep “Animate controls and elements inside windows” and sometimes “Smooth-scroll list boxes” enabled.
Mac OS X
As heavily as OS X uses animations, it is possible to disable them, even if it is quite hidden. Open a Terminal window and execute these commands:
# opening and closing windows and popovers defaults write -g NSAutomaticWindowAnimationsEnabled -bool false # smooth scrolling defaults write -g NSScrollAnimationEnabled -bool false # showing and hiding sheets, resizing preference windows, zooming windows # float 0 doesn't work defaults write -g NSWindowResizeTime -float 0.001 # opening and closing Quick Look windows defaults write -g QLPanelAnimationDuration -float 0 # rubberband scrolling (doesn't affect web views) defaults write -g NSScrollViewRubberbanding -bool false # resizing windows before and after showing the version browser # also disabled by NSWindowResizeTime -float 0.001 defaults write -g NSDocumentRevisionsWindowTransformAnimation -bool false # showing a toolbar or menu bar in full screen defaults write -g NSToolbarFullScreenAnimationDuration -float 0 # scrolling column views defaults write -g NSBrowserColumnAnimationSpeedMultiplier -float 0 # showing the Dock defaults write com.apple.dock autohide-time-modifier -float 0 defaults write com.apple.dock autohide-delay -float 0 # showing and hiding Mission Control, command+numbers defaults write com.apple.dock expose-animation-duration -float 0 # showing and hiding Launchpad defaults write com.apple.dock springboard-show-duration -float 0 defaults write com.apple.dock springboard-hide-duration -float 0 # changing pages in Launchpad defaults write com.apple.dock springboard-page-duration -float 0 # at least AnimateInfoPanes defaults write com.apple.finder DisableAllAnimations -bool true # sending messages and opening windows for replies defaults write com.apple.Mail DisableSendAnimations -bool true defaults write com.apple.Mail DisableReplyAnimations -bool true
Alternatively, if you prefer a GUI, you can use TinkerTool (which I highly recommend) to disable the animations.
This is where it gets tricky, since Linux setups are all different. My best suggestion is to do a search online for your distribution, and if you have Compiz, disable it.
After doing that, you may notice that things appear abruptly because there are no animations, but you’ll find that you become more responsive. Functionality over eye candy, I say.