A few years back Apple introduced Spaces with OS X 10.5 (Leopard). These were, in essence, virtual desktops. Spaces allows you to create multiple desktops, so basically it’s like having multiple monitors, but without the monitors. Some people knock Apple for their OS and say that it is gimmicky etc. Personally, I really find Mac OS X a joy to work with and if you can incorporate innovations such as Spaces into your workflow then you will make your life a lot easier.
To set up Spaces, enter Mission Control by pressing the F3 key. It is also handy to assign a Hot Corner to Mission Control for fast access. You can do this by navigating to System Preferences > Mission Control and then Hot Corners.
Once you are in Mission Control, move your cursor to the upper-right corner, you will see a “+” button that allows you add a new Space. If you want to delete a Space, just hover your cursor over its thumbnail and click the X button. If you want to rearrange your Spaces, you drag a thumbnail to accomplish this.
It is also a good idea to assign a different desktop background for each space in order to easily keep track of what desktop is for what purpose.
When you want to switch between Spaces you don’t have to enter Mission Control every time. You just need to either swipe sideways on your trackpad with three or four fingers (again depending on how you set up gestures) or press the Control key and either sideways arrow key, or you can choose a Space by hitting Control and a number key, ie Control-1 to go to your first Space.
Spaces are really useful to use and before you know it you will be embedding Spaces into your workflow. If you want to move an application or window to a different Space, just enter Mission Control and then drag the window into the desired Space.
If you want to move an open window to an adjacent space, simply drag the window to the side of your display until your cursor is at the edge, you will now automatically slide over to the next space where you can drop the window.
You can even assign an application to always open in a specific space. This is accomplished using the Dock. Just right-click the application you want in the Dock and choose Options > This Desktop or All Desktops, or you can choose Options > None to have the application open only in the space you are currently using.
That’s it. Once you employ Spaces into your workflow you won’t look back.
[Image via applenapps]