Mac Tips: Using Spaces on OSX 10

One of the features I like and use most on OSX 10 is Spaces.

Spaces allows you to group different apps and windows into several ‘virtual desktops‘ which means you can have a less cluttered work-flow and focus on one or two tasks/apps at a time.

However, as this feature is a new way of working it takes a little getting used to. This was true for me when I first started to use it: however I now find it indispensable and have developed a simple but effective work-flow for my day-t0-day tasks.

For example, my typical setup is:Desktop 1 – Browser Windows +any Instant Messaging apps I am using.

Desktop 2 – Main Application I am using (i.e. Microsoft Word) and a finder window.

Desktop 3 – Music & Media apps. (i.e. iTunes, VLC Player).

Desktop 4 – Mail/Calendar/Tasks/Notes.

To move between different spaces.
Click and hold down CTRL.
At the same time, press the left or right arrow keys to move between spaces.

To move apps between different spaces:
Click and hold on the application window while holding down CTRL.
At the same time, press the left or right arrow keys to move the app between spaces.

I find this a great way of dealing with multiple apps that I use productively by grouping them by the type of task I use them for (i.e. for Work or for Leisure). It allows me to focus on one task at a time by limiting the amount I need to change applications, windows or move the around the screen.

Once you have developed a workflow you are comfortable with, OSX will let you automate this process slightly so that your apps load up in that ‘space’ everytime. To set this up, you need to do it individually for each app:
Right click(or Ctrl+ Click) the app icon in the dock.
Select ‘Options’.
Click ‘Assign to – This Desktop’

However, to get the full benefit of using Spaces for productivity, you need to add a second monitor to your set-up. In a follow-up article I will give some tips about how to use a second monitor with OSX and how you can add a second monitor cheaply and easily.

I hope you will find this useful in creating your own workflow, increasing your productivity and getting the most out of OSX 10. Let me know how you get on!

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