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OS X Mountain Lion: Work in multiple spaces

Work in multiple spaces

When projects pile up and your desktop becomes cluttered, you can use Spaces to organize your windows into groups.

When you’re working in a space, your desktop contains only the windows for the work you’re doing in that space. For example, create one space for current projects, and create a second space for chatting with your friends. When you’re in the space for work, the entire desktop is available for the work-related documents. The Messages window is always available in the second space, but it’s not in the way of your work.

Add one or more spaces

  1. To zoom to Mission Control, swipe up using three or four fingers, press the Mission Control key, or press Control-Up Arrow.

    Mission Control keyboard key

  2. Move the pointer toward the upper-right corner of your screen. (If you keep your Dock on the right side of the screen, move the pointer toward the upper-left corner.)
  3. To add a space, click the Add button (+). You can add up to 16 spaces.
  4. To leave Mission Control, swipe again, or press the key you used to enter Mission Control.

Move from one space to another

Do one of the following:

  • Swipe left or right with three fingers to scroll through your spaces.
  • Zoom to Mission Control, and then click the space you want to use.
  • Press the Control key and the number key for the space you want. For example, press Control-3 to go to Desktop 3.
  • Press the Control key and an arrow key to scroll through the spaces.

Move a window from one space to another

Do one of the following:

  • Drag the window to the edge of your screen and pause; after a moment, the window is switched to the next space.
  • Move the pointer over the window, and hold down the mouse button while pressing the Control key and an arrow or number key.
  • From the space that has the window you want to move, zoom to Mission Control. Then drag the window itself (not the thumbnail image) up to the space you want to use.

Decide which spaces to use with particular apps

If you work in multiple spaces, you can assign apps to particular spaces.

  1. Press and hold an app’s icon in the Dock. You may have to first open the app from Launchpad to see its icon in the Dock.
  2. From the shortcut menu that appears over the icon, choose one of these:
    • To have the app open only in the current space, choose Options > This Desktop. From now on the app will open in the current space; if you are working in a different space, the app’s space scrolls into view.

      This setting doesn’t apply to full-screen windows, which always appear in their own separate spaces.

    • To have the app open in every space, choose Options > All Desktops. From now on, when the app is open it will appear in every space.

    • To have the app open in the whichever space you are currently using, choose Options > None.

In Mission Control preferences, you can specify that when you switch to an app, your desktop should scroll to a space with open windows for that app.

Delete a space

  1. Zoom to Mission Control.
  2. Move the pointer over the the space you want to delete. After a moment a delete button (x) appears on the space.
  3. Click the delete button (x) to remove the space.

    If the space contains windows, the windows are moved to another space.

Last Modified: Aug 8, 2013
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  • Last Modified: Aug 8, 2013
  • Article: PH11158
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