Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Become a Spaces Cadet!

Become a Spaces Cadet!

Spaces, one of the coolest new features of Mac OS X Leopard, lets you switch among multiple desktops. For example, you might create a communication workspace for Mail, iChat, and Address Book, another for media programs like iTunes and iPhoto, and a third for video games. Then, instead of hiding/showing programs or dragging them around onscreen, you’d simply switch desktops. If you’re the sort of user who tends to have many applications open at once, Spaces is a godsend.


In fact, Spaces and Expose share a control panel. To access it, select System Preferences from the Apple menu and choose Exposé & Spaces. Click the Spaces tab.


This is where you set the key commands for activating Spaces and switching between your desktops. You can also specify the number of desktops and how they’re arrayed in columns and rows. (If you check “Show Spaces in menu bar,” you can switch desktops using the menu bar icon as well as key commands.)


You also have the option of permanently assigning a program to a particular desktop. If, say, you always want iTunes to open in its own window, click the Add (+) button, navigate to the iTunes application, and click Add. Click-hold in the Spaces field to assign it to a desktop. Here, for example, whenever iTunes is opened, Space 4 will automatically be displayed.


Whenever you type your Spaces key commands, you’ll see a translucent overlay depicting the available desktops. Switch between them using the key commands you’ve assigned in the Preferences panel.

If you get confused about what’s assigned where, don’t panic — just press the Activate Spaces key command (the default assignment is F8). This opens a global view of all your desktops. Just click within any desktop to open it. You can also move items from one desktop to another simply by dragging them between windows.


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