Mission Control/Desktops

Do you ever feel like you have trouble fitting all your windows onto your Mac's screen? Or do you have so many windows overlapping that you can't keep track of them? Then you might be interested in OS X's Mission Control feature that lets you create multiple workspaces or desktops to organize your apps and windows.

To set it up, go into System Preferences (you can get there from the Apple logo menu in the top left corner of your screen) and then Mission Control along the top row. Here you'll find settings for Mission Control. JTec suggests unchecking "Automatically rearrange Spaces based on most recent use" and making sure that "When switching to an application, switch to a Space with open windows" is checked. This will ensure that if you click an app icon in your dock, the screen will switch to the correct Desktop. The last setting in that screen which may be of use to some (and may annoy many others) is the Hot Corners option. There you can set each corner of your screen to perform a certain action. We find that setting the top left corner to Mission Control very useful when switching between desktops.

Ok, so you've got the settings correct, now how do you use it? Open Mission control with either a hot corner, if you set one, or the Mission Control icon in the dock, or you can open Spotlight and type in Mission Control, or if you've got a multi-touch trackpad (most of you do) then you can swipe upward with four fingers. From here you'll see all the windows on your current desktop tiled for easy finding and a list of your separate Desktops along the top of the screen. Hovering over them will expand them and show you previews of the Desktops. You can add more by clicking the Plus button at the top right of the screen.

To move a window from one Desktop to another, click and drag the window from the main portion of the screen and drag it to one of the Desktops along the top of Mission Control. Drop it on the Desktop you want and its now over there, out of your way, and in its own workspace.This is extremely helpful if you want to keep your work and fun stuff separate, or if you're working on a project where you want only the windows for that project to be near each other.

To make Mission Control and Desktops even better, you can right click any app icon in the Dock along the bottom of your screen (unless you've moved it to the right or left), go to Options, and then click on Assign to "this desktop". That ensures that whenever you open a certain application, it will automatically put all of its windows in that desktop, moving you to that Desktop in the process. This way you don't have to move them yourself every time.

Mission Control and Desktops can take a little getting used to but are essential for smaller screens and those who want to get the most productivity out of their Mac. If you're looking for help with the feature or would like to talk to us about something else, call JTec at (949) 466-8442 or email us at joshua@jtec.io.

Joshua Wallace

JTec, Santa Cruz, CA

    Ever since my mother won a computer at a company raffle when I was 6, I’ve been hooked. Nothing excites me more than new technology and I’m always the first to dissect and figure it out. From building my own PCs from parts at the LA Computer Fair in Pomona to my first PowerBook when I was 15, I’ve always loved computers. 

     My first job tutoring was for community service during high school. I first assisted and then became a teacher at a beginners computer course for the elderly and those with English as a second language. There I taught the basics of computing (using a mouse, file systems, etc.) and went on to teach Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. I’ve managed a law firm’s computer network and integrated Macs into a predominantly PC environment. I’ve also held weekly classes for a retirement community focusing on doing more with their Macs. They learned things such as how to import and edit photos with iPhoto from a digital camera, how to set up Email, and much more. It was extremely fulfilling and I loved passing on my knowledge. 

     Now I work on-call and travel to client’s homes or businesses to “fix” their computers while teaching them how to fix it themselves in the future. I also will routinely take computers home to repair hardware issues such as broken screens or trackpads. I genuinely want you to learn how to make the most out of your technology and I always aim to make you self-sufficient.