Saturday, January 29, 2011

Using OS X Spaces, Expose, Minimize and Hide - best practices 2.0

I'm an old dog. It takes work to change my habits. A year ago I took a look at how I use my OS X workspace: Using OS X Spaces, Expose, Minimize and Hide - best practices.

Since then I've switched all my machines to 10.6. This is what I do now (I use two displays):

  • I've given up on Spaces. It almost works, but some multi-window apps get scattered across Spaces. Even when it works, it's not quite right. Even in 10.6 it fits poorly with Expose, Minimize, and Hide. I think Apple has given up too; the newest keyboards have a labeled shortcut key for Expose, but not for Spaces. I now use Spaces only when I'm running Fusion -- it gets its own Space.
  • I love 10.6 Expose. There are four things you need to know
    • If you click-hold on an app's doc icon Expose shows only that app's windows
    • If you show all windows in Expose, then click on an app's doc icon, you see only that app's windows
    • With 10.6 minimized windows show up in expose in their own row
    • Hidden windows do not show up in Expose -- unless you click on the app's doc icon. Then they are forced to appear.

With 10.6 I recommend ...

  • Learn Expose.
  • Use minimize and the "grow" button [1]
  • Don't use Spaces except for unusual cases such as running a VM. I might try using my 2nd Space just for Aperture.
  • Don't use Hide and Hide Others. They are legacy functions left over from Mac Classic. They don't mesh well with Expose.

[1] The "grow" button is problematic. iTunes is completely non-standard for minimize and grow (need to hold opt key to get correct behavior), and many apps simply expand to the entire screen instead of following the "grow to best size" algorithm.

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