Moving multiple windows in Spaces

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Because I want some of the hints that I covered in my recent Macworld video blog on Leopard to be included in our searchable archive, here’s another text version of a tip from that video. (Perhaps Google will eventually figure out how to parse audio from video on the fly and create a searchable index of video content… but we’re not quite there yet.)

Today’s tip deals with Spaces, and as with the last tip I cribbed from the video, I’m throwing in a little extra tidbit in case you already watched the video.

If you use Spaces, you know that the F8 key is somewhat like Exposé for Spaces. (Though you can actually use Exposé within Spaces’ F8 view mode. That’s not the extra tip—still, try it out. Just press F9 after pressing F8).

When you press F8, you get an overview of every space, showing all open windows in all spaces. From here, you know you can move a window from one space to another by simply dragging it there. But what if you want to move all windows of a given application to another space? Sure, you can drag them all one-by-one, but that’s a pain. Instead, hold down the Shift key (the Command key works, too) before you click-and-hold on a window. With the Shift key held down, when you drag one window of a program, you’ll drag all the windows of that program.

You can also use this trick to move just one window to the exact same physical location in a new space. Say you’ve got a Finder window open, and it’s maybe 200 pixels down and right from the Apple menu. You can move this window into another space, positioned at that exact same position. Start dragging the window, then press and hold Shift before you drop the window into its new space. When you drop the window, it will move into the same position it used in the prior space.

OK, now for the bonus Spaces hint. Like both Exposé and Dashboard, Spaces can be used in what I call “at a glance” mode. Instead of just quickly pressing and releasing F8, press and hold F8. While still holding F8, do whatever it is you need to do in Spaces, then release F8. When you do, you’ll be taken immediately back to the Finder, in whichever space was active (dark blue color) when you released F8. This saves one keystroke, and may be preferred for those times when you just have one or two little things to do in Spaces.

If you haven’t tried this yet with Exposé and Dashboard, give it a try there, too, as it’s really quite useful. I especially like it for Dashboard, when I just want to see the latest weather, current stock quote, and so forth. Just press-hold-view-release, and you’re right back where you started.

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