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How to Navigate Spaces in Mac OS X Lion

You can navigate Spaces in Mac OS X Lion by entering Mission Control and clicking the space you want to use, but you can also navigate spaces in the following ways:

  • Press the Control key and the left- or right-arrow key to move to the next or previous space.

  • Swipe left or right with three fingers to move to the next or previous space. (This only works if you have the Magic Trackpad)

  • Press the Control key and the number key for the space you want to use. Pressing Control+2, for example, activates Desktop 2.

    You can disable keyboard commands by choosing the dash in the Keyboard Shortcuts tab of the Keyboard System Preferences pane.

There will be times when you want to move a window from one space to another. To do so:

  • Drag a window to the left or right edge of the screen, and pause. After a short delay, the window pops into the space on the left or right of the current space.

  • Press and hold down the mouse button on the window you want to move while pressing the Control key and the

    • Left-arrow key to move the window to the space on the left of the current space

    • Right-arrow key to move the window to the space on the right of the current space

    • Number key of the space to move the window to that space

or

  • Start in the space that has the window you want to move. Enter Mission Control, drag the window from the middle part of the screen onto the space you want to move it to, and then release the mouse button.

It’s often useful to assign a specific application to a specific space. To do so, first launch the application in question; then press and hold its Dock icon, and choose Options.

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Here’s the rundown on those options:

  • To have the application open in every space, choose All Desktops.

    When the application is running, it will appear in every space.

  • To have the application open only in the current space, choose This Desktop.

    The application opens in this space. If you’re working in a different space and switch to this application, its assigned space scrolls into view.

  • To have the application open in whatever space you’re using, choose None.

Finally, should you want to delete one or more spaces, simply enter Mission Control, and move the cursor over the space. A Delete button — an X that should look familiar if you use an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, or the Dashboard — appears in the top-left corner. Click it to delete that space.

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Deleting a space doesn’t delete or quit any applications or close any documents. Applications and windows in a deleted space move to the space called Desktop (the one without a numeric suffix).

The bottom line is that Spaces can be particularly useful for those with a smaller display. This feature is an acquired taste, so even if you have a small screen, you may not care for it.

Try it for a while, and if you decide that you hate it, turn its triggers off (by selecting the minus sign) and be done with it.

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