How to Work on Multiple Desktops with Mac Mission Control - dummies

How to Work on Multiple Desktops with Mac Mission Control

By Edward C. Baig

To the right of the Mac Dashboard on the top row is a thumbnail with a white border around it. That’s the Desktop that you’re currently working in. Adjacent to that Desktop window are windows for any open full-screen apps that you have going at the moment.

The full-screen feature enables the app in question to take over the entire screen. You know you can go full-screen when you see a Full Screen icon in the upper-right corner of an app window, identifiable as a slanting line with arrows on either end.

Now, while you’re in Mission Control, move the cursor all the way to the upper-right corner of the screen. A partially obscured Desktop thumbnail slides into view from the right side, with + on it.

Click the + to open a new Desktop, which appears as a mini representation inside Mission Control of that new Desktop. You can drag an application window or icon to move it to the new space. You must leave Mission Control to see the “real” full-screen Desktop.

If, in Dock Preferences, you’ve specified that the Dock should appear on the right side of the screen rather than the bottom, the mini representation that opens a new Desktop appears from the left side of the screen rather than the right side.

This begs the question of why you’d want a new Desktop in the first place. The answer is simple: You may want to keep only those programs and windows related to a distinct pastime in one dedicated location.

Before OS X Lion, Mountain Lion, and Mavericks, Apple handled this feature in Spaces, which lets you display only the stuff required to tackle the projects at hand. Spaces is now part of Mission Control, too.

So maybe you’re an e-mailin’, web-surfin’ kind of dude. Maybe you’re putting together a family scrapbook. In any case, you may want Desktops or Spaces dedicated to those vocations.

To remove an extra Desktop after your assignment is complete, roll your cursor over the Desktop thumbnail in Mission Control until a circled X appears. Click the X to make the Desktop go away.