July 22, 2011

Mission Control Tips

class: left;; style: margin-top:5px;background-image:none;border-width:0px;background-color:transparent;-webkit-box-shadow:none;-mozilla-box-shadow:none;box-shadow:none;; alt: Mission Control Icon

If you’ve just finished installing your shiny new copy of Mac OS X Lion, here are a few tips for Apple’s replacement for Spaces and Exposé — “Mission Control”. For each of these tips, I’m going to assume you’ve created at least one new Desktop in Mission Control — if you haven’t, do that now.

Create a new Desktop for an application or window

  1. Activate Mission Control;
  2. Click and hold on either an individual window, or an application’s icon;
  3. Drag the selected item up the top right corner of your display — as you do this, a slightly transparent Desktop will slide out from the right-hand side of the screen with a “+” on it; Creating a new Desktop using Mission Control
  4. Drop the selected item onto this new Desktop;
  5. Bingo! You have a new Desktop, with your selected items on it — simply click the new Desktop to switch to it.

Set different desktop images for each Desktop

  1. Switch to the Desktop you want to change the desktop picture on;
  2. Launch ‘System Preferences.app’; style: margin-top:5px;background-image:none;border-width:0px;background-color:transparent;-webkit-box-shadow:none;-mozilla-box-shadow:none;box-shadow:none;; alt: System Preferences application icon in Finder
  3. Go to ‘Desktop & Screen Saver’; Desktop & Screen Saver system preferences icon highlighted
  4. Set your desktop image the same way you always do;
  5. Move the ‘Desktop & Screen Saver’ window to the next Desktop by dragging it to the edge of your screen and holding it there for a second or two;
  6. Change the desktop image on that Desktop; Mission Control with different desktop images
  7. Yell our ‘hooray!’ a little bit, cause it’s pretty cool to have different desktop images on each of your Desktops (‘Hooray’ completely optional).

Set hotkeys to go directly to each Desktop

  1. Launch ‘System Preferences.app’; style: margin-top:5px;background-image:none;border-width:0px;background-color:transparent;-webkit-box-shadow:none;-mozilla-box-shadow:none;box-shadow:none;; alt: System Preferences application icon in Finder
  2. Go to ‘Keyboard’; Keyboard system preferences icon highlighted
  3. Select the ‘Keyboard Shortcuts’ tab;
  4. From the source list on the left, select ‘Mission Control’;
  5. The final entries in the list on the right should correspond to your individual Desktops — they will be labelled ‘Switch to Desktop 1’, ‘Switch to Desktop 2’, etc; Keyboard Shortcuts system preferences with Mission Control selected
  6. Set a keyboard shortcut — make sure that you enable the shortcut by clicking on the checkbox next to its name;
  7. Party like it’s Mac OS X Snow Leopard running Hyperspaces (Partying not provided in package)

Assign an application to a specific Desktop, or all Desktops using the Dock

  1. Right-click on the icon of the application in the Dock you want to move to another Desktop;
  2. Select ‘Options » Assign To » All Desktops’ to show this application on all Desktops (this is useful for applications like the Finder, iChat and Twitter); OR Select ‘Options » Assign To » This Desktop’ to make the application open new windows on the current Desktop, even if you’re working on another Desktop; style: margin-top:5px;background-image:none;border-width:0px;background-color:transparent;-webkit-box-shadow:none;-mozilla-box-shadow:none;box-shadow:none;; alt: Dock Desktop assignments menu

Note: These settings persist through quitting and re-opening an application, so if you ever decide you don’t like this setting follow the instructions as above but select ‘None’ from the menu.

Like I’ve said before, I really like Mission Control — it’s got the right blend of features and simplicity for the way I work. I’ve had to modify my work patterns a little, but it feels frictionless next to the old Spaces to me (hundreds of Hyperspaces users everywhere gasp!). I’m sure as we all spend more time with Mission Control, more features will come to light – I’ll post them here as I find them.