How would you describe your Mac’s workspace? No, not your desk or laptop or cubicle or office. Workspace as defined by what’s on your Mac’s screen—the digital place where you do your digital work.
Is it a cluttered space where it’s difficult to find apps and files and windows? Efficient? Too many apps in the Dock? A messy Mac Finder? Or, do you employ workspace saving features such as Apple’s Spaces?
The Space Of Spaces Is Wasted
A few years ago Apple introduced Spaces, a multi-windowed approach to greater productivity. Spaces is simple.
Think of your Mac’s screen multiplied by two or four or six additional screens.
All those screens work just like your Mac’s single screen. One screen could hold iWork apps, another could hold Mail and Safari, a third could hold other utilities. It’s easy to organize apps in Spaces and easy to bounce back and forth from one Spaces window to another.
The only problem with Spaces is that it doesn’t work. Multiple open and virtual Mac screens does not necessarily make for greater productivity. Spaces is an organizational tool, not an efficient, improved productivity tool.
How so, you ask? Whatever the size of our Mac’s screen—from diminutive MacBook to gigantic 27-inch iMac—most of us can work on only one or two apps at a time.
Sometimes we’ll line up a window from one or two apps and copy and paste items from one window to another. That’s about as efficient as we can get, and it’s more efficient than copying something from one app window in Spaces and moving to another Spaces window to paste it in a different app.
In short, Spaces is nice technology, but it’s eye candy, an organizational mind trick. Whether a bunch of windows and apps are open in multiple screen spaces, or laid one on top of the other on a single space, Spaces doesn’t make us more efficient or productive.
If not, what does?
Dividing Your Mac’s Screen For Fun And Profit
Many Mac users will divide up a single Mac screen with windows from one or more Mac apps, usually side-by-side. That approach makes it easy to copy and paste from one app’s window to another app’s window.
The only real problem with that approach is the extra time it takes to move app windows around to fit the screen space and line up with each other.
Enter Divvy. The Mac app that divides up your Mac’s limited screen space the way you want, and remembers what you divvied and where.
Changing the size and repositioning a Mac app’s window is easy, but a bit tedious. Grab the corner bar, move the app around. Repeat. The next time you want to do the same thing the app can’t remember what you did.
That’s what Divvy does. It’s a Menubar app which grids your Mac’s screen on a per app basis. If you want Safari’s windows always to the left, Divvy makes it so and does it graphically, via select and drag.
Open a Mac app, select a window, click Divvy from the Menubar. The pop up grid represents your Mac’s screen. Drag across the grid to a size you want—half, full, one quarter, whatever—and Divvy immediately assigns the size to the app.
Divvy’s preferences let you assign a global hot key to toggle Divvy on and off (instead of using the Menubar) so you can use the keyboard to move quickly from one app to another without leaving the keyboard.
This approach makes it easy to position app windows where you want on your Mac’s screen instead of slowing down and fumbling around with manual repositioning. A good example is show below (from the Divvy video) with Safari to the left, and a text editor to the right (very common setup).
Divvy has a built-in shortcut editor which creates keyboard shortcuts for each app. Click the app, invoke Divvy, hit the shortcut key, and the app’s window sizes as you want and where you want.
Repeat for other apps. That’s fast, efficient, and precise.
It’s also a more productive way to manage app windows. Set it once the way you want, and let Divvy remember the settings and put the windows where you need without all that manual labor.
Divvy is simple to set up and use, but doesn’t work on all Mac apps. For example, iPhoto doesn’t resize beyond a certain size and Divvy can’t over come that. However, for the real productive Mac user, Divvy does multiple Mac displays, and remembers what goes where.
Spaces isn’t for everyone. Divvy is for the value conscious Mac user who wants maximum efficiency from each Mac app and window.