Switch Desktop Space Ultra-Quickly – Mac Kung Fu, 2nd Edition

Tip 105Switch Desktop Space Ultra-Quickly

Here are two tips to speed up how you use desktop spaces.

Nudging from Space to Space Instantly

If you use more than one desktop space, you might already know that if you click and drag program windows to the far right (or left) side of a screen, you can “nudge” the window into the next desktop space. To do this, drag the window so that the mouse cursor cannot move any further against the screen edge.

There’s a one- or two-second delay before OS X switches to the neighboring desktop space, and you can speed this up using a hidden setting, as follows:

defaults write com.apple.dock workspaces-edge-delay -float 0;killall Dock

The desktop space will now change as soon as you touch the edge of the screen. I find this useful, but if you’d like a split-second delay before the desktop space switches, try the following:

defaults write com.apple.dock workspaces-edge-delay -float 0.15;killall Dock

To revert to the default second or two delay later, open a Terminal window, and type the following:

defaults delete com.apple.dock workspaces-edge-delay;killall Dock

Using Keyboard Shortcuts

Another way of very quickly switching program windows between desktops is to use keyboard shortcuts. This isn’t quite as quick as the secret setting described earlier, but it’s worth investigating.

First you must enable keyboard shortcuts for each of your desktop spaces. This can be done by opening System Preferences (Apple menuSystem Preferences), selecting the Keyboard icon, then clicking the Keyboard Shortcuts tab. Select Mission Control in the list on the left of the window, and then check the entries on the right that read Switch To Desktop 1, Switch To Desktop 2, and so on, for all the desktop spaces you have configured.

From then on, moving a program window from one space to another is a matter of clicking and holding its title bar and then hitting the keyboard shortcut for that space, which will be a combination of Control plus 1, 2, 3, and so on, relating to the number of the desktop space.