I discovered recently in an informal poll of my co-workers that I seem to be the only one in love with Spaces. When Leopard was released nearly two years ago, Spaces was touted as one of the biggest new features, allowing up to sixteen separate virtual desktops. While hardly a new idea in the computing world, I always found the implementation in other distributions cumbersome and clunky. Apple applied their expected touch of polish and turned a useful feature into a useful, easy, and fluid feature.

Space is located in System Preferences, paired with Apple’s other extremely useful window management feature, Exposé. Make sure the “Enable Spaces” box is checked, along with “Show Spaces in Menu Bar,” which creates a small menu items for a quick reference to which space you are currently in. I also find it handy to map Spaces to a hot corner, for quick switching between spaces. Once it’s enabled, you can assign applications to always open in a particular space; this is where the true power of Spaces shines through.

If you’re like me, you are probably browsing the web, listening to iTunes, checking Twitter, sending emails, and finishing a presentation all at the same time. With more than two applications open at once, the desktop can become very cluttered and hard to manage. Sure, Exposé does make jumping windows very easy, but I don’t necessarily need to have iTunes and Twitter in the way of my Keynote projects and emails.

Spaces also allows me to group applications onto a particular desktop and then use Exposé to work between those programs. This makes it much easier to multitask with your Mac and can actually improve your workflow quite dramatically. This works fantastically when working on presentations, photo editing, podcast recording, or even file browsing.

My personal Spaces philosophy is as follows: web activity in Space one, iTunes in two, downloads in three, email and Word documents in four. Not only does this allow me to mentally organize myself, it means I can have all these items open at once and not worry about minimizing or manipulating window sizes when working between them. The bird’s eye view Spaces gives uses also allows you to drag applications between desktops and even rearranges entire Spaces with each other.

Spaces is now one of my favorite Mac OS features and is now completely integrated into my everyday workflow.

To learn more about Spaces, check out Apple’s video tutorial on YouTube here.

Do you use Spaces? Email me your favorite ways to use Spaces!

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