How To Use Spaces in Mac OS X Lion

The feature I don’t like in Lion…
Spaces for me worked flawless.
It’s been hard to get used to Mission Control.

Check the article from MacLife

Mac|Life – All Articles
by Cory Bohon


Spaces first appeared in OS X Leopard, but in Lion, the feature has been rebranded, along with Expose, into the new Mission Control feature. Mission Control is your one-stop place for viewing all of the opened application windows on your Mac, full screen apps and. Dashboard widgets. It also lets you create multiple desktops, which enables you to organize your windows by the types of applications or by the work you’ll do in each Space. For instance, you can have a Desktop for work that has your email client, web browser, or other work related applications.

Creating a New Desktop

You can create up to 18 (!!!) separate Desktops in Lion. This includes full screen applications, the Dashboard space, and additional desktops.

There are three different ways to create Desktops. The first is to enable full screen mode from the right-hand corner of the title bar.


When you do this, a new Desktop will be created in mission control for the full screen application. All full screen applications get their own Space.


Another way to create a space is by hovering over the top left or right of the Mission Control screen until you see a Desktop with a plus button on the top of it. Clicking on this will create a new Desktop within Mission Control.


The final way to create a new Desktop is by dragging and dropping an opened window from the Mission Control section to the top left or right corner until this Desktop icon appears. This automatically creates a new Desktop and places that window there.

Removing Desktops


If you have created too many different Desktops to keep track of, just hover over the top left of the Desktop in Mission Control and click on the “X” button that appears. Any windows contained in a closed Desktop will be moved to the first Desktop.

Moving Windows Between Desktops


To move windows between spaces, simply switch to the one you’d like to move a window from by clicking on the Desktop in Mission Control, and then dragging and dropping the window onto the Desktop you would like to move the window to.

Assigning Windows to Desktops


You can have certain windows always open in certain Desktops. To do this, navigate to the Desktop you’d like the application to open in and right-click on the application in the Dock and navigate to Options > This Desktop. You can also have the application be available to All Desktops or select the default of None.


9 thoughts on “How To Use Spaces in Mac OS X Lion

  1. Good “How To”. However, Mission Control isn’t “Spaces in Lion”. It’s a weak relative at best. Especially for multiple monitors it is inferior and awkward to use. Also where you state moving a window to another screen is simple, I wonder what you are comparing it to. Because it is much more difficult than it was in Spaces, where you could drag the window out of any screen to any other in one motion. Now you have to select the screen first, which isn’t even easy since you can’t click in the screen, which was more intuitive (clicking in Mission Control screens open them). So I don’t see how you can say this is simple compared to Spaces. There are many nice features in Lion but Mission Control is not one of them.

  2. Scott I absolute agree with you.
    I’m still having trouble with it. I hope there’s some tweak or update that could put Mission Control and Spaces or Desktops more useful.

  3. Scott, you can use the four finger swipe gesture in Mission Control to switch between spaces without opening them in full view.

  4. I can’t get it to work with full screen apps at all. I made 4 desktops, opened 4 apps, one in each desktop, then went back to make them full screen and it moved them out of order and created new “screens” for them that were apparently separate from the 4 desktops….scrolling thru all that trying to get to the app you want is a nightmare…app…scroll…blank desktop….scroll…app…etc. Ick.

  5. What about when the desktops get swapped up? I used to have Desktop 1, then Desktop 2, then 3 then 4. Now I have Desktop 3, 1, 4, 2.
    Its incredibly annoying and haven’t found a way to move them.

  6. I did not know I could create multiple desktops. Now I know, I don’t want to, life is fine for me with one. What is infuriating about Lion is that if I brush my Magic Mouse with the wrong gesture it automatically opens Mission Control, usually when I am in the middle of something. Is there any way of killing Mission Control, or making it realty hard to open? BTW, Lion was a waste of $29.99, especially the backward steps, like emasculating Spotlight so that it no longer tells you where files are.

  7. Mission Control is great when it works, but it doesn’t always work as it should. For instance, sometimes it doesn’t launch from the keyboard and I cannot create other desktops using the plus sign because there isn’t one to be found. It is so frustrating, so I’m thinking of just not using it until a patch is issued. It’s a shame, too, because it could be a wonderful feature.

  8. Thanks for the reply. Sometimes when I start my computer, there is no linen background when I attempt to use Mission Control. I click on the icon or the key I’ve specified for MC, but the linen background does not appear, so no plus sign in the right hand corner. Are you saying that if I click the Control key, the linen background and plus sign will appear? I’ll try it next time.

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