A few weeks ago, I posted about my new two-screen setup. I explained that I have started using the second monitor as a “reference” monitor to the right of my iMac screen. I’ve received emails and questions in the forums about how I manage windows between the screens.
I explained in the post that I do use Apple’s Spaces feature—although to a much lesser extent—with the new two-screen setup. What I didn’t explain, however, is how I like to manage windows using keyboard shortcuts and our old friend Keyboard Maestro.
First, a Word about Window Managers
There are a lot of applications for the Mac that will manage windows for you. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and range from simple to complex. You can also manage windows with an AppleScript, if that’s your thing. If I had to pick one window manager, it would be Moom. I’ve used it for years, and I still have it installed despite the Keyboard Maestro shenanigans listed below.
Keyboard Maestro FTW
I think Keyboard Maestro is an ideal tool for window management for several reasons.
First, it is hyper-customizable without being hyper-difficult.
The second reason for using Keyboard Maestro is that it does so much more. I am a big fan of “stacked” automation. This is the idea that you take two relatively simple automation tasks that you often perform in order and stack them together in the same script. For example, when I want to plan a day, I often open up OmniFocus and my calendar, and I arrange those two applications in a certain way that makes it easy to see data in both. Moreover, in OmniFocus I will open particular tabs so that I can click through them quickly. I demonstrate this below.
These are all simple automation steps, but when strung together (or stacked), they become a powerful tool to manage my day. Using Keyboard Maestro for window management, not only can I make simple scripts to move the current window to the left side of the screen, but I can also stack more complicated scripts that create a working space based on the task at hand. Since I need Keyboard Maestro to do that second part, it might as well do the first part as well.
And Now, a Screencast
So now it’s time to dive into the technical details of how I do all of this. For that, I think a screencast is a lot easier than a bunch of words. Here you go.
The YouTube Plug
You may note with the above screencast that I’m distributing it through YouTube. I have finally set up a YouTube channel for MacSparky, and I’m going to be adding more content going forward. For that reason, I respectfully ask that you subscribe and push whatever other buttons you’re supposed to push to make me feel special.
Finally, Some Screenshots