This thread isn’t exactly about what tools to use or how to use them. There’ve been many discussions on the MPU forum about window management apps, and David’s posted a great screencast explaining how to use Keyboard Maestro to set up workspaces. However, only two discussions have focused on general strategies, and they were both display-specific (a laptop and a 27" iMac). So, what I want to know is…
How do you approach windowing and workspaces?
I.e., where do you put what, and why?
I am delighted with my workflow for less than five windows. Keyboard shortcuts with Keyboard Maestro quickly snap windows to three different sections of the screen at different sizes, so my working materials will go in the middle while references and research will go to either side. I use Contexts to alt+tab between windows (a holdover from my MS Windows days). I have a single rather large display (32") and keep the resolution high, so I’ve found it important to keep the main window centered—else I spend too much time with my neck tweaked left or right.
Edit: Oh! And I have a dedicated Mission Control button on my mouse, so that’s often getting invoked to select which windows to display when they’re overlapping. I also use UnDistracted to fade background windows if I’m trying to do “deep work”.
I used to use two, three, even four displays (with an iPad open), but I think I like this setup better. When I used those extra displays I often forgot to look at them or use them. (My desk is a flat table with the monitor on a shelf, so setting up additional screens next to this giant one was awkward anyway.)
Sometimes I wonder if I fiddle with this too much, though, and it falls apart when I have many apps and windows open. I was writing a paper today and had dozens of windows open across multiple macOS spaces. It was so frustrating! Windows for searching my files, Safari windows with Google Scholar searches, papers open as PDF files (sometimes duplicates, to focus on different parts at the same time), random note documents, and, of course, the paper draft itself.
So: what are your workspaces or workflows for working with multiple windows/spaces/screens? Do you delegate certain apps/tasks to other screens or devices? Do you, as David demonstrated in that blog post, have specific workspaces attached to specific kinds of work?
Or do you just embrace the chaos?