Win­dow man­age­ment

At last, Ap­ple de­liv­ers a mod­ern way to get your win­dows un­der con­trol with El Cap­i­tan’s new Split View

Mac Format - - WWDC 2015 -

Get­ting win­dows ex­actly where you want them has long been a bug­bear in OS X. Ap­ple’s best so­lu­tion to date was to make win­dows re­size­able from any edge or cor­ner, leav­ing plenty of room for tools such as Moom (see our tu­to­rial in MF288) to of­fer more pow­er­ful win­dow man­age­ment fea­tures. Yet for years now, Mi­crosoft Win­dows has made it easy to quickly make apps fill spe­cific re­gions of the desk­top with­out hav­ing to buy ad­di­tional soft­ware.

At last, El Cap­i­tan adds some­thing sim­i­lar, and it works in a fluid fash­ion that you’d ex­pect of OS X. You can split two apps be­tween the left and right halves of the screen by click­ing and hold­ing on a win­dow’s green but­ton and drag­ging to ei­ther side of the desk­top. When you let go, your other win­dows ar­range them­selves, Mis­sion Con­trol-style, in the other half, wait­ing for you to click the one you want to fill it. The method for start­ing this se­quence is a lit­tle tucked away, but at least you’re un­likely to trig­ger it by ac­ci­dent, and it shouldn’t in­ter­fere with OS X’s ex­ist­ing short­cut for mov­ing win­dows be­tween workspaces by drag­ging them to screen edges.

With the screen split be­tween two apps, drag­ging the di­vid­ing line be­tween them ad­justs how much of the screen is ap­por­tioned to each. If one of your apps is al­ready in full-screen mode, you sim­ply drag another win­dow to the top of the screen to open Mis­sion Con­trol, then drop it onto the ex­ist­ing workspace to split that workspace be­tween the two apps.

These neat short­cuts may be suf­fi­cient for most peo­ple, but they still leave room for apps such as Moom to of­fer per­son­al­i­sa­tion. It’s also pos­si­ble to set the menu bar to hide, like you al­ready can for the Dock, to free up screen space. Even with these tools avail­able, you might lose track of the pointer, so you can shake it around to make it tem­po­rar­ily grow big­ger and help you spot it. Gim­micky? Well, who hasn’t done that at some point!

On the sub­ject of full-screen apps, to date Mail has worked poorly when work­ing that way be­cause its com­po­si­tion panel got in the way of your other mes­sages. In El Cap­i­tan, when you click out­side of the panel it slides to the bot­tom of the screen for you to ac­cess other mes­sages, and you can click on the panel or drag things onto it to bring it back into fo­cus. The panel also sup­ports tabs so you can com­pose sev­eral mes­sages at once.

El Cap­i­tan’s Split View brings a whole new way to man­age your workspace on your Mac, and we can’t wait to use it fully.

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