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Productivity Series: Multiple Screens and Desktops

Saturday October 23, 2021. 05:00 PM , from MacMost
I use two displays with my desktop Mac, plus a specific set of desktops set up to show some apps in specific spaces. See if any of my techniques will help you be more productive on your Mac.

Check out Productivity Series: Multiple Screens and Desktops at YouTube for closed captioning and more options.
Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with Let me show you how I use multiple screens and multiple desktops on my Mac.
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So here's another episode in my Productivity Series. This time I want to talk about how I use multiple displays with my Mac. Also how I use spaces otherwise known as multiple desktops on my Mac, not just my main Mac but my MacBook Pro. If you use multiple screens or spaces hopefully I'll give you some ideas that you can use.
First I have to say that for years I had three screens, a 4k screen in the middle of my desk and two 1080 screens rotated vertically on either side. This allowed me to see everything I want so I had all sorts of windows open. But recently I've been reading more about productivity and learned that it's probably not a great idea to have all this information in front of you. After all every new email and every new message that came in I could see all the time no matter what I was doing. Sometimes it's best to have that information hidden until you actually go to look at it. So I changed things. I now have two 4K screens in front of me hooked to my Mac Pro. Here's a picture of how it looks. So the new screen is a larger 4K screen right in the middle. Then I took my older smaller 4K screen, turned it vertical, and put it on the side. I really wanted to go with one 4K screen in the middle but I found that I really needed to access things like a Finder window with all my files or while I'm recording one of these tutorials some notes in a text file and it was great to have those off to one side.
I make sure never to put things like Mail or Safari over there. No distractions. There should only be things on that side screen that increase my productivity not decrease it.
Now on my main screen I started using multiple desktops. Technically you would call this spaces. So let me show you my setup here. I'm going to activate Mission Control and Control up arrow here and you could see what I've got. This is my typical setup. I have one regular desktop and everything goes there. If I'm working on something it's probably in a window on this desktop. I use it just like you would normally use a single desktop. But I have sequestered two apps, actually three, off into other spaces. One is Safari in full screen here. So everything I need to do in terms of web browsing is off in its own space. I have to go over to it to look at it. The other is Mail and Messages. Now instead of having those on two separate screens, Messages really doesn't need that much space, I actually use Split View. I have Mail take up most of the space there and I have the Messages app here on the right.
Keep in mind that when I do tutorials I'm using a very different resolution. I'm usually using the full 4k resolution. In other words it's the equivalent to 1920 by 1080 but Retina display. I do that on my Mac when I'm normally working. But when I'm presenting I'm using the 1280 by 720 Retina display so that all the text doesn't look super small when you view these videos. So this looks a little different here in my Demo account than it does on my regular account. I can usually switch between this Mail and Messages View, to Safari, and into my desktop and everything else.
Now I do exactly this same thing on my laptop. So I have a MacBook Pro that I carry around with me everywhere. If I'm not at my desk I'm using that. I have the same setup there. A desktop and then Safari full screen and Mail and Messages in a Split View. So I'm very used to switching between these three views whether I'm at my desk or using my MacBook Pro. The big difference being, of course, on my desk I have that second screen. It's so handy to have that just for the Finder. If I need to drag and drop a file into something, say I'm working with graphics I could drag and drop from the Finder window into the app. I could do the same thing when I'm doing video editing. When I'm saving files and I need to go and look for a directory to same them in I can do that there in the Finder window on the side. I have Notes open at the bottom so I could see the notes for the episode I'm working on or the app that I'm working on or whatever else I'm doing. It's really handy having things like the Finder window, Notes or tech files behind everything when I'm working on a desktop in a big app like ScreenFlow or Final Cut Pro or iMovie or Xcode. That's a real pain and it definitely slows me down. So having the Finder window on another screen works really well.
Now I happen to have this great 27" 4K screen for that. Now if I was to start all over again I would spend all my money on my main screen and I would just have a cheap screen off to the side. It doesn't have to be vertical. I just like it like that so I don't have to look all the way over to the left to be able to see everything on the screen. It makes it more compact and everything more in my eyesight.
So if you have multiple displays I would love to hear how you use them to be as productive as possible. Also, how you use spaces, multiple desktops, full screen, and split view apps to be more productive. Related Subjects: Productivity (35 videos)
Related Video Tutorials:
Productivity Series: Uses For Notes ― Productivity Series: Uses For Calendar ― Productivity Series: How I Handle Email ― Productivity Series: Reminders Lists

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