10/23/219:00 am Productivity Series: Multiple Screens and Desktops 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. Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. Let me show you how I use multiple screens and multiple desktops on my Mac. MacMost is brought to you thanks to a great group of supporters. Go to MacMost.com/patreon. There you can read more about the Patreon Campaign. Join us and get exclusive content and course discounts. 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 (60 videos) Related Video Tutorials: No related posts. Comments: 13 Responses to “Productivity Series: Multiple Screens and Desktops” Jasper 2 years ago I’ve found a couple of apps useful for this. ‘Haze’ de-emphasises all but the front most window. You can set a single full-brightness window or one on each screen. Helpful to reduce distraction. ‘Keyboard Maestro’ can be used to set windows in particular screens and locations, being triggered by time of day or shortcut. I can set a window arrangement for first thing in the morning (Calendar, Reminders and weather in Safari), checking in at work (MS Teams, Outlook), etc. Russ 2 years ago How do you add a two programs to the same desktop? Thanks Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Russ: Depends on what you mean, exactly. Do want a regular desktop with two windows floating around in it? See https://macmost.com/how-to-use-multiple-desktops-on-your-mac.html Or do you want a Split View space, with the space split between the two windows? See https://macmost.com/mac-basics-how-to-use-split-view.html for the latter. Richard Veraguth 2 years ago I use a Imac 5K 2017 for video editing. If I buy now a new 16‘ macbook, can I use the Imac as external screen for FCPX with e.g. airplay or the luna dongle. Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Richard: You could, yes. But you probably just want to get a regular external display. You'd need a faster connection for real video work, plus you could get an external display for much cheaper than you could sell your 2017 iMac. Peter 2 years ago To help me keep track of which of my multiple desktops I'm on, I have a different colour for each. Gary, with apologies for this point not being directly on subject, I couldn't help noticing the Rode shotgun mic on your desk photo. Mine isn't shotgun, + it's large & desk-standing, so am always moving it between the front and back of my desk. What model is your Rode, please? BTW, I'm finding this productivity series helpful. Also the user input (just bought Haze - thanks Jasper!) Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Peter: It is the Rode VideoMic Pro+. It attaches to my camera, not directly to the Mac. Michelle W 1 year ago I am a psychologist doing all my work online - I use a different space for each client's notes. I also an app called Magnet which snaps windows/documents into position on the screen. It's super handy for organising my screen. I can see you have a laptop plus 2 monitors - I'd love to know how you have achieved this. I have a Macbook Air (M1 chip) but it doesn't support 2 monitors, only one. Do you use a hub? if so, which one please? Gary Rosenzweig 1 year ago Michelle: I have a Mac Studio (Mac Pro back when I made this video last year). The MacBook you see isn't using the screens, the Pro/Studio is. Michelle W 1 year ago Thanks Gary. Would you know of/recommend a hub that would allow multiple screens for an M1? Gary Rosenzweig 1 year ago Michelle: I can't recommend any because I have never used one. They all use software and special drivers to make a third screen a possibility. Quality and speed will suffer. Do you really need three screens? Even I just use two screens on my powerhouse desktop setup nowadays. Michelle W 1 year ago I don't want three screens, I want two. I want to be able to put the M1 into clamshell mode and have two working decent-sized screens. The M/Air is just a bit small to be a useful screen for my purposes. Thanks :) Gary Rosenzweig 1 year ago Michelle: Ah, I see. I haven't played with that so I can't be of much help. Comments Closed.