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appellant Level 1 (0 points)

Having multiple desktops for different activities or jobs seems pointless if you can't open a software application from the toolbar when it is already in use on another desktop. i.e. If I need my addressbook open on my personal desktop and also on my work desktop, I can't do it. If I try the desktops flip across screen 'wham! to the desktop where the application was originally opened! No good. The only thing that comes close is to open a new 'file' on the "main" desktop and move that individual file to another desktop whilst in the Mission Control position. That says it all! It's daft... and if you close it down you cant open it again without redoing the whole mission control thing. Am I missing something here apart from my patience?

Mac OS X (10.7.2)
  • Barney-15E Level 8 (46,319 points)

    No, you can't open multiple copies of an application. You could make a copy of Address Book, change the name on the copy, and open that. Not sure what bizarre problems you have when both copies are trying to update the same data. Probably bad.


    If you want Address Book to show up on every desktop, set it do do so in the options section in the Dock icon (right-click on the Address Book Dock icon, go to Options, and set it to All Desktops).

  • appellant Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for that... its not just address book though - if I want anything to open that is already open on a different desktop, the screen automatically switches to that other desktop, even though I have, as you suggested, selected "all Desktops" in the dock-options, which doesnt fix the issue, infact I cant see what that does at all.


    As Im writing this curently on "desktop 1" - I can swipe across to "desktop 2" (swipe...) and bingo, this same window appears and I am able to continue typing this!.. But why, I dont get it? Lots of great images on lots of desktops to flip from one to the other but you can't organise different jobs on different desks with full access to applications, so why have we been given them? Feels like Im going nuts. I thought they said "it just works" ? Help :-(

  • Barney-15E Level 8 (46,319 points)

    I actually have no idea what you are describing. Apps stay where I place them, and the desktop switches back to where they are when I activate that app. If I set an app for all desktops, its windows move around with me when I switch desktops.

    If I place application windows on different desktops, selecting the app in the Dock switches between active app windows (ie, the desktop switches as it should).

  • qiuguang Level 1 (10 points)

    Assume you openned a webpage with Safari in one Desktop, but you want to open a new window in another Desktop, by clicking the Safari, you wouldn't be able to do that. It will take you to the Safari window in that Desktop.


    But you can do it by right click Safari on the current Desktop, and select "New Window", then you will be able to have a Safari in multi-Desktop.


    This doesn't work for all Apps; it's not a problem with the Desktop but the Apps themselves. Many Apps are only able to be run in one console. Like iTune, iCal, iPhoto, AddressBook, etc.


    Anyway, it's ok to have windows for multi-Desktop with a precondition that the App can have multi-window.




    appellant wrote:


    Thanks for that... its not just address book though - if I want anything to open that is already open on a different desktop, the screen automatically switches to that other desktop, even though I have, as you suggested, selected "all Desktops" in the dock-options, which doesnt fix the issue, infact I cant see what that does at all.

  • appellant Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for your time guys.

    Hi Barney-15E , what I was trying to do is this:- I have personal stuff and 2 business's so I've opened 3 desktops to represent 3 physical desks - P = Personal desk, B1 + Business 1 desk, B2 = Business2 desk. So I may have stuff open on P desk like a part finished letter to the gas board in Word for Mac, and say, my address book for their address, and maybe the calculator. Then on B1 I may have a cad drawing and want to write a Specification on Word fro Mac. On desk B2 I may be editting photographs and need to write an invoice & a covering letter to a client, also on Word for Mac, & need the address book.


    The problems start when I start to write the letter on B2 and my desk flips back to P where I was writing to the gas board. So I save & quit and go back to B2 and Im in the middle of my covering letter when the phone goes & my colleague urgently needs the spec to the drawing on B1 desk, so I go to B1 and try to open Word for Mac, but the desk flips aross to B2...? ****!


    And so on with address book, calculator and everything else except Safari.

    So ... how can I use 3 desktops for 3 different things and still get access to all the applications ?

    I think giuguang may have pointed out that most apps wont open from the toolbar in more than one place...?

  • CT Level 6 (17,545 points)

    The behavior you get with apps and different desktops depends upon various preference settings.


    Like you, I like to organize my desktops according to project, so I regularly have windows from the same application spread out over several desktops. No problem.


    For example, I have a Safari window in Desktop 1 and I want a Safari window in desktop 2. If, while in desktop 2, I bring Safari to the front by clicking on the Dock icon, I can open a new window in the usual ways. I could also just control-click on the Safari icon in the dock to get a new window in desktop 2.  This is how all applications behave.


    (The only application that is a little weird in this regard is Finder. You have to do the control-click on it or it will always switch to a space with a window open.)


    To make all this occur, I have Safari desktop assignment set to "None" (control-click on Safari icon, then on Options) and in Mission Control preferences (in System Preferences) I have "When switching to an application..." UNchecked.


    (Note that, with these settings, if an application is already in front and you click on its icon - or click twice on the icon if the applcation is not in front - the OS will assume you are looking for another open window and will switch desktops to give you one.)


    Hope this helps.



  • appellant Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks, I think I may have found a way to do what I want after following your note. You press ctrl and click the application icon i.e. Word for Mac, choose "open recent", click "more", and the document gallery opens so you can choose a new file. Great at last, if rather long winded.


    It seems that if you want the addrerss book, calendar, etc in different places at different times you can set it to "this desktop" in optons, then if your on another desktop & you want it, choose options and click "this desktop" and it will move to the current desktop where you are, removing it from the desktop where it was before.


    OK so you cant have different addressbooks or calenders for different desks.


    Jeez, you have to fool around a long time to make things do approximately what you want !!!!


    I think I'm getting there.. approximately there.



  • Hen3ry Level 2 (495 points)

    FWIW, I'm a tekkie, and ordinarily I instinctively seek to understand what I see in analytic, tekkie terms.  But I've found it very useful in such cases as Mission Control to supress that and work intuitively.  Almost always, MacOS 10 user interface design makes sense from that point of view and the mechanisms ultimately work well for me -- intuitively.


    As noted already in this thread, some issues clearly arise from applications, rather than a fault of MC.  I wonder if some 3rd party apps I use don't follow Apple standards/guidelines and thus function less well with MC.  


    More broadly, some tasks fall neatly into categories.  For those, probably, MC will work well.  Other tasks may fall into grey areas between categories.  MC may not work so well in these cases. 


    Even if the classification is clear, there's the difficulty of communicating it to MC efficiently.  How much time would you be willing to spend giving MC detailed instructions?   Example: Apple hasn't given us the capability of assigning an app to any desktop/workspace; instead, you must go to the desktop to which you want to assign the app and use the dock interface sub-menu to assign the app to "this desktop".   Would you accept extending that dock menu to offer all currently defined desktops?  Some of us  --especially those who use only a small number of desktop/workspaces-- would say "OK", but others would object because the resulting sub-menus would become much harder to use.


    I think it could be very helpful if scriptability was added.  First,  giving the option of displaying the name or description of the current active desktop/workspace in some unique place that's always visible.   I think it could be helpful for power users to be able to specify scripts for key desktop/workspace events/states: when entered, when exited, while active, and while inactive.

  • rgotty Level 1 (0 points)

    Like Appellant, I too am frustrated with Mission Control probably because I am trying to use it in the same way - each desktop represents a specific working context.  For example, lets say I mentally assign Desktop1 to represent the stuff I need to do for work and Desktop2 to represent the stuff I need to do for school.  I'm happily working on homework for school in Desktop2 (school) and have Finder open in my school directory.  I get paged from work and I need to now do something for work.  I go to Desktop1 (work) and proceed to open Finder to look for a file I need for work.  At this point, I do not want to be switched back to Desktop2 (school) where I have Finder open for my school work.  Instead, I want to stay on Desktop1 (work) and for Finder to open a new window and allow me to browse my filesystem.  Saying that it does not work like this because of a limitation with the applications is bogus to me - it does not behave as I expect for the built-in applications such as Finder.  And, having to remember to hold down the CTRL key when launching an appication from the Dock is a poor GUI design, in my opinion, because it now requires *me* to remember whether or not I have that application open in another desktop instead of the computer doing that.  Perhaps the way that the Gnome desktop manager works on RHEL5 best depicts how I expect it to work.  Its a number of years old yet does not have problems with handling 3rd party applications, such as Firefox.  You go to a desktop and whatever applications you launch are seen in that desktop, regardless of what you have going on in other desktops.



  • Hen3ry Level 2 (495 points)



    Sorry, I may not be understanding you correctly, because I don't see the issue being with Finder, which I find operates intuitively in each Desktop/Workspace and doesn't cause me to switch to another context when I don't want to.   The problem I see is with apps, getting switched to a different work context (that is, a different Desktop/Workspace) because an app already has a window open in the other context.


    I _think_ the fundamental problem is that work contexts and apps don't line up perfectly, at least often in my work flow, and in turn these don't line up perfectly with Desktop/Workspaces.   I think some non-Apple apps don't play nice, either.


    Also, I think the Options menu "below" dock icons really doesn't feel very intuitive. "This Desktop" is reasonably clear. I haven't yet found a brief, satisfying explanation of "all desktops" and "none" mean, exactly.  (Maybe these meanings are incredibly obvious to everyone else?)


    Here's a scenario that bugs me:   I've got 8 Desktop/Workspaces active. I'm working in #3.  I decide I need a Terminal window open in #3, switch to Terminal, forgetting that there's already a Terminal window in #1.  D'oh!  I'm switched to #1, an entirely different context.   I'm reasonably confident it IS possible to have Terminal windows open in both #1 and #3. (But since I'm out of my office and using 10.5.x now, I can't verify this.)   Right now, there doesn't seem to be a way of telling the Mac, "yeah, even if there's a Terminal window open in another Desktop/Workspace, I want a new one in THIS context."   Which is annoying. But at the moment I can't think of any mechanism for informing the Mac of this.   So, I'm reluctant to complain (much) about it.  


    I think ambiguities --poor line-ups, as described above--  are inevitable in non-trivial set-ups.  I don't want to spend a lot of time up-front trying to tell the Mac exactly what I'm doing, as I may not really be clear on it myself -- or the ambiguities actually cannot be resolved.  At the moment Apple provides the most basic settings, which means the up-front cost is minimized --so I pay later, when I get a context switch I don't want.  That sounds about as good as we can do for now.  I'm hoping Apple will come up with improvements in the next version(s).  I don't see it as an easy problem, not at all.

  • rgotty Level 1 (0 points)

    They way that I perfer to work, there are no cases where I want the OS to switch to another desktop simply because I choose to open an application that happens to already be opened on another desktop.  For me, I want the application to open in the current desktop, regardless if it is already open in another desktop.  I tend to have multiple applications open on a single desktop in windowed mode - where no single application consumes the entire screen.  For me, out-of-sight-out-of mind applies - I need to be able to see what I have to work with.


    However, some of my friends at work prefer to work in a full-screen mode, where a singe application takes up the entire screen.  They are constantly switching back and forth from one application to the other, typically by pressing CMD+TAB.  I guess in this context, having the OS switch from one desktop to another based on where the application is opened would make sense.  But, to me that seems like a big waste of a desktop - only showing one application.


    So, here is an example of my use-case.  I come to work and powerup my Mac.  I open  Finder and Excel so that I can start working on a report.  While I'm working on the report a friend comes over and asks me to help him with his report.  In this case, I would prefer to switch to an unused desktop and then proceed to open the applications that I need for this new task, such as  Finder and Excel (the same ones I was using for my report but now I need for my friend's report).  I already have context in those applications on Desktop1 and I don't want to lose that, hence my desire to use another desktop. So, I go to Desktop2 and click on the Finder icon in the Dock.  Instead of it opening a new instance of Finder on Desktop2, I'm jolted over to Desktop1 where Finder was already opened.  But I don't want that - I want to keep my place in Finder on Desktop1 and open a new one on Desktop2.  Sure, I can hold the CTRL key down while I press on the Finder icon in the Dock and tell it to open a new window.  However, instead of it opening a new window in Desktop2, it opens it in Desktop1 while leaving me in Desktop2 and wondering where the new Finder window is.  It seems that Safari works correctly in that it will open a new Safari window in Desktop2 if I hold the CTRL key down while I click on its icon in Dock.  However, if I forget that, I'm transported over to Desktop1 - which I don't want.


    How Firefox is handled is just weird.  Lets say that I am in Desktop1 and I have Firefox opened.  Then I switch to Desktop2 and now I want Firefox open in Desktop2 too.  While in Desktop2  I can  hold the CTRL key when clicking on its icon in Dock and tell it to open a new window.  Indeed, it will open a new window - but not in Desktop2.  Instead, it opens a new window in Desktop1 and I get tranported over to Desktop1.  Again, not what I want.


    Sure, you can blame the applications for this.  But to me, the OS is the coordinator of all the resource on the system, including the applications.  So, in my opinion, if it does not work consistently and and if it does not work how I expect  then it does not work well.



  • mrtn242 Level 1 (30 points)

    This discussion is rather enlightening!

    Isn't there a way to tell OS X "open a new window on xxxx desktop? It seems to me that this is the functionality that is wanted in this discussion. I use 2 apps at work on a 27" iMac, one of them has multiple windows open with all but one in the dock, on desktop 1. The other app I put on desktop 2 in full screen for viewing purposes. Both are 3rd party apps. I can't tell any more, since I'm at home, but I'll look at the desktop settings for each of these apps when I return to work.

  • mrtn242 Level 1 (30 points)

    I just found something. Go to System Preferences, Mission Control, look at the checkbox for "when opening an application, switch to a space with open windows for that application". This might provide a clue here. Looks like I'll be testing this now!

  • mrtn242 Level 1 (30 points)

    After unchecking this box, I opened Safari, right-clicked the dock icon, set it to "none". I then switched to desktop 2, and was able to open a new Safari window on desktop 2. I then switched that window to full screen, which pushed it to a third desktop. After all this, I was still able to swipe back to desktop 1, where the first window I opened still sat. Unbelievable. So the only oddity is the full screen window moving to the third desktop. Hope this is the answer the OP was looking for.

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