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Learn Lion Week: Organise your apps with Mission Control

In the third part of our Learn Lion Week series, we teach you how to organise your desktops and apps with OS X Lion's Mission Control feature.

OSX Tutorial - Mission Control - Main

OSX Tutorial - Mission Control - 15-minute beginner's guide
OSX Tutorial - Mission Control - Main
Apple has always been innovative when it comes to organising windows and apps on a Mac.
With the introduction of Leopard, Spaces and Exposé gave users the ability to split their apps between four separate desktops, and see all their active windows with just one keystroke. Now, Lion has brought together Spaces and Exposé to create Mission Control – a powerful new desktop organisation utility that promises to bring greater organisation to your computing.

Within Mission Control you can view all of your active windows and assign them to different ‘Desktops’ (this is the new Lion terminology for Spaces). You can also set up new Desktops, flick between them with a multi-touch gesture and delete them with ease. Follow this step-by-step tutorial to see how to get the most out of one of Lion’s best new features. It really can help you keep your work and play space more organised and clutter free.

OSX Tutorial - Mission Control - Step-By-Step

OSX Tutorial - Mission Control - Step 1

Step 1: A screen with a view
Launch Mission Control via the dock icon, the F3 key, or through Launchpad. You’ll see all of your active windows grouped by app.

OSX Tutorial - Mission Control - Step 2

Step 2: Double your desktops
To add a new desktop (they used to be called Spaces), simply hover your mouse in the top-right corner of the screen and click the plus icon.

OSX Tutorial - Mission Control - Step 3

Step 3: Organise your windows
Drag an active window on to any of the desktops at the top of Mission Control. You can have any number of apps or windows in each desktop.

OSX Tutorial - Mission Control - Step 4

Step 4: Desktops galore
Once a desktop is looking cluttered, simply add another. You can have up to sixteen in total, so there’s plenty of room for all of your windows.

OSX Tutorial - Mission Control - Step 5

Step 5: Background basics
You can change the background of any one of your desktops; this is useful for differentiating between projects as well as personal and professional work.

OSX Tutorial - Mission Control - Step 6

Step 6: A space for full-screen
When you put an app into full-screen it will create its own space; you’ll see this in Mission Control but you wont be able to drop other windows into it.

OSX Tutorial - Mission Control - Step 7

Step 7: Swipe through screens
Use a three-fingered swipe to switch between spaces. This allows your to quickly move windows between different desktops.

OSX Tutorial - Mission Control - Step 8

Step 8: Customise with preferences
Under the Mission Control pane in System Preferences you’ll find ways to edit Mission Control keyboard shortcuts as well as Hot Corners.

OSX Tutorial - Mission Control - Step 9

Step 9: Decide on Dashboard
In Lion, Dashboard occupies its own space by default. If you don’t like this, however, simply uncheck its relevant checkbox.

Click on the image below to zoom in and view the annotations.

OSX Tutorial - Mission Control - Annotated

This tutorial is the third in our Learn Lion Week series, for more articles just like this visit the Learn Lion Week tag. At the end of the week, we’ll be giving away a prize to one lucky person who gets in touch with a question or problem related to OS X Lion. To get involved, simply tweet your question, plus the hashtag #LearnLionWeek, to @iCreateMagazine or post on our Facebook wall.

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