Join Chad Chelius for an in-depth discussion in this video Mission Control, part of Learning Mac OS X Mountain Lion.
Mission Control is a centralized area for managing open application windows on your Mac. As you work with more and more applications, the process of keeping track of open windows and the like becomes more complex. Mission Control aims to simplify that process. Let me show you how it works. In the Finder, we can come down to the Dock at the bottom of the screen, and you'll notice that we have an icon for Mission Control. Now, if you have sort of customized your icon, you can always add it in by finding Mission Control in your Applications folder, located right here. So, just drag that down and drop it in here and you can access it once again from the Dock.
You can also access Mission Control using a keyboard shortcut, which is F9. So, I'm going to go ahead and click on Mission Control, and you're going to be able to see that our screen changes to a different appearance. Now, there's two things going on here. The main window is going to show you all of your open application windows. While up here at the top we have what are called spaces. Which are basically multiple different desktops to help you work more efficiently. Now I'm going to go ahead and press Escape to get out of mission control and to show you really how this works, we're going to go to the File menu and I'm going to create a couple of Finder windows.
So, I'm going to go ahead and just kind of re-size this window over here. Maybe I'll make this one show my applications, I'm going to create yet another Finder window and this is going to show my Documents folder. Maybe I'll set that to a different view. And then, let's create one more. And maybe this one is going to be showing my Pictures folder and maybe I'll just open that Fun Pics folder so, you can see within the Finder I have multiple windows open. And if you've worked on the Mac for an extensive period of time, you know that often times your windows overlap each other and they can be difficult to access.
So, what we can do is if we launch the Mission Control application, you can see now that all of the windows that are opened by the Finder are going to be grouped categorically. And as you hover over each window, they get highlighted, so you can click on them, to bring it forward and access that window. Now let's take it step further. I'm going to launch Safari, and we're going to go to a couple websites. I'm going to start with Apple, then I'll go to the File menu and choose New Window to open up another browser window.
This one will go to a different website. And let's just do one more so we have a total of three. There we go. Now, if I access Mission Control again, you're going to notice now, that the Finder windows are grouped over here, and the Safari windows are grouped over here. And if I wanted to get to the Apple browser window, I just hover over it, click on it, and that's going to open up that window.
Now in addition, when we access Mission Control, I'm going to click on that one more time, you can also see up here at the top, we have what are called spaces. Now by default and in the preferences, the dashboard is set as a space so we can click on that. And that's going to access our Dashboard. I'm going to go ahead and press Escape to get out of there and I'm going to go back to Mission Control. And here is our desktop. Now the purpose of Spaces is to help you work a little bit more efficiently, because if I click on this desktop you can see I have a ton of windows open.
And we can close them, we can minimize them, we can move them out of the way, but at the end of the day, they're going to be cumbersome to work with. So, what spaces allows us to do is create additional desktops, let me show you how it works. Click on Mission Control, I'm going to move my cursor up here into the upper right corner and you'll see a plus sign. I'm going to click the plus sign, and you'll notice now I have a second desktop. If I click on this one, it's still the same user account, it's still the same desktop folder. However this particular desktop has windows on it. I can show you this another way.
We'll go ahead and create another Finder window. You can see its going to open it up inside of that particular space. So, I go back to Mission Control, click on desktop two. Now as you can see, we have no windows. So, if I go to new Finder window, I'm going to set this one to show my downloads folder. And maybe what we'll do is just position this down here, re-size it, we can even customize this. I'm going to go to the view menu and choose Hide path bar, and hide side bar. And even hide tool bar.
So now we just have a window that's showing us some basic information. Maybe I want to use it as reference. So, if I access mission control we can see the two desktops over here. If I click on the first one that shows me the desktop with all my windows. But if I go back up there and click on the second desktop, it's going to show me the one I just customized. So this can be really helpful when you are working on multiple projects and you have to have different windows open. Those different desktops can be really helpful. So those are referred to as spaces. Now, we have additional options that help us to customize Mission Control. Let's take a look at those.
I'm going to go to the Apple menu, I'm going to choose System Preferences, and then up here at the top, under the personal category, I'm going to choose Mission Control. So, what this allows me to do, is the first option show dashboard as a space. That's why when I access mission control, it actually shows the dashboard as its own particular space. Go ahead and go back here. The second one automatically rearranged spaces based on most recent use. That's what creates the organization of those spaces based on the one that I used last.
Also, when switching to an application switch to a space with open windows for the application so it just makes it a little bit easier to work. And then I also wanted to group the windows by application. If I turn that off and I go to mission control. The windows will no longer be grouped by application, as you can see here. So, let's go ahead and go back to the space that we were working in, and I'll turn that back on. Finally, I want to show you there are shortcuts that are assigned to different things here.
F9 is going to activate mission control. F10 is going to show me only the application windows. So, this is better to see, if I switch to my first desktop and I hit F10, you can see the current application is the Finder, and it's showing me every window that that application has opened. Pretty nice. So I'll go back here. F11 is going to hide everything on my screen, so that I can see the desktop behind those windows. Press F11 again and it'll bring em back.
And then F12 is going to show the dashboard. I'm going to go ahead and hit F12 again. If you wanted to clean up, your dashboard, and your spaces, we can quit out of system preferences. I'm going to hit F9 to access mission control. And you can hover over one of these spaces, and an X is going to appear. Now, the first desktop is always going to exist. You always need at least one. But after that, you're able to come up here, click on the X to get rid of that space, and then you can just press Esc to return back to your main window. So, when it comes to managing application windows and even multiple desktops, Mission Control doesn't disappoint.
By making it easy to access all of your open windows, and even start with a clean desktop when needed, Mission Control is second to none.
- Installing Mountain Lion
- Creating and logging in to a user account
- Setting parental controls
- Customizing the Finder window toolbar
- Sharing files between users
- Browsing the web with Safari
- Sending and receiving email
- Installing applications
- Using Reminders, Notes, Messages, and the Notification Center
- Backing up and restoring files with Time Machine