How to Use Mission Control on a Mac

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Mission Control or Spaces on a Mac

In OS X Leopard, Apple added a feature called Spaces, and then in Lion it was upgraded to “Mission Control.” This is a tool that lets you see every application you have open in every virtual window on your Mac. You can also use Mission Control to switch between applications or move applications to different virtual windows. Here's how.

1. Open System Preferences and navigate to the Mission Control tab. You can change the options to suit your needs and set hot keys to open Mission Control, show your application windows and the desktop, and show your dashboard.

System Preferences - Mission Control

2. Click on Hot Corners to display and set what happens when you drag your mouse to the various corners of you monitor. This is a fast way to get to the functions you use most. Click OK when you have them set the way you like. Be sure that at least one hot corner or hot key is set to Mission Control.

Hot Corners

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3. Click your hot key or corner to open Mission Control. Here you will see your virtual windows (Mac calls them desktops) across the top of the screen. You can have up to 18 virtual windows.

Mission Control

4. Click and drag an app to move it to a different virtual window.

Drag an app to a new virtual window

5. Hover your mouse over a virtual window, and click the X that appears to delete the window. If you delete a window with applications open in it, they will automatically move to the current virtual window.

click the x to remove a desktop

6. Move your mouse to the upper right and wait for a plus icon to appear. Click that icon to add a new space.

click the plus icon

7. Click and drag a window to move it to a new location. You can swap between windows by typing Ctrl-left-arrow and Ctrl-right-arrow.

drag a virtual window

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Jennifer Kyrnin
Jennifer Kyrnin,
Jennifer Kyrnin has been building websites since 1995, and teaching others how to do it since 1997. She's written several books on the topic, and is probably working on another one right now. And she does it all on her beloved iMac and sometimes her MacBook Air.
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