Improve OS X window management with Moom

Improve OS X window management with Moom

Summary: The windowing scheme in OS X hasn't changed much in 10 years and frankly, leaves a lot to be desired - especially for users migrating from Windows. Luckily, third-party apps can help fill the gap.

TOPICS: Apple, Software

Mac users are well aware of the nuances of Apple's windowing scheme and probably use it like second nature. The problem is that users migration to OS X from Windows may miss some of the windowing shortcuts that they were used to. The traditional red, yellow, and green buttons in the upper left-hand corner of windows in the OS X Finder act pretty much like their equivalents in Windows; however, window dragging leaves a lot to be desired in OS X.

For example, copying a file from one folder to another requires a lot of window gymnastics in OS X. There's a lot of manual window positioning required to place two windows adjacent to each other. Luckily, there are several third-party apps for OS X that streamline window management. 

Moom ($10, free trial) is my favorite. It adds a new submenu to the familiar green button in OS X that does more than just zoom the window to its previous size (its current behavior). The Moom submenu (pictured below) allows you to easily move and zoom a window to the top, bottom, left, or right of your screen. 

Improve OS X window management with third-party software (Moom) - Jason O'Grady

In addition to the five new choices in the Moom submenu, holding the option key changes the choices from half-size windows (which can be too big on a large monitor) to quarter-size windows that are a little more manageable. Moom also includes a cool grid system that allows you to quickly choose the window location by dragging across a small grid. And for switchers, Moom includes the familiar snap-to-edges feature built into Windows.

Other apps in the OS X window management category include Cinch ($7) and Window Magnet ($1). Although it costs more than the others, the additional features in Moom (like the grid and custom window controls that allow you to save window position snapshots) make it worth the extra money for me. Moom's so useful that you'll wonder how you worked without it. It really should be baked into the OS. 

Topics: Apple, Software

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  • OS X could take over if...

    If they made their OS more friendly to running numerous applications spread across multiple large monitors, Apple could pick up a lot of unhappy users who hate the way Windows 8 has crippled multiple monitor productivity. One thing they would need to adjust is attaching the menus to each open application, rather than the top edge of a single screen. When I have a dozen applications open across 3 large displays, it's difficult to tell which application window the menu bar belongs to. I have clicked on a menu item only to have it change the document in the wrong window. If the menus were ON the window, there would never be any confusion.

    They should look at how Windows 7 did most things and copy what they can. Windows 7 was the most popular operating system ever. Microsoft are idiots for abandoning that user interface in favor of a Fischer-Price interface.
    • Dual monitors

      Good point that those migrating from Windows might miss the menus over the windows. Old time Mac users are used to not having that. I tend to use shortcuts most of the time.
      But there is a utility that brings the menus to the cursor with a right click...the name escapes me...that might be a solution.

      Regarding the finder and moving items between windows, I use a utility called TotalFinder which opens finder windows in tabs as well as opening two side by side with a double click.
    • Multi-Mon support in Windows 8 is excellent

      I don't know where you got that information about it being crippled in Windows 8, in fact, the Display Settings Control Panel item makes it easy for you to position your windows according to your monitors physical layout, whether top, bottom, left, right. You can have Start Screen on one screen and traditional desktop on another, you can have 3 separate desktops with their own Taskbar for easy access to launching apps, you can snap metro apps with the desktop so you can interact with classic and modern apps, can maximize an app on one monitor and it does not affect the other monitor, full screen apps on OS X leave the monitor blank. The keyboard commands make it easy to setup, Windows key + P allowing to quickly duplicate or extend your monitor screen, you can apply specific wallpapers to a particular desktop if you wish.

      So seriously, do not comment BS if you don't use the product, because you obviously don't.
      • That's the problem with that new start screen

        Why would I want to waste a whole monitor on it? I usually keep my mail in one window as well as Internet Explorer, and Visual Studio in the other. I don't love the idea of losing one of my entire monitors every time I hit the windows key.
        • You can still do that

          I think you are confusing start screen as another desktop, it is not !

          Basically it is a touch friendly and powerful replacement for the earlier Start button and Menu. On regular desktop nothing changes, it is as is in Windows 7.

          Windows 8 is the best UI in the market, understand the basics and spend some time. In few days you will find all other UI's pathetically outdated, including OSX.
          • You must be being paid by Microsoft.

            Windows 8 is notthe best UI in the market. It may the most different. Microsoft messed up when they decided to force everyone to move into the direction they wanted. If they would have given choice of what enviroment the user wanted to use then everything would be ok. Some could choose the stupid tile other the normal desktop. And don't say that certain apps are tied to the metro UI because they could be wrote to interact in both enviroments. Windows 8 stinks like a baby poop. Mr. Microsoft.
            Edwin Combs
      • Yeah....


        Did you say Excellent?

        How you can remove the Modern UI from occypying another display and get a two-three monitor to be showing only a desktops?

        How you can remove the desktop from taking rest of displays and drag'n'drop and scale all modern apps to any display and any edge as you like?
        • You want cake...

          And ice cream? How can you bitch about the modern UI and then say you want to use the new apps for it? Why would you?

          To answer your first question, all you do is click the "Desktop tile". All monitor switch the the desktop. From there you never have to leave the desktop, as all your normal Windows XP/7 apps will just be there, or can be added to the desktop or task bar.

          The hot-corners are available on each monitor... so if you do want a modern app on a particular monitor, swipe or use the hot-corner (or mouse) on the left side to tap/click it and it wil appear there instead. It's very easy. I run Windows 8 in a three-screen setup, and my wife manages a dual-screen without anything but a 2 minutes how-to when i first added the second screen (same time I added Windows 8). She loves it.

          It's not hard people. Try before you believe in all the negative rants and criticise it.
    • The Problem With Your Fud There Elmer

      is that the 'Desktop Mode' in Windows8 is almost 'Identical' to that which is found in Windows7 and as such, to suggest that it was abandoned is an outright lie!

      Windows8 has 2 interfaces - neither of which require third party apps to make them fully functional.

      Apples success came from dumbing down their operating systems so that users with median minus ten points on the IQ scale would be able to use their products with limited complications.

      What this article suggests is that third party apps are required to bring this OS up a couple notches in order to make it more functional for users with higher cognitive skills.
      • Nonsense

        OS X is a full certified UNIX, and has the ability to run the full slate of C shell functions, as well as x11 applications. It can be used as a full all-out scientific workstation. People who say this sort of nonsense clearly have never even touched a Mac.
        • Wrong.

          The Mach kernel is great, but Apple's modifications to the system no lnger makes it a "certified UNIX". They have stuffed things around so much, and removed tso many important tools, that it is no longer anything like the BSD on which parts were based. You, clearly believe everything you hear about Macs and have never tried any of the things you're claiming as the truth.
          • uh?

            I do development on the Mac, pretty hard core server-side stuff (Lisp, C, and Assembly). The Mac *is* Unix, however you want to slice it. Give me one example of something you'd do on Unix that you can't do on a Mac (of course some specific utilities might a be a bit different, but there are technical reasons for that).
    • They probably could but...

      Apple seems intently focused on laptops as far as computers go. So I don't expect they will spend much time working on improving the situation for multiple monitors.
      • Apple and dual monitors

        I agree that they could support it a bit better and I'm thinking mainly of full screen mode.

        But it is interesting that Apple machines and OS supported dual monitors before Windows ever did.
        • Hmmm...

          So I must have been dreaming when I was rocking two CRTs, while Mac users just kept getting a single larger CRT (in the beige and early new-colour) Mac days.
          • Yes, I think so.

            I remember that you could add any Mac compatable video card and it would run a second monitor, plug and drivers required. At the time, if you wanted two monitors on a Windows PC you had to have specially matched video cards, drivers and even then there were resolution wasn't even close competition. At that time the standard response from the Windows community was "why would you want more than one display."

            This was back around Mac OS 6 or so, before OS X and I don't remember which flavour of Windows was out.
    • We Don't Call Them Problems. We Call Them Stand-Up Material

      Who wants or cares for OS X to take over. Frankly, iOS and Android are taking over, with desktop oses being relegated to an ever smaller share of personal computing. Any way, Apple is not in the os business, any more than certain restaurants are in the pretty waitress business. it's a choice they make so as to differentiate the product and add value for some customers. If not you, so be it.

      Single menu at top is Apple's style going back to 1984. Apple has done okay with switchers over the years.

      Now, I will say this. Apple hasn't really solved the issue of files that are opened by different applications in different contexts and the iCloud os hooks bring complications with their benefits.

      As an example, Pages is on the iOS devices and the Mac and iCloud synchronizing has worked well for me. Now TextEdit can produce files that Pages could display and manipulate, but TextEdit is OS X only, so items put into TextEdit's iCloud don't appear on my iPad. This is true even if we were talking about operating strictly within an OS X context. Is there a way for a single file to appear in the cloud to both applications at the same time? Beats me.

      I get that it's a many-to-many problem and these are quite complex to tackle, let alone tackle without making everyday users have to know too much about file systems and volume managers.

      Microsoft seems to have a better setup conceptually, but I have my suspicions that contracts still leaves a bit of ambiguity and complexity. Even so, its an annoyance regarding iCloud/OS X/iOS but doesn't really stop me from getting things done, and not worth me abandoning my applications and workflow.

      Oh yeah, the other day I clicked something on a Windows 7 menu and realized that I had done something to the window that was under the top window, but whose menu was visible above the top window's menu. "!#$@#$@# Windows I thought. Single menu/top window is so much better."

      So nothing's perfect and everyone's going to full-window interfaces because multiple windows on a smartphone would be craaaaazy and the money is in mobile. Power user take note. Habits will change.
    • NO, no, no, no, no, no!

      Attaching the menu bar to the application window is an absolutely HORRIBLE idea. Why in the world do you want to clip the information in your menu to the width of your application window? Talk about wasting screen real estate. It's the same reason I despise the locking of toolbars into the document window. Why should I have redundant toolbars in two Word documents that I'm comparing side by side? Why should I have to expand my document window to a ridiculous width just to see my toolbar commands or have to go through additional clicks to see a drop-down menu of buttons? One of the stupidest design decisions Apple made was their move to put toolbars into document windows instead of having them as free-floating palettes.
    • crippled

      I think not aside from the debatable windows 8 UI(metro) start screen the multi monitor support has improved.
  • Window Management ... More

    Another Mac OS X windows management utility that I like a lot is TotalFinder — it implements tabbed windows in the Finder interface and makes moving files and comparing folders much easier. Even in the "raw" Finder interface, there isn't the need to have both the source and target folders showing to copy or move a file. Highlight the file you want to copy or move and press command-c or command-x (or two-finger click or ctrl-click a file or choose Copy/Cut from the Edit menu), navigate to the target folder and paste the file using one of multiple options (command-v, etc.).