Navigating OS X more quickly

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Let's Sekuhara!, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. Let's Sekuhara! macrumors 6502

    Let's Sekuhara!

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Location:
    日本
    #1
    I am on a quest to find the fastest way to navigate OS X.

    I will list the navigation methods and their pros and cons.

    Minimizing and maximizing individual windows
    Pros:
    - Gets the window out of your way with minimal fuss.
    Cons:
    - When trying to maximize the window again you have to do some searching in the dock.

    Using Cmd+Tab to select your app
    Pros:
    - Speedy, especially when used in conjunction with Hide (Cmd+H).
    - In Leopard we can now access the last minimized window as well.
    Cons:
    - We still cannot access every minimized window - only the last one.
    - Not all apps respond to Cmd+H (ProTools, I'm talking to you). This means we must minimize, and when we minimize Cmd+Tab becomes less effective.
    - Upon un-hiding an app, you are confronted with all of its windows - not just the one you wanted.

    Exposé
    Pros:
    - Quickly accessible.
    - Visually intuitive.
    Cons:
    - Minimized windows aren't accessible from Exposé.

    Spaces
    Pros:
    - Each space fully customizable. Quickly accessible.
    Cons:
    - Requires a moment of initial setup.

    So you see, each method has its pros and cons, but none have ever struck me as the perfect solution. I was wondering if a third party app like Quicksilver could be tweaked to overcome these obstacles or if anyone had any other suggestions.
     
  2. NAG macrumors 68030

    NAG

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2003
    Location:
    /usr/local/apps/nag
    #2
    Why not use all the methods given to you? They're there for a reason.

    And since you brought up quicksilver, I assume that means you're just looking for a way to continue the CLI metaphor into the GUI. That really won't work.
     
  3. decksnap macrumors 68040

    decksnap

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    #3
    Just use the command + tab, but with command + ~ as well, and never minimize any windows. This is the fastest way to do it.
     
  4. Let's Sekuhara! thread starter macrumors 6502

    Let's Sekuhara!

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Location:
    日本
    #4
    @NAG: Yes, I agree that each method is there for a reason and has its place. And I DO find myself using all of the methods. That's sort of the problem because I often can't remember where I put something. I look in the dock for a window that's still maximized, or I try to use Exposé to find a window that I've minimized to the dock. :confused:

    I'm not familiar with the CLI metaphor as I've not used Quicksilver - still trying to determine if it does what I'm looking to do.

    @decksnap: there are two aspects of that method I'm not really into.
    (1) When you tab to an app ALL of its windows will be brought to the front - not just the one you're looking for. I typically have about 5 Finder windows open at any given time, so it turns into a mess.
    (2) There are windows from other apps still visible in the background distracting my focus from the one at hand.

    Still open to suggestions...
     
  5. decksnap macrumors 68040

    decksnap

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    #5
    Try moving your expose buttons to F1-F4 (the left side) Then you can use Apple+tab, Apple+~, and expose all from one little spot. There really couldn't be a quicker way to get to the window you want. Personally I've never had a problem with background windows being distracting. They're not the windows I'm looking at.
     
  6. mongrol macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    #6
    I agree this is irritating. COupled with Mac's SDI interface with windowfrenzy is gets painful switching between large apps (try xcode, IB and Photoshop at once). When switching to an app doing apple+option+H will hide all the other windows in any background apps. An extra keypress but the best we have atm.
     
  7. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #7
    Use the Terminal. There is no faster method.
     
  8. Let's Sekuhara! thread starter macrumors 6502

    Let's Sekuhara!

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Location:
    日本
    #8
    Thanks for that tip, mongrol! That's a good one.

    As for speed, the best solution I've found so far is:
    Hide each app then Cmd+Tab to the next. Hiding works in most apps (Photoshop and ProTools are exceptions). Then for apps that usually have many windows open (like Finder), use Spaces and designate a space for each such app.

    My dream navigation system would be one that looks like the Cmd+Tab menu, but with a vertical drop-down below each app where where its individual windows would be listed with a preview icon and superimposed window title.
    In case any generous developers out there are reading... ;)
     
  9. mongrol macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    #9
    Isn't that Witch?
     
  10. ihabime macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    #10
    I second that, Witch is fantastic. It's Command Tab extended to individual windows and you can minimize, unminimize, hide, unhide, reopen and close windows from the keyboard.
     
  11. tallguy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Location:
    Canada
    #11
    I've tried most of those methods and I like spaces the best. Using spaces doesn't require any movement of windows and I just like it for some reason even if it might not be the fastest way.
     
  12. Let's Sekuhara! thread starter macrumors 6502

    Let's Sekuhara!

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Location:
    日本
    #12
    I recently learned a very useful shortcut: Cmd+~ will toggle between the various windows of an app.

    That in conjunction with Cmd+Tab should do the trick. I'll just make a habit of hiding each app before switching to the next. If that method still leaves something to be desired I will dish out the whopping $15 for Witch.

    Thanks for the ideas!
     
  13. decksnap macrumors 68040

    decksnap

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
  14. Let's Sekuhara! thread starter macrumors 6502

    Let's Sekuhara!

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Location:
    日本
    #14
    Oh...so you did. *feels the salt pouring on* Gotta read more carefully. :)
     

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