Revived: Exposé vs. Spaces

Discussion in 'macOS' started by revelated, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. revelated macrumors 6502a


    Jun 30, 2010
    Yes, I did searches. Yes I read previous threads. Yes, some of them are directly relevant. But they're old, and instead of reviving from the dead, I will open a new thread with a slightly different variant on the basic question presented here:

    That question: Spaces...huh....yeah. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing (say it again). At least in my personal opinion. And I'm open to other opinions about this, because maybe I need to "hold it differently". So no smarmy remarks. This isn't a bash thread, it's an open question.

    I'm an MCSA and a MCTS. I use Windows and OS X interchangeably to do what the other cannot do or does not do, or does not do as easily or efficiently. So for example, when I'm giving a presentation, I use Keynote because I can design significantly more professional-looking presentations with that than with PowerPoint, faster. If I'm publishing YouTube videos I use Live Movie Maker, because it does it with little brain power required. Etc and so on.

    Now, I've been diving more and more into the world of Snow Leopard to make sure I maximize how I use that side of the spectrum, and there are odd times I will use Exposé to navigate between what I've got open, but I admit handily that 99% of the time I just go to the dock to reopen an open application window. I'm trying to get better at it, but for some reason I find it easier to just go to the Dock; likely a hold over from the XP days. Exposé seems to present a very slick way to manage this without relying on the dock every single time. My question: What makes Spaces superior or complimentary to Exposé such that a person becomes more efficient? No rants, just use cases, practical use cases.

    Work under the assumption that the user is capable of proper separation of duties - personal on personal time and work on work time and the two never cross. Work also under the assumption that if an app is no longer used, it is closed (meaning certain apps are not left open persistently). With those assumptions, can someone provide me a valid use case for Spaces, with or without Exposé?
  2. bobr1952 macrumors 68020


    Jan 21, 2008
    Melbourne, FL
    Not really sure if you can call this an argument--either you use it or not--just like a lot of features in OS-X or any other operating system. Personally, I use spaces every day. I don't like to minimize open programs--I like them to be up on the screen at all times when I have them open. But I don't like a cluttered screen--so I always have stuff on all 4 screens to keep my work space clean. Like Pandora--that will be in one window open but I never go there. Or Fetch, I am uploading or downloading--don't need to look at that but I'll have it on a different screen. Or maybe Firefox and Safari--each on a different screen. That how I like to do it and so for me, I love spaces. :D
  3. Xavier macrumors 68030

    Mar 23, 2006
    I do not think that Spaces is a time saver. Its just a fancy way to organize windows so that you dont have a lot open on one screen.

    Personally, I either minimize or hide an application that I wish to remain open. I never use spaces.
  4. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Personal preference.
  5. revelated thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 30, 2010
    Note the bold. I use Pandora on occasion. But it's just playing music in the background. Why do you want it open when it's just playing music? One could use Growl notifications to tell you what artist/song is playing, so it can just be minimized into the Dock and allowed to run free. Then if you wanted to bookmark the song or buy the song, you could maximize for that, then minimize it again.

    The same applies for other apps. If I'm downloading I can minimize the window and let Growl tell me what's going on. If I'm working in one app - say, Garageband - and don't want to see the other windows, I just minimize them until I need them. So why would one want to put them in a space versus minimize and maximize as needed? I know it's personal preference, but I want to understand that preference.

    And I'll share why I'm wondering about this. Initially I thought Spaces was a way that I could segment my visible window into quadrants. That would be useful, because then I could multi task on the one window without any extra keystrokes or effort to switch between active apps. I also close apps that I'm not using at that moment and open them when needed; the SSD makes it to where this is so fast that it just doesn't matter. So I'm trying to see if there's something I'm missing about this app as far as functionality that makes it more than what it appears.
  6. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    For running multiple VMs and VNCs, Spaces is a must. I don't have a use for it but I know people who can easily use more than 5 spaces.
  7. bobr1952 macrumors 68020


    Jan 21, 2008
    Melbourne, FL
    No, you are not missing anything. Others here have said it as well, personal preference. I just happen to like having the little Pandora app up in the left hand corner of my screen when I am streaming music--I also use Growl. It serves no purpose other than I like it that way--and that is what personal preference is all about. One thing that sounds illogical to one will make perfect sense to someone else. Use Spaces if you like it--otherwise ignore it. :cool:
  8. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    At home I've got an external monitor on my iMac (27" of display isn't enough!), which reduces my need for Spaces, but I still use it, usually to separate projects. For instance I've got video processing in iMovie in one space, while I've got this browser and my mail open in a second, waiting for the video processing to complete. I was using a third earlier because I was importing photos into Aperture and examining them while the video was still processing.

    But Spaces really shines for me with my 13" Macbook in class (I'm a part-time instructor). One Space has a Windows VM running Electrical $Engineering software, a second runs Keynote, a third has a browser aimed at course materials, and a forth is used for a control panel for iShowU which records my lectures.

    I also use Expose at home, but Spaces rules in class.
  9. gorby macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2007
    I still haven't really found a use for Spaces yet. Despite having recently upgraded from Tiger, I haven't even activated spaces once yet.

    I feel like it would actually be less productive for the way I work--- expose, app. expose and show desk pretty well cover it so far.

    I still think it's neat though, and I'm glad it's there. Perhaps I'll find a use for it some day!
  10. MBX macrumors 68000

    Sep 14, 2006
    Your opinion, OP.

    I think spaces are perfectly useful in grouping applications for each space for an even better workflow.
  11. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    What Hellhammer said (below). I use two spaces at work -- one for my native OS X stuff (Lotus Notes, Microsoft Office, Remote Desktop Connection, etc), and the other space for a VMware Fusion Win7 machine (for all of my MSSQL admin/monitoring tools).

    I could live without Spaces, but it'd be a jumbled, cluttered mess having to minimize/maximize my VM to easily get to my other apps.

    And what's with all of the assumptions you have to pile on to make your point? I find a use for Spaces at home to leave Quicken 2007 open in its own space (because it uses multiple separate windows), even though I only use it once a day. Perfectly valid use case.

  12. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Bingo. It's almost a necessity on a small screen. I also find that it depends on if your mind is cluttered or organized. My is cluttered (my memory is awful) and it helps me to organize my desk and Mac desktop to be productive. Others I know, think Albert Einstein, can have extremely cluttered work areas but can easily be productive.
  13. iPhysicist macrumors 65816


    Nov 9, 2009
    I can't imagine to be without spaces anymore. I use spaces and exposure the whole time and I love its possibilities! One space is primary for media stuff, one is "my office", one is my "preview, reading etc.." one is for "everything else". You can move windows between spaces and use it like rooms (i.e. living room, office, etc)...
  14. Caleb531 macrumors 6502


    Oct 17, 2009
    I work with four spaces; each for a collection of similar apps.

    1. Space 1: My general space for web browsing and miscellaneous stuff
    2. Space 2: Mail, iCal, and other productivity apps
    3. Space 3: iWork apps
    4. Space 4: iTunes, iLife, Photoshop, and whatever else requires a bit of screen real-estate
  15. revelated thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 30, 2010
    If you read the thread I linked to, a common use case is that people at work "hide" their personal apps like Facebook and whatnot in a space and their work apps in another. Just needed it clear that I don't do that. Also some have used persistently opened apps as a use case which, again, doesn't apply.
  16. santaliqueur macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2007
    Same here, pretty much. I love having everything open, not having to wait, and having screen real estate too. So easy to ctrl-arrow to each space too.

    Personal preferences of course, but it's quite convenient for me.
  17. Salacion macrumors 6502a

    Apr 8, 2010
    Space 1: Normality
    Space 2: Occupied by Porn, hidden away from the girlyfriend. Ha, she thinks I'm working.

    Don't really see any other use for it?
  18. Corndog5595 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2010
    I use Exposé way more than I go to the dock. And I use Spaces on occasion but not very often. I have tried to get used to it, like keeping iTunes open in one space, desktop app in another, etc.

    I think I am turned off by it because whenever an app needs attention (or maybe this is just clunky iTunes), it will automatically switch spaces on you.

    Come to think of it, it just might be iTunes only. Whenever I am syncing it will switch spaces automatically on me when it changes from, for example, syncing songs to syncing mail accounts. So every time I plug in my iPod touch I will get thrown out of whatever I am doing about 3 or 4 times.

    I also tried it with Adium,, and Mail in one, Safari and stuff in another. This didn’t work out because Adium and Mail are too needy and I don’t like switching spaces every time a friend sends me a message on MSN.

    tl;dr version: Spaces just isn’t for me I guess, but I absolutely love Exposé.
  19. Surely Guest


    Oct 27, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA

    Space 1: Safari, Mail
    Space 2: Firefox, iMovie, iCal
    Space 3: iTunes, iPhoto (great for when I sync my iPhone & iPad)
    Space 4: Pages, Numbers
  20. wilsonhaven macrumors member

    Oct 12, 2009
    I use 9 spaces. My standard apps that I use go into the same spaces every time.
  21. abc123 macrumors 6502

    Apr 26, 2004
    I used desktop manager on tiger for a long time (maybe even panther too) and found it incredibly useful for organising research, etc when writing papers. For those who don't know it, it was a little app that performed basically the exact same function as spaces (if you can find it, it still functions under snow leopard).

    I tried out spaces the other day for the same purpose and found my computer struggled a lot and programs kept becoming unresponsive, especially firefox. I also found it more complicated to use though that was probably because I was expecting it to behave as desktop manger does. I'll give it a few more tries.

    I only use it when I'm working on papers, etc though. I'm interested to hear how people use it for everyday use.
  22. Mac-key macrumors 6502a

    Apr 1, 2010
    You know when I first got my 13MBP - which was a year ago today by the way - I thought spaces was just stupid. I mean, really why move around to different "spaces" when you can just use expose (which i LOVE by the way).

    But as everyone says - it comes down to personal preference, AND it comes down to how you use your machine.

    Here's the deal, I run my internet browser, skype, iCal, mail and stickies ALL THE TIME - so in space 1 that's my set-up. I also do lots of video editing and color correction. I soon found out when throw in FCP, space 1 was a jumbled mess. And the way my brain works - I just like have things in their place, or "space":)

    So, I run my FCP suite in space 2 (for example, right now I'm rendering out some video from Color), do some occasion writing and other focused work stuff on space 3 and keep everything else open in space 1.

    just works for me, but OP I get the way you feel - I felt the same way a year ago.
  23. Bisz macrumors regular

    Apr 19, 2010
    ON, Canada
    I use spaces to help me keep things organized how I like them.

    On one space I have Transmission opened and filling the left side of the screen and on the right side of the screen I have Finder opened to the folder where all my things are downloading. So, when I want to check on the download status or look at the most recently downloaded files I go to this space, usually by just clicking on the Transmission icon in the Dock. Boom, I access an entire workspace, organized how I want it, with just 1 click.

    I have another space that's dedicated to iTunes, Mail and other major, but mostly background, apps like this. Each app is maximized to fill the screen. I access this space by clicking the app's icon in the Dock.

    Why does the above have to be its own space?

    Because I have another space that's got all of my primary apps, so Safari, Firefox, Office, ie stuff I activley use and if I'm not using it I close the app. This space is really the only one I use Expose on to switch between multiple windows of the same app, and I don't want my Expose to be cluttered with all of the "background" apps. I want to quickly go from my word processor to my spreadsheet to the Safari window and back again, and to do that most efficiently those three windows are all I want to see in Expose.

    One quick thing, I have a mouse button set up to open Expose, so is insanely quick for me to hit that button, move my mouse a tiny bit to hover over the window I want to switch to, and then left click.
  24. boscobilly macrumors newbie


    Oct 14, 2010
    Expose' and Spaces

    If you activate Spaces with Expose' (upper left corner for me), you can run up to 16 separate apps in their own Space. I'm running Leopard. Snow Leopard may give you more Spaces than that. Linux let's you run separate desktops with different backgrounds if you want. I think you can do the same in Leopard if you run an app like Space Suit, but that's for another question, I guess.

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