Spaces in OSX across dual-monitors: What am I missing?

Discussion in 'OS X Yosemite (10.10)' started by Cassady, May 27, 2015.

  1. Cassady, May 27, 2015
    Last edited: May 27, 2015

    Cassady macrumors 6502a


    Jul 7, 2012
    Hello all!

    Would appreciate some suggestions about the above – although, not sure this is a specific Yosemite 'problem' – might simply be how things always were?

    PLEASE advise on the following annoyance!?:

    I plug my MBP into an external monitor almost all the time.
    I also use several Spaces/Desktops across both screens.

    Typically, Scrivener is open on the external monitor, on Space/Desktop 1.
    Devonthink is also open on the external, on Space/Desktop 2.
    Safari = Space/Desktop 3 etc.
    All the "main windows" of my most-frequently used apps, are spread across different Spaces/Desktops, on the EXTERNAL monitor.

    1.) Assume I'm writing in Scrivener [Space/Desktop 1 – External monitor].

    2.) I 4-finger swipe/use the Cmd+tab app switcher, to jump over to Devonthink [Space/Desktop 2 – External monitor].

    3.) I find a pdf I want to refer to back in Scrivener, and so open it in a SEPARATE window.

    4.) I MOVE the PDF article/window (in its separate Devonthink window) over to the Macbook screen [Space/Screen 10 – Macbook].

    5.) I jump back to Scrivener. I can now type in Scrivener, with the PDF I'm referring to, open on the Macbook.

    So far – so good. I might even have several Devonthink 'windows' open, stacked behind one another, on the Macbook screen.

    Now for the annoyance!and call for help!

    Assume I want to go back to the MAIN Devonthink database window, that's on Space/Desktop 2, on the EXTERNAL monitor.

    If I invoke the App-Switcher (which is quicker than swiping etc., and keeps my hands on the keyboard) and select Devonthink, it does not switch me back over to Screen/Desktop 2. Instead, the front-most Devonthink window, over on the Macbook, gets activated.

    Using CMD+` also only switches between the various Devonthink windows over on the Macbook screen. In other words, the only way to have the EXTERNAL monitor switch back to Space/Desktop 2, is by either using the swipe [or the CTRL+arrow shortcut]....

    I realise the latter is a "solution"... But [1st world problems] I'm so used to using the app-switcher, that I trigger it first, whilst staring at the External, expecting Devonthink (or whatever) to pop up. A few seconds later, and several key presses, I'm back to using the other options... It's wasted seconds that add up quickly, when it's being done hundreds of times a day. Furthermore, when I have many apps spread across several spaces, the alternative options are simply not as quick as using the app-switcher...

    I hope I've made my problem clear...Does anyone have a suggestion? Or is this pretty much as good as it gets? I'm hoping I'm missing a preferences setting somewhere – or that they might be an alternative "window-switcher" somewhere??

    Would really appreciate some help!

    TL: DR >> Can you use the App-Switcher/something else to toggle through open windows of an application, that are spread across multiple screens?

    [EDIT:] Keyboard Maestro's WINDOW-switcher, had me hopeful for a second, but it falls into the same trap: Upon selection, it only allows switching between the active windows on the Macbook screen, and NOT back to the main database screen on the External...

    Am I the only one that finds that behaviour odd?
  2. Cassady thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 7, 2012
    Figured more people would struggle with this?

    I must be the weird one then! :D
  3. Cassady thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 7, 2012
    Ok. So I finally figured this out.

    The 'problem' was how I had set up Spaces. In Preferences/Mission Control, UNselecting "Displays have separate Spaces" sees the 'same' Space splashing across both my External and MBP.

    This has solved everything – If I'm on Space 1 in Scrivener, and want to read open files in Space 2 in Devonthink, using the App switcher now changes BOTH screens, so that I can see what Devonthink windows are open on the External and MBP screen.

    Before that, with the "separate Spaces" selected, the active External Monitor would stay on Scrivener, and only the MBP would switch over to Devonthink, since one of the open windows was sitting in that (different) Space.

    Such a simple setting, that makes a massive difference, but I never fully understood how it works.

    Figured I'd pop this up, in case someone else has the same query.

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