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spacesapple.pngIf you're using the latest version of Mac OS X, your computer is capable of a feature called "Spaces."  And if you're like most of the FCP editors I know, you've never looked at that feature.  You're missing out.

Spaces puts an end to rearranging windows in order to see things, and it can save you a ton of Cmd+Tabs and awkward drag-and-drops.  It's especially useful when you're going back and forth between one full-screen app (like Final Cut) and other apps (Photoshop, LiveType, DVD Studio, etc.).
With Spaces -- like a lot of Mac OS features -- the concept is old, but Mac is the first to do it right.  On a Mac, Spaces simply refers to the concept of having multiple, virtual "desktops" available to store running application windows.  The concept of "multiple desktops" is a good 30 years old, and various flavors of Linux have been hacking away at it for a few years without simplifying it much.

To check out Spaces, go to the "Expose and Spaces" pane in your System Preferences.  You can always undo these settings later, but I recommend the following setup to get a decent feel for whether Spaces will be something you want to use:

Step by Step

  1. Open the Expose and Spaces pane in your System Preferences.
  2. In the Spaces tab, check the Enable Spaces checkbox.  Feel free to investigate the other settings on this pane, but do consider assigning an F-key to Spaces if you have one free.  It's useful to have many intuitive ways to switch between spaces, so a dedicated key is useful in addition to the mouse shortcuts we're about to set up.spaces-setup.png
  3. On the Expose tab of this preferences pane, consider assigning an Active Screen Corner to Spaces.  That way, when you move your mouse into that corner of your screen, your Spaces desktops will immediately display, allowing you to select the workspace you want.
  4. Use Control+2 to switch to your second desktop, and launch Final Cut.  After it loads, use Control+1 to switch to your first desktop, and load Photoshop or something.  Try switching between the two using your keyboard (Ctl+1, Ctl+2 --- or Ctl+Left Arrow and Ctl+Right Arrow).  Then try switching using the Spaces F-key you set up in Expose.  Finally, try switching using your mouse and the hot corner you set up.

Bradley said:

Awesome info on Using Mac OS Spaces with your Final Cut workflow!! It is really among the most helpful that I_ve found in a very long time.
I have been awaiting this info...


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