Window Management

Make your windows dance on your Mac with Keyboard Maestro and a few clever keyboard shortcuts.

Video Transcript

Over the years, I've tried to manage windows in a lot of different ways. I've used applications. I've written AppleScripts. And I've never been entirely happy with any of them. Keyboard Maestro really solved this problem for me, and I've got this series of Window Management Scripts on the screen right now. And you can download these attached to the screen cast that I want to share with you. It's a great building block for other scripts, in addition to allowing you to manage your windows on the fly.

So before we get started on this, just a little bit of background. I like to manage windows generally on my 27-inch iMac on the left and the right sides of the screen. So I'm constantly moving things to the left and the right. Maybe I've got Safari window on the right and Ulysses window on the left. But I also have a second screen, and that is stacked vertically to the right side of my main screen, and I think that is my reference screen. So, I'll put calendar stuff up out there or maybe OmniFocus lists. But the point is I'm moving these windows between these things all the time. And there's really in my head four primary places, left or right on the main screen and top or bottom on the attached screen. So I created these scripts to manage that. Let me show you one of them.

First one is this one here to put something on the left side of the main screen. And it's very simple. Control + Command + Left Arrow is the keyboard combination to move the window. Then it just moves and resizes the front window. And like I said, you can download this. It's already built. But if you wanted to build it from scratch, the action you're using is the Move command. So I just search for Move, and there's Move a Window.

And the tricky thing about this is when you first open the Move a Window command, it doesn't look anything like the one I used. And that's because like many actions in Keyboard Maestro, there's more to it than just the surface option of moving the front window to a specific position. If you click on the arrows here next to Move To, you can see you've got different ways you can implement it. You could center the window, you could center it at a specific location, you could scale by size. But the one that really I think is most useful is move and resize. In fact, Keyboard Maestro adds the common sizes for you automatically.

So to get into the left column, you just click on left column. You can also do custom, by the way, which is pretty cool. So left column solves a problem, and I made one for Control + Command + Right when I used right column. You can go top or bottom, top half, left half, you can use these quadrants as well. In fact, let's make one based on a quadrant. I'm going to go back over here and hit the -- oops, I'm going to go back to the list of Window Management scripts. I'm going to add a new one. I'm going to call this one Top Left. And maybe with the 27-inch iMac, you like the idea of a quadrant. And since I've used all my arrows already for this script, I'm going to make a hotkey. You can use Control + Command again, but I'm going to use 7, which is the top-left quadrant of my number pad. And then the action will be to move a window. And we're going to move and resize to top left. And now we've created that. So I hit Control + Command + 7. It's going to put whatever I'm working on in the top-left quadrant.

All right, here's the Safari window. Now I'm going to hit the new magic command: Control + Command + number key 7. And just like that, it got moved up to the top left corner. I can also go left side of the screen, right side of the screen, full screen, 85% of the screen. So let me show you those drilling back down into the scripts. The right side of the screen was -- this is what I called right, which is very similar to the one earlier, Control + Command + Right Arrow, and then I use the right half of the screen script.Eighty-five percent is one I've added recently because sometimes I want to have things on the desktop available, but I still want a big portion of the screen. I use this, for instance, when I'm working on a complicated contract as an attorney and the font size is really small, or tracking changes in Word and I just have a lot of text on the screen.

The trick, for me, was the external monitor, because it wasn't obvious how to do that. But here is external bottom, which gets the bottom half of that vertical screen, and you just have to type external into the script where there's a slight change. And once again, I said you can download these if you want. So like when we had the main screen, it says Main Left here, and where we go external, its External Left.

And I've done the same thing on the external screen, except I hold down Control + Command + Option. So all three keys and Right Arrow gives me full screen on the vertical and Up Arrow gives me the top half and Down Arrow gives me the bottom half. These are just some simple basic tools to manage screens. But if you're working on various applications throughout the day, man, is it fast to move things around and get them exactly where you want them. And like I said, this is also a great jumping-off point for some of the other scripts, like when we get into the Setup scripts where you can set up the exact applications exactly where you want. I go back and pull these-- these actions and copy them and paste them into other Keyboard Maestro scripts all the time to get specific applications exactly where I need them.

So go ahead and download these and install them. Change the keyboard shortcuts to fit your will and start using them today.

Downloadable Keyboard Maestro Scripts:

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