Mac convert tip #2: install a window manager

Hitting the Windows key together with one of the arrow keys provided a fast way to resize a window to fit the left or right half of the screen in the Microsoft world. For mouse users, dragging the window to the edge of the screen achieves the same result. This is really useful if you’re writing in one application while referring to research in another. I was pretty disappointed to find that OSX didn’t provide an equivalent capability. After a day or two of manhandling windows into position, I went looking for a better solution.

Fortunately, there are numerous third party applications which handle this function. I chose BetterSnapTool for $1.99 from the Mac App Store. Other popular choices include ShiftIt, Moom and Divvy.

BetterSnapTool window position and keyboard shortcuts

BetterSnapTool keyboard shortcuts and window positions

All of these applications will let you replicate the behaviour of Windows. They offer more control than Windows by offering configurable keyboard shortcuts and snap areas along with other advanced options. If you’re not currently running a window manager, they are worth checking out — especially if you have a large display.

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Next: Mac convert tip#3: dealing with missing keys

All tips: How to switch from Windows to Mac without the frustration

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5 Responses

  1. Mary-Ann says:

    From a PC User: Thanks John. Windows + Arrow is a really useful tip for when I am mobile and limited to the laptop screen, which is often. I used to use the limited functionality of Show windows side by side on the task bar, or worse – click and drag!
    This is going to save me a lot of time.

    • John Scullen says:

      Thanks for the comment Mary-Ann – I’m glad it was helpful. Windows key with the up arrow is also handy to maximise the current application.

  1. March 8, 2014

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