Virtual Desktops: Theory and Practice of Arranging Windows within the Multiple Logical Desktops

1. Theory
2. Practice
3. Useful Links

1. Theory

Actual Window Manager can be used to solve many problems and is really multifunctional, but in this article we will enlighten one very interesting and convenient feature.

Switchable desktops were introduced to a large audience by Tom LaStrange in 1989 ('Virtual Desktop' was originally a trademark of Solbourne Computer). Today under 'virtual desktops' we understand an advanced way in which a computer\'s desktop environment is expanded through the use of software. In addition to what is provided by the computer\'s physical hardware display, virtual desktops provide a 'virtual' space, in which the user can place their applications\' windows. This space can be imagined as a stack of 'screen pages':

Single real desktop vs. many virtual desktops
Single real desktop vs. many virtual desktops

Actual Tools company, in addition to already implemented features, beginning from the version 5.1 has started the support of Virtual Desktops facility. Now, one may ask what is the interest of such a thing?

That is quite simple. As a multi-tasking operating system, WindowsT® allows you running multiple programs simultaneously. As a result, you have a few windows open at any time.

However, if you are working with lots of applications, you desktop can easily become overcrowded:

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All in one. Looks messy, doesn\'t it?

You lose time finding required windows, taskbar buttons are too small for you to read the text and find the right window, you are literally tossing the pile of windows. So that you have many windows open a time, whereas you need just some of them at a moment. How to arrange them in a proper way?

That\'s where the Virtual Desktops facility comes to the rescue. Using it, you can logically allocate and classify all of your windows in any way you like. For example, one virtual desktop can be created solely for watching video files and listening music, another one - for chatting or reading books, put your email client and browser windows on another and your text editor and debugger on a fourth one etc. Actual Window Manager does not set any limits, you can create as many virtual desktops as you like!

The technology of virtual desktops allows you to work with one monitor (desktop) as productive as if you would use several displays at once. It optimizes the work with several tasks and you get a quick access to all launched applications thus reducing the single-desktop clutter (so that you can make advantage of virtual desktops even when using several physical displays!). Now let\'s see how it works in practice.

2. Practice

Supposing you have several windows open at a moment in your single-monitor configuration: let\'s say, an Excel spreadsheet with some business data, a messenger window where you are communicating with a manager or a client and several browser windows where you are searching information in the web.

First of all, we need to create some virtual desktops. Let\'s make 3 of them (just for a test, you are not limited in this choice though and can create as many desktops as you need). Here you can find the information on how to do so.

You can switch between just created desktops, i.e. activate the desired one:

After we have created them, we allocate the opened windows between our desktops. This can be done:

  • via Move to virtual desktop button Move to virtual desktop caption button. We right-click the Move to virtual desktop button on the messenger window and choose Desktop 2 menu item:

    Moving instant messenger\

    As a result, the window actually flies to Desktop 2. Do the same procedure with browser windows and move them to Desktop 3.

  • via corresponding window menu item

  • via Move to virtual desktop hotkey ( combination, by default)

  • automatically upon certain window\'s startup - you can instruct Actual Window Manager to place a window onto the desired desktop automatically. The required functionality is accessible at the Startup property sheet.

Now you can easily switch between desktops as the need arises. While surfing the web (on Desktop 3), you can get an incoming message, simply switch to Desktop 2.

If you are a fan of nice ambient wallpapers you can choose them to be displayed for some desktops, in our example for Desktop 1. In such a way we can also apply a transparency effect for the spreadsheet. As a result, the whole virtual desktop will look more stylish and pleasant to work with. Just have a look:

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Transparent spreadsheet on a virtual desktop with custom wallpaper.
Looks nice, eh?

But if you do not like to be distracted by such trifles as wallpapers and prefer to better concentrate on the project, choose the Blank wallpaper. In all other cases use the Default wallpaper.

Specify the identity names for desktops to better differentiate their purposes. In our example, Desktop 1 - 'Business data', Desktop 2 - 'Consult a boss' or 'Client on-line' (pending customer), Desktop 3 - 'Web-surfing' or any other names.

Actual Window Manager brings in the full freedom of action.

In this article we illustrated only one feature of Actual Window Manager but it will help to save your time and efforts when you work with several applications simultaneously. Actual Window Manager has more than 50 productivity tools, which you can use to control every window on your screen.

3. Useful Links

See the following links that will be your guides in getting acquainted with Actual Window Manager:

  • Download the fully-functional 60-days trial version of Actual Window Manager right now. It is completely free!

  • Window Manager Home - the official page where you can download or order the risk-free version and read what other users say about Actual Window Manager.

  • Actual Window Manager Help section - the full list of features available in Actual Window Manager and their comprehensive description.

  • Here you can find the information on how to create specific settings for any window.

Check out our articles. You can find other ways for using the features presented by Actual Window Manager which are sure to make your work easier!