I’ve always liked being able to move windows around my monitor using just keyboard shortcuts on my Windows 7 machine. I even went a step further and installed the freeware WinSplit Revolution (since abandoned but downloadable on CNet and still works on Windows 7). Now that I’m mostly using my mac mini I’ve found 3 apps that work similarly on the Mac for window management:
• Divvy – $14 program. Divvy needs to be activated via hotkey, and then given instructions (either via mouse-dragging on the popup grid or by using keyboard hotkeys), so keyboard shortcut lovers might not like this two-step process.
• SizeUp – $13 program. SizeUp also allows users to move windows between “Spaces” (the Mac’s version of virtual desktops) using keyboard shortcuts.
• Moom – $10 program. Moom does offer many configurable keyboard shortcuts but like Divvy, it’s modus operandi seems to be geared towards easily moving windows around your screen freestyle without necessarily using pre-defined grids (although that is also an option).
I’ve used all three at different times and they’re all quite good. If you don’t need the guidance of a graphical interface there’s a freeware option I’ll share below.
The following apps are also good at remembering window positions (for example, if you want Word documents to always open on the left-half of your screen):
Slate Power Window Management
I found a post on StackExchange when I was looking for an alternative to CatchMouse [no longer active] for moving my cursor to-and-from my external monitor without using the mouse. The program is called Slate. It’s a sophisticated window manager that can actually chain actions together (move a window to another screen and shift it to the left half all in one keystroke). The price you pay is that it’s a bit technical to setup as it relies on a text file, .slate in your home directory, for configuration. There’s an excellent overview article (with sample config) over at thume.ca as well as a sample config from the software’s author here. The thume.ca article also links to http://stevelosh.com/blog/2012/10/a-modern-space-cadet/ which is the ultimate power-user resource for remaking your useless CAPS-LOCK key into a hyperspace key, a process which I’ve setup on all my mac computers.
Incidentally, the hint for using Slate to change monitor focus didn’t work – it only changes window focus within one monitor without moving the mouse. CatchMouse is a really good utility for moving the mouse between multiple monitors via a shortcut but I don’t want both a menu item and a dock icon running for this one function. The stackexchange thread also had a hint about using Keyboard Maestro for this so that’s actually what I’m using now to move the cursor without using the mouse:
This also works by specifying SCREEN(Main,…) & SCREEN(Second,…) for your primary and external monitor.
Managing Your Monitor’s Brightness at Night
I’ve read enough to know that staring at a monitor emitting blue light late at night is the last thing my body needs when trying to wind down for the night. In addition to purchasing some blue-blocking computer glasses, I also install F.LUX to tame the backlight on both my external monitor and my Macbook. I have also used Black Light for Mac to invert the colors on my external display separate from my Macbook display but it unfortunately can’t be used alongside F.LUX. You can still invert the colors on your monitor natively with your Mac (keystroke CTRL-OPT-CMD 8) but keep in mind that this change will affect all your monitors. Occasionally I will focus exclusively on my Macbook screen and want to sleep the external monitor, but instead of powering it down (which the Mac doesn’t like as it throws all of your external windows back onto your main display) I just compromise by inverting the colors which makes it look all black.