Expose unlike Apple's

I almost love TotalSpaces - but unfortunately (even though I’ve bought it), it has one feature that makes it unusable to me: seemingly random ordering in Expose, of windows in ALL monitors.

In Apples old Expose, when in a multiple monitor setup, Expose would do two things:

  • The items would be stay on the desktop that they were on
  • The ordering would be spatially as close to possible as the original window positions

Note that Mission Control currently still does this (in its “All Windows” mode). TotalSpaces does neither.

The reason why Spaces/Expose worked so well is because that arrange windows spatially - and people are good at remembering spatial arrangements. This is why Mission Control is so broken - they took away things (like a grid format) that had a function purpose - a 2D arrangement went to a 1D arrangement (they took away a lot of other things, too, ugh).

Anyway - is there any chance this is coming back? Will it be there in the Mavericks version?

One additonal complaint :smile: :

Apple’s Expose/Spaces allowed you to go back and forth between all the modes with just 2 keys. That is, one key for Spaces, one for Expose - and hit both if you want Spaces plus Expose. TotalSpaces uses 3 keys: One key for Spaces, one Key for Spaces + Expose, and a third (space) to go back and forth. Why? Seems to me the other way was simple - and I could even map the 2 keys to my mouse extra buttons - that was great!

TotalSpaces is so close!!! I’m hoping these items can be changed!

One last thing while I’m still complaining: it would be so nice if I could choose the monitor for Spaces in a multiple monitor setup.


TotalSpaces goal in how it places the windows is to find an arrangement where they are as big as possible, whilst retaining their relative sizes. This is not an easy problem to solve, and two separate strategies are used depending on the number of windows present.

It’s the same reason that windows don’t stay on their particular monitor - there’s more space to play with this way.

We could conceivably try to move the windows as little as possible from their current positions as well - I agree that would be nicer, and indeed we have already thought about that. But I do like them being as big as possible so you can see which one is which.

Regarding the hotkeys - do you recall how apple toggled between the two modes?

Regarding choosing the monitor - it’s a matter of adding yet another setting. Currently it should choose your main monitor (with the menu bar), which seems a reasonable default. Note that in Mavericks you will be able to have separate spaces grids on each monitor, so each attached monitor will show its own grid if you use that mode.

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Thanks for the quick response.

My setup is 3 monitors: a 13" macbook (Retina) to the left, which drives 2 24" monitors to the right. I’m looking forward to Mavericks where I dont have to drag my mouse all the way across all 3 monitors to get to the Dock and Menu. But in addition, I’d much prefer if I could choose the primary monitor, especially for apps like TotalSpaces, so I don’t have to go to the far left to use it.

With 3 monitors, I’ll often have 10-20 windows up. If those windows all get rearranged, then it takes me a significant time (say 5 seconds) to find my window. If they are spatially arranged as close as possible to what my brain has already saved as their positions, then its very quick.

As far as what the keys did, here’s a state machine to describe it:

  • State: Desktop
  • Spaces key press -> New state: Spaces
  • Expose key press -> New state: Expose
  • State: Spaces
  • Spaces key press -> New state: Desktop
  • Expose key press -> New state: Spaces + Expose
  • State: Expose
  • Spaces key press -> New state: Spaces + Expose
  • Expose key press -> New state: Desktop
  • State: Spaces + Expose
  • Spaces key press -> New state: Desktop
  • Expose key press -> New state: Spaces

To me, that was absolutely perfect.

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Thanks, probably we can support that system (in addition to the space bar toggle perhaps).

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…this is why this forum is so great…direct access to the team! thanks for sharing your thoughts @Brian_Silverman

After I wrote that (about what the keys did) I was thinking about the way Apple did it - and I think it works great. However, I think there’s a simpler (and to me more obvious way) to do it, that I’m not sure why Apple didn’t pick. That is, simple have a Spaces key toggle Spaces, and an Expose key toggle Expose. So, the state machine would be exactly the same as theirs, with one minor exception:

  • State: Spaces + Expose
  • Spaces key press -> New state: Expose

I don’t know why they chose to do just that one state change differently.