Four window management options for OS X

FinderIconXIf you regularly use many windows on your Mac, then you might find they can get cluttered as they overlap and otherwise hide each other. While Apple has options to gather windows on a single display, or to arrange them all in front, these might not be adequate for your window management needs.

There are several third-party window-management tools for OS X, that can be used to augment Apple’s built-in functions, and especially make use of functions with somewhat ambiguous uses, such as the green Zoom button next to the standard Close, and Minimize buttons on OS X windows.

Some of these tools are free, and others might cost a few dollars for a license; however, they all should give you access to functions that help you move and resize windows in specific routines on your screen:

1. Moom

Moom in OS X

Moom gives you a grid and several presets when you hover over your Zoom menu.

This $9.99 tool will overtake your Mac’s Zoom button and give you a grid-like panel representing your desktop area. Selecting an area on the grid will resize your current window to fill that area. The functions that Moom adds include the following:

    • Custom resize with a grid
    • Zoom to Full Screen
    • Move & Zoom to Left Half
    • Move & Zoom to Right Half
    • Move & Zoom to Top Half
    • Move & Zoom to Bottom Half
    • Revert to Original Dimensions

2. ShiftIt

This free tool offers a small menu extra (next to your volume, wifi, and battery status menus) that you can access for similar functions. While this does not have a grid-like option to set a window’s location, it does have keyboard shortcuts you can use to access these tasks quicker. The functions that ShiftIt gives you are the following:

    • Top Left
    • Top Right
    • Bottom Left
    • Bottom Right
    • Left
    • Right
    • Top
    • Bottom
    • Full Screen
    • Center Screen

3. Spectacle

Spectacle is an open source and free app that gives you a number of options similar to ShiftIt, and similarly offers, but in addition it has multiple-screen support, where you can move a window to the display to the right, or left, or even that above or below your current window. Spectacle’s functions include:

    • Center Screen
    • Full Screen
    • Left Half
    • Right Half
    • Top Half
    • Bottom Half
    • Upper Left
    • Lower Left
    • Upper Right
    • Lower Right
    • Left Display
    • Right Display
    • Top Display
    • Bottom Display

4. Divvy

This is a $14 app available on the App Store, which similarly to Moom offers a grid that represents your desktop. This grid can be selected to move and re-size the current window to fill the designated spaces on the grid. This app also has options to add keyboard shortcuts for preset sizes and locations, so instead of relying on static options to fill only the right or left half of the display, you can set windows to fill a third of the display, or a fourth of it.

Do you have any apps similar to these that you use for managing windows in OS X? If so, share them below in the comments.

Keep in mind that all of these options will run in the background to apply a small modification to the way OS X runs, so be aware that when you update OS X, you may break the features of these programs. Therefore, be sure to keep them fully updated.

9 thoughts on “Four window management options for OS X

  1. tingo

    Any app with the same features as WindowShade (by apparently demised Unsanity) that runs under Mavericks?

  2. darrenoia

    As a longtime Moom user, I just want to point out that you can create endless keyboard commands to position windows on their grid. I have commands set for each half (vertical and horizontal) and each quadrant of my screen, as well as two different sizes of centered on the screen. It’s a super handy app.

  3. artie hall

    Breeze ($8) not only offers pre-set options, it allows you to create your own; windows positions can be positioned anywhere on your desktop and invoked by hot key on an app by app basis…highly recommended!

    1. tingo

      @artie hall: do you have a URL for this Breeze? My searches are leading me to an audio app or to the World of Windoze.

  4. B. Jefferson Le Blanc

    I have used Finder Window Manager ( ($15) for many years now. Getting it to work under Mavericks is a bit tricky; you have to enable assistive devices, which has been moved from the Accessibility preference pane to Security>Privacy>Accessibility, where you now turn on access on an app by app basis.

    With Finder Window Manager you can create window sets for specific combinations of Finder Windows, specifying location, size and view preference. Some people may prefer the apps that place windows on a grid, but I’ve found those to be too limited for my purposes. YMMV.

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