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In OS X as I'm aware to move the current window to the next desktop, I'd click down on the title bar of the window to have it in move mode, and then while keeping the mouse button down, press ctrl-<cursor direction_key>. If you don't have a laptop, this may require three hands. Alternatively you can go into spaces and drag a window from one desktop to another.

Is there an easier way to do this, with the keyboard only (and two hands max)?

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migrated from Sep 4 '10 at 19:44

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

Yes, using SizeUp from Irradiated Software. Move windows around on a Mac with keyboard shortcuts and SizeUp – jsejcksn Sep 4 '10 at 19:57

11 Answers 11

As of 10.7 you can activate "mission control" and then drag-n-drop your window to whatever desktop group.

enter image description here

See: OS X Mountain Lion: Work in multiple spaces

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works on OSX 10.8.4 – AWrightIV Aug 1 '13 at 0:05
@AWrightIV This has worked since Leopard. – Blacklight Shining Oct 30 '13 at 13:47
The question specifically requests answers that don't require mousing. – jaepage Sep 9 '15 at 17:22

I think the best you can do is hold the window title bar with the mouse, then press Ctrl-1 (or 2, 3, 4, whatever). This requires using the mouse, but it's a little more convenient than other methods.

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does not work on OSX 10.8.4 – AWrightIV Aug 1 '13 at 0:06
@AWrightIV: It works on OSX 10.7. I'm not sure about 10.8 but you might have to enable the Ctrl-1 and Ctrl-2 shortcut key for switching desktops first under System Pref > Keyboard. That could be a reason for it not working. – lightalchemist Nov 2 '13 at 9:14
Perfect, exactly what I was looking for – Kevin Hooke May 28 at 2:30

Unfortunately, as of 10.5.4 at least, there is no way to do this using a keyboard shortcut only.

You can however do it using just the mouse, which also requires just one hand, by dragging the window to the edge of the screen. You can set more options for this using the Warp or Secrets preference panes (both free).

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works on OSX 10.8.4, but only if you've already created the other desktop – AWrightIV Aug 1 '13 at 0:08

If you install "BetterTouchTool", you can create a keyboard/mouse/gesture shortcut to either:

  1. move application window to the other monitor,
  2. maximize application window to the other monitor.

Works really well! Plus, "BetterTouchTool" has tons of other nifty features that you may find useful. It's free.

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I already use BetterTouchTool and thanks to this suggestion I mapped a keyboard shortcut that moves the current window from one monitor to the other. Thank you! – Robin Zimmermann Jul 15 '14 at 17:50

Optimal Layout, an app I developed, lets you use keyboard commands to move, resize and change the Space of groups of windows.

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Wow, Optimal Layout looks awesome! One small criticism that I noticed immediately upon watching the demo video, though: you misspelled "focused":… ... but I'm already in love with the app. Thanks for the tip. – iconoclast Jan 9 '13 at 21:42
Wasn't the feature of changing spaces removed at some point? You could also change the description on Spacey's page. "only compatible with Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard" could also be interpreted that it's not compatible with 10.5 and earlier. – user495470 Jan 12 '13 at 10:12

It seems like Amethyst ( could switch application to any workspace.

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There is a tool called Zooom that will allow you to grab any part of a window to move it using a hotkey, and also similarly resize windows, again with a hotkey. This is very nice when moving from a linux wm to OS X, however I'm still wondering if just basic switching as in the question is available without additional software purchases.

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If you drag using the title bar and hold it against a border of the screen it should move after a few seconds (if there is a 'Space' for it to go to). Sure you have to use the mouse but there's no key commands involved.

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I believe the OP finds key commands to be easier/faster than using the mouse. – jaepage Sep 9 '15 at 17:24

If you are using window manager not desktopg environment, you can do that by modifying keymap, function TakeToWorkspace or SendToWorkspace.

For example in fluxbox.

$vi ~/.fluxbox/keys
Super_L 1 :TakeToWorkspace 1
Super_L 2 :TakeToWorkspace 2
Super_L 3 :TakeToWorkspace 3
Super_L 4 :TakeToWorkspace 4
Super_L 5 :TakeToWorkspace 5
Super_L 6 :TakeToWorkspace 6
Super_L 7 :TakeToWorkspace 7

Will allow you to press "mac button" + workspace number and focused window will be taken to the right workspace.

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There is a great app called Spectacle that does just this as well as move windows to different portions of the screen. It's free as well.

While working on just a laptop it was useful, but now I have a 2560x1440 external display it's invaluable.

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Doesn't it just support moving windows to other displays, not spaces? – user495470 Jan 12 '13 at 10:13
Yep, I misread the question. – Daniel Wood Jan 12 '13 at 12:01

So, trying all the bogus methods out there accidentally led me to the solution everyone's looking for:

Click and Hold the window you want to move. Hold the Ctrl button. Drag the window to the edge of the screen until it moves the window to a new desktop. Drop the window and release the Ctrl button. Boom. Done.

Alternately, you can use Mission Control to drag and drop apps onto the Desktop you want, but that's not the solution you're looking for. Move along.

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It's working for me without the control key...? Just click, drag, wait patiently. Not the easiest thing to do with a touchpad... – Merlyn Morgan-Graham Jul 19 '13 at 22:06
@MerlynMorgan-Graham I always keep drag lock enabled. It makes holding things like that much easier. – Blacklight Shining Oct 30 '13 at 13:48
Bogus: This answer requires mousing. – jaepage Sep 9 '15 at 17:20

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