I'm using Spaces on OS X, and I'd like to replicate the Ctrl-Alt-<arrow> functionality (or is it Ctrl-Alt-<arrow> -- I can never remember) in Gnome that causes the currently selected window to move to another virtual desktop. This is far and away a more pleasant way of moving applications from desktop to desktop.

Is there a built-in way to do this? How about some kind of applescript or Quicksilver trigger? Third party app? I'm willing to pay a small amount for an app that does this, so Free-as-in-beer is not required.

I am specifically NOT looking for a way to do this that requires using the mouse.

7 Answers 7


I have found the solution: SizeUp, by Irradiated Software. It has exactly what I want, plus a bunch of other fantastic keyboard shortcuts. It's not free ($13 USD) but it's a fantastic solution to the problem.


There are some handy AppleScripts for spaces here including one that will move the front most window to a space of your choosing (will give you a dialog box).

You could just map the script to a keyboard shortcut, or alter the script so that it moves the window to a particular space, then create a new script and a shortcut for each space.


HyperSpaces for Mac is a great utility for customizing Spaces. While it doesn't offer the functionality you're looking for, the developer explains why it's quite difficult to do so in this thread.


This requires the mouse (which I know you don't want, but others might find it useful):

Hold the mouse button down on the window's title bar (as if you are going to drag it), and hit the Control+Number combination. You'll go to that other space. Then release the mouse button, and the window will be in that space.

  • This isn't what I needed, but it is an answer: It's not possible.
    – Chris R
    Oct 2, 2009 at 19:08

The best solution I've found is Spacey. It does exactly what you need and it's free.

  • 1
    Spacey seems to have stopped working in 10.7. The similar feature in Optimal Layout was also removed.
    – Lri
    May 3, 2013 at 8:14

I am using Andreas Hegenberg’s free BetterTouchTool to do exactly this. Despite its name, it provides great keyboard shortcuts. And also, it all resides without the app bundle, so there is no deep tinkering with system files.

  • a great tool, but no longer free. you should still get it, though. if you use it much at all, it'll be worth a few bucks.
    – iconoclast
    Mar 8, 2016 at 19:01

Select the window you'd like, trigger the Spaces layout, and then press Control + Desktop number. That might work even if you don't trigger the Spaces view.

Also, check System Preferences -> Mouse & Keyboard PrefPane -> Keyboard Shortcuts Tab. I'm not at my Mac at the moment (WinXP only at work), but if there's shortcuts they should be in that list.

  • 1
    Sadly, no go. Tried that, but all hitting a number does there is jump to that space
    – Chris R
    Aug 5, 2009 at 16:14
  • 1
    If you click the title bar of a window and then use the keyboard shortcut to change spaces the window will go along for the ride.
    – ridogi
    Jan 6, 2010 at 17:41

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