We’re big fans of virtual desktop tools here at Windows.AppStorm; any utility that can be used to gain extra desktop space without having to buy a new monitor is to be welcomed. Previously I’ve looked at nSpaces and WindowsPager but DeskSpace is something quite special.
DeskSpace takes the idea of virtual desktop not only to the next level, but to the next dimension. Rather than presenting you with a flat, two-dimensional representation of your workspace, you can instead flip between your desktop in three dimensions.
Working with virtual desktop is a great way to not only get some extra space to work with, but also to help keep your workspace a little more organized. The fact that a utility is useful does not mean that it cannot ooze stylish and panache, and this is something that DeskSpace demonstrates beautifully.
Just as with other virtual desktop tools, you can keep your work programs separate from non-work ones by simply running them on different desktops. While the program itself is a great alternative to setting up a multi-monitor system, even if you do have two or more monitors, you can still use DeskSpace to gain even more space and organizational potential.
You can grab a free trial of the program from the DeskSpace web site – the software costs $24.95, but the trial version enables you to try out every aspect of the program before you decide whether you want to buy it or not. Download the setup file, run through the installation and then launch the program; you’ll immediately be presented with the option to start configuring the app.
Click the Quick Setup button and there are a few simple options for you to configure. By default DeskSpace uses the first of your desktops to house all of your icons and all of the others will be free of icons. By ticking the first box you can opt to have icon on each of your desktops so you can tilaor each for a different task. To help make desktops easier to differentiate from each other, it’s also a good idea to opt to have a unique background image on each desktop.
The slider can be used to choose the quality at which special effects should be displayed as you move between faces of the desktop cube. The further to the right you move the slider, the better the quality and number of effects, but if you are using a slightly older computer you might want to try moving to the left to ensure that things run smoothly. Click Save Changes and then click the Start Using DeskSpace button.
Press the Ctrl and Windows key simultaneously and you will be shown a series of tips about working with DeskSpace .This popup only appears the first time you use the keyboard shortcut and after you have read through the tips, just click the Close button to continue using the program as normal. Navigating between desktops is incredibly simple. Press Ctrl and Win at the same time and then use click and drag with the left mouse button to rotate the desk cube.
You now have up to six desktops that you can use to keep your apps and windows organized into meaningful groups. Any program or window you open will open on the desktop you are currently looking at, but you can easily move them between faces as necessary. This can be done in a couple of ways.
The first option is to right click the DeskSpace system tray icon and then drag and drop the name of any running program or window onto the desktop you would like it to appear on. You can also activate a special option that makes it possible to drag windows between desktop by simply moving them to the edge of the desktop – right click the system try icon and click Configure followed by Windows Dragging before ticking the box to enable the feature.
There are a huge number of customization options that can be used to get the program to work the way you want it to. Use the Manage section of the right click menu to choose icons and pictures to make desktop easier to identify – individual system tray icons for desktops can be enabled through the Configure > System Tray Icons section – but there is an even more useful option to explore.
To ensure that the programs you use most frequently are always available on the desktop you want to use them on, DeskSpace can be set up so that individual apps always appear on a particular desktop. Right click the system tray icon and select Manage followed by Desktop Application Assignment. Make sure that you have the app in question up and running and then click the ‘Add an Assignment’ button. From the drop down menu to the right, select the program you want to work with, select the ‘Assign this application to’ option and use the next drop down menu to choose which desktop the app should be opened on before clicking Save Changes.
Once you have been using DeskSpace for a while, you may well find that you want to quickly jump to a specific desktop without the need to scroll around the cube. You can do this by pressing Ctrl, Shift and 1-6 to switch to one of your six desktops – you can also right click the system tray icon and select the desktop you would like to work with for an instant switch.
There are some multiple desktop tools that are exercises in style over substances, and others for which the complete opposite is true. With DeskSapce you get the best of both worlds: a seriously good-looking virtual desktop app that just happens to have a great method of switching in addition to a quick and simple one.
I love to hunt down tools that are completely free of charge, but that does not mean that I’m averse to paying for software that is worth the money. DeskSpace is just one example of software that easily justifies its asking price, and this is one purchase you are not going to regret – you also have the option of click the icons that appear in the system tray to make the move.