Rearrange Windows To A Previously Recorded Layout On Mac With Slate

Small screens don’t usually give you enough room for viewing multiple app windows side by side but a large screen does. Considering how big your screen is, you might be able to arrange two or three windows on it in any sort of arrangement. The only shortcoming with this is that you have to rearrange them each time you launch your apps. This is because while apps do remember their last window size, they don’t keep track of their last position on the screen. Mac users on any version above Lion might find this a bigger problem since they have desktop spaces that apps can be assigned to, but the window arrangement is still not remembered. Slate is a free Mac app that partially handles this problem. It remembers the arrangement of windows in a single desktop space, and can restore it provided those apps are running.

Once installed, Slate runs in the Menu Bar. To use it, simply arrange your windows however you want to work with them, click the app’s Menu Bar icon, and select ‘Take Snapshot’ from the menu that pops up. Whenever you next have those same apps open/running on the same desktop space, select ‘Activate Snapshot’ from Slate’s Menu Bar options and the arrangement will be restored. Again, the apps that were arranged must already be running for this to work, as Slate does not automatically launch them for you. Though if you took a snapshot of an arrangement of let’s say, three app windows and only two of them are running, Slate will restore the arrangement of those two alone.

slate


Concept-wise, the app is good but self limiting. Two major features that can give it a huge productivity boost are support for multiple desktop spaces, and the ability to launch apps when they aren’t already running. Right now, the app remembers window arrangements for a single space alone. If you use assign only those apps to multiple desktop spaces that you are running in full screen while keeping only one space for the apps in normal screen view, you won’t mind how Slate works but since that isn’t likely, the lack of multiple desktop spaces support could be a bummer for many.

As for launching apps, the feature would make Slate a better app for most users since it will then be able to serve as a tool for quickly getting your desktop ready the way you want. Keyboard shortcuts for taking a snapshot of the current windows arrangement and activating it would be a good idea, and so would be the ability to create different profile sets for remembering window arrangements for scenarios such as beginning your work day every morning by launching all your work-related apps, starting an entertainment session by launching your gaming or multimedia apps, or giving your kids a head start in their study hour on the computer by launching all their educational apps.

Download Slate For Mac

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  • aatif

    Fatima, do you have a similar tool for Windows?