This post will show you about moving between virtual desktops in osx mission control. I also have a post about how to setup multiple virtual desktops. Once oyu have the desktop spaces setup you can quickly move between them (I use the keyboard shortcuts all the time) – it allows you to have a fast workflow, eg with browsers on one, code editors on another, database editors in another and emails in another.

Moving between virtual desktops in osx

Method 1. Using the track pad.

  • left (or right) scroll with three fingers on the multi-touch pad.

Method 2. Using the cool on-screen display thingy.

  • activate mission control by scrolling up with 4 fingers (or clicking the icon in the dock) and click on the desktop you want to go to.
  • you can combine the two methods, ie activate mission control then, side swipe with three fingers.

Method 3. using keyboard shortcuts to switch desktops to the left and right (this is the one I use most)

  • ctrl + left to move one space left.
  • ctrl + right to move one space left.

Method 4. Using keybaord shortcuts to enter mission-control, then selecting a desktop.

  • ctrl + up to activate mission control.
  • ctrl + left to move one space left.
  • ctrl + right to move one space left.
  • ctrl + down to go to the selected space.


John · July 21, 2011 at 1:52 am

well that’s a pain in the butt.

I don’t have a scrollpad, so I have to open mission control everytime I want to change desktops? what a load of crap.

    Skyblueeyes2005 · July 21, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    So buy a wireless one from best buy?

    Imax Hughes14 · October 8, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    you don’t have to open mission control all the time. just hold control and use the arrow keys. It will let you go between desktops at the press of a button. Get a trackpad if you can, it is great with Lion. 

Plagus · July 21, 2011 at 9:27 am

You can also open a new desktop using MC and then use Ctrl-arrow keys to move between them

Rickyroy87 · July 22, 2011 at 2:20 am

The fastest and easiest method personally is to set up a hotcorner – top right for mission control and then click the desktop you require. 

    jonathan · July 22, 2011 at 8:21 am

    yeah, i forgot about that :D personally i dont use the corner things, but i know a few people who swear by them

Shady · September 10, 2011 at 7:08 am

BUT HOW TO MOVE a desktop?


If i have
Desktop 2 — And i wanna move it to Desktop3 ‘s place… HOW TO DO dat?

    jonathan · September 11, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    you cant. the best that you can do is to move all the apps from one to another…

jaejae · October 25, 2011 at 1:24 pm

how do u open a new desktop…

Hoefsmit · November 11, 2011 at 11:37 am

By accident I have mail in Desktop 1 open and MSWord in desktop 2 open but I want them in the same desktop, how do I do that?

    jonathan · November 11, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    go to mission control on desktop 2, and then drag word to desktop 1 at the top :D