Create virtual desktop with nSpaces (Part 1)

5/7/2012 6:00:42 PM

We reveal how nSpaces can be used to create a multi-desktop workspace.

‘nSpaces provides a versatile multiple desktop environment that you can use to keep your programs better organised.’


Description: Create virtual desktop with nSpaces (Part 1)

It’s difficult to have too large a desktop to work with, and this is clear from the gradual increase in monitor sizes in recent years. Anyone who’s used a multi-monitor setup – in which two or more displays are connected to the same computer – will be aware that the extra screen space can be a real boost to productivity. If desktop space is at a premium, though, or finances do not allow, adding a second monitor is not always an option, so you may have to investigate different ways of getting a little more space. This is precisely where nSpaces can help, providing you with a versatile multiple desktop environment that you can use to keep your programs better organised.

The application enables you to use a number of virtual desktops, known as spaces, to group programs and tools together. This is very versatile and you can create whatever number of spaces you require. Each can be assigned a different purpose, so you may have one that you dedicate to internet-related software such as your web browser, email client and chat tools, while another may be used to house your office tools such as word processor and spreadsheet. As well as enabling you to group together applications in a task-oriented way like this, you can also use nSpaces to keep work and fun applications separate to help reduce distractions when you’re trying to focus on something. There are also interesting options such as the ability to password protect a particular desktop if you would like to ensure that no one else is able to access the things you’re working on.

In many ways, working with the program is a better option than adding a second monitor to your computer. Firstly, the software will not cost you a penny and there’s the added bonus that you will not lose any desktop space in the real world. You can also configure a variety of keyboard shortcuts that can be used to speed up common operations, enabling you to get even more from the program. To get started, you’ll first have to download a copy of the software, so fire up your favourite web browser and pay a visit to the program’s home page at Click the Download button in the nSpaces section of the page and choose to save the setup file to the desktop. If you want to read a little more about what the program is capable of, just click the More Info button.

Once the download is complete, double-click the file to start the installation process. Click the ‘Run’ button if Windows displays a ‘Security Warning’ dialogue box and then make sure that English is selected from the drop-down menu before clicking ‘OK’. Click ‘Next’ followed by ‘I Agree’, click ‘Next’ and then choose where the program should be installed before clicking ‘Next’ again. Click the ‘Install’ button, and once the installation is complete ensure that the box labelled ‘Run nSpaces Version 1.2.2’ is ticked and then click ‘Finish’.

Description: nSpaces is a free download that can be used with all versions of Windows

nSpaces is a free download that can be used with all versions of Windows

Be default, nSpaces provides you with four virtual desktops, but this number can be easily changed. Right-click the nSpaces icon in the notification area and select the nSpaces options from the menu that appears. Use the + and – buttons next to the Rows and Columns labels until the number of desktops you require has been reached. Once you’ve create to correct number of desktops, each one can be configured individually. Click the small preview icon representing a virtual desktop and then use the tabs at the bottom of the dialogue to start the customisation process.

On the ‘Label’ tab you can name your desktop space to make each one easier to identify, while by moving to the Wallpaper tab you can choose a new background image for each one and decide whether it should be stretched or centred – this type of customisation again helps to make each of the desktops easier to identify at a quick glance. If you would prefer not to use a background image, you can use the ‘Color’ tab instead to choose a colour for the desktop. When naming desktops, you might find it helpful to give them labels such as ‘Internet’, ‘Writing’, ‘Work’, etc., because this will help to make things easier to remember when it comes to organising applications.

The next tab, ‘App’, can be used to force individual apps to open up on a particular desktop. This way you could force Microsoft Word, or your preferred word processor, to automatically open on your ‘Writing’ desktop, or Firefox to open on your ‘Internet’ desktop, helping to keep things neatly organised. On the ‘Apps’ tab, click the ‘Browser’ button and then browse through the contents of your hard drive until you find the executable that relates to the application you want to filter. Click ‘Open’ and then repeat the process as many times as necessary.

There are now just two more tabs that need your attention. The ‘HotKey’ tab can be used to configure keyboard shortcuts to jump to a particular desktop quickly. Tick any of the Alt, Ctrl, Shift and Win boxes and then type the letter, number or symbol you’d like to use as the shortcut. You can then repeat this process for the other desktops you have created. The final tab, ‘Password’, can be used to password protect individual desktops. If you’ve configured one of your desktops to work-related apps, it is likely that you would prefer it if other people were not able to access it. Make sure that you have the correct desktop selected, move to the ‘Password’ tab and then type the password you would like to use. Click the ‘Save’ button at the bottom of the dialogue to save all of the settings you’ve put in place.

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