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  1. #1

    jott's Avatar
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    Individual permanent Icons on different desktops
    Is it possible to have permanent icons on desktops that are different on each desktop?

  2. #2


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    Anything's possible, but if you're referring to Spaces then no.

    You really shouldn't be keeping anything on your desktop anyway, and moving to that goal would also eliminate the issue of not being able to put different icons on different desktops.

  3. #3

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    Perhaps if you were more specific someone could give you an answer more suited to your goal.

  4. #4

    jott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toMACsh View Post
    Perhaps if you were more specific someone could give you an answer more suited to your goal.
    Suppose I am a Photographer. I would like to have all photography related apps on desktop #1. Then again I am also a musician. A second Desktop would have all Music related apps on the desktop #2. Then , to make life easier I would have all my Utility programs on desktop #3. Do I have to go on ?
    All this is wishful thinking, as long as it is not possible to have the selected apps on the dedicated desktops. with only the pertinent icons showing for instant access

    I seem to recall that some time ago a post showed how this can be accomplished via command line manipulations. The search function on this forum could not retrieve the post.

    John.

  5. #5


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    You can certainly assign programs to open in given Spaces with no command-line folderol needed. But you can't have a set of icons sitting on each individual desktop (nor should you).

    I for example have Safari set to always open in the first Space (desktop), and Photoshop to open in Space 2, etc.

    The dock and desktop icons stay persistent on each desktop.

    What I'd suggest you do is create folders of related apps (in the Applications folder) and then drag those to the right side of the dock (you might want to give each one a custom icon for better visual identification, see the picture from my dock below). Assign each "group of apps" to open in a given Space when launched.

    That will accomplish your goal without cluttering up your desktop.

    Custom-folders-dock.png

  6. #6

    toMACsh's Avatar
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    I agree with the above. The clarification was most helpful.

  7. #7

    jott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
    You can certainly assign programs to open in given Spaces with no command-line folderol needed. But you can't have a set of icons sitting on each individual desktop (nor should you).
    First a question of clarification: are the terms "Spaces" and "Desktop" synanimous ?, or is there a different meaning ?

    Your statement that one should not have a set of icons sitting on desktops probably stems from the realization that any such icon would be present on all Desktops and would cause a clutter. Would it still apply if desktop icons would only be specific for the selected Desktop, assuming such would be possible ?

  8. #8


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    There's a lot I could say about this, but let me try clarifying a bit:

    1. I'm not an absolutist (I just sound like one sometimes). A clean desktop is the ideal; not everyone can or wants to accomplish that. As long as you know and accept the risks, do what you want. I'm just offering suggestions and my idea of "best practices."

    2. It's ALWAYS a bad idea to put application icons (ie, applications) on the desktop. For a variety of not-my-opinion reasons. Now, *aliases* of applications icons are just fine if that's what you want. They're safe.

    3. People differ on the definitions of "desktop" and "spaces" but for me, I notice people say "desktop" when they mean "Finder," so by that logic you only have one "home" desktop but can many "virtual" desktops. (kind of like how "aliases" aren't actually the applications, if you will). You can use "Space" and "Desktop" interchangably if you like.

    4. I'd still say that a clean desktop is the goal for a variety of reasons, some of which are just my opinion (some less so). By organizing the Dock or using aliases, you can have the app accessibility you want without a lot of clutter is all I'm saying really.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
    I notice people say "desktop" when they mean "Finder,"
    and vice versa!

    In Leopard and Snow Leopard, you could have multiple Spaces, but only one Desktop. Spaces is just a means to separate open applications into different "screens" to reduce clutter without having to close applications.

    In Lion, my understanding is that the terminology was changed, and the way you access the different Spaces, now called Desktops, is different. But I think it's essentially the same concept.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
    I notice people say "desktop" when they mean "Finder,"
    Quote Originally Posted by toMACsh View Post
    and vice versa!
    Ah, but technically, the Desktop is a Finder window (although it just doesn't look like it). Give the Desktop focus and you'll see what I mean.
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  11. #11

    jott's Avatar
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    I appeciate the effort to clarify what is meant by Desktop, Finder, Spaces.
    One of the problems a new user of a yet unfamiliar Operating system is the jargon that long time users imploy in their valient effort to help
    The Dashboard shows very clearly what the proper designation of the various pages is suposed to be.
    My OSX Lion shows clearly the folloing on the Dashboard page::
    Dashboard, Desktop 1, Desktop 2 and Desktop 3. Why introduce Spaces or Finder as synonyms ?.
    John

  12. #12

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    The "thing" you're looking at is called Mission Control. It gives you an overview of all the open windows and desktops that you have set up (in your case, you've got three).

    Learning a new OS can be tricky. You might want to take a look at Apple's videos (here). Some of the videos still use old terminology but the major features are still fairly similar.
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  13. #13

    jott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
    The "thing" you're looking at is called Mission Control. It gives you an overview of all the open windows and desktops that you have set up (in your case, you've got three).

    Learning a new OS can be tricky. You might want to take a look at Apple's videos (here). Some of the videos still use old terminology but the major features are still fairly similar.
    Clearly a case of mistaken ID for a displyed page. I should have used the term "Mission Control".
    Thanks for the link to the videos, they were quite helpful to get some of the very basic concepts explained.
    I am still struggling to get a good working knowledge of how to manipulate the multitudes of display pages. What makes it hard is the availability of different actions to accomplish the same things. I guess, each user has to find for himself what is best for him and ignore the other alternatives.
    John.

  14. #14

    vansmith's Avatar
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    Absolutely. I'm sure some people use Mission Control exclusively and other, such as myself, use Command-Tab (to switch between applications) and Command-~ (to switch between the open windows for the current application). Use whatever works for you - you don't need to master them all right out of the gate.
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  15. #15

    toMACsh's Avatar
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    And "Spaces" only lasted from OS 10.5 to 10.6 when it was replaced by Mission Control.

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