Mac OS forum


how can I open word on two desktops?

by alan8s / February 25, 2012 3:55 AM PST

I'm new to Mac and have the multiple desktops. When I read a document in Word and want to write comments in Word on a different desktop - moving between them, I find that if I open a new desktop and click on word icon, it just reverts back to the original desktop

Thank you

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Clarification Request
Multiple Desktops,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 25, 2012 4:15 AM PST

care to explain that phenomenon!

It that by design or are you confusing the word desktop for window.

Desktop is the screen you see when you have nothing else running. It would be where you desktop picture would be and would most likely have an icon of the hard drive on it.

Window is what opens when you launch any application on your computer.

Perhaps you are referring to Spaces. Is that it?


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Sorry, I wasn't clear
by alan8s / February 25, 2012 11:00 AM PST
In reply to: Multiple Desktops,

If I open a document from someone that is written in Microsoft Word, it opens on my desktop.....I think.

Now I want to swipe (with 3 fingers) over to another desktop, and write a reply in Microsoft Word.

This allows me to move between the 2 open documents, the one I am reading and the reply I am writing.

But when I attempt to open a second copy of Microsoft Word on a second desktop, the screen jumps
back to view the first desktop with the original letter I received.

Having two open desktops is a great idea but maybe this is not possible. I'm sure it would all work fine
if I was reading the document in Microsoft Word and replying using some other word processor.

I have the Macbook Pro with Lion OS

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Spaces is what you are referring to.
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 25, 2012 9:35 PM PST
In reply to: Sorry, I wasn't clear

the gestures you describe work differently depending on whether you are using a laptop track pad or a Magic Mouse.

Spaces was designed to give clear spaces that allow you to accomplish various tasks.

For instance; Creating a space that only had Safari (or the browser of your choice) in it and another that only had you email app in it, would allow you to have a completely clear desktop for each of those tasks. Swiping the mouse/trackpad would allow you to move from one space to another.

Spaces has to be configured correctly to achieve what you are trying to do. This article explains is for you:

Your use of the word Reply is a little confusing. Emails are not usually written with MS Word. An email may well have an MS Word attachment but that would be a completely different file.
Is it possible that you are using MS Outlook as your email client and not the standard Mail app in whatever version of OS X you are using?

After Spaces has been configured, it looks as though it would be possible to have MS Word open in two spaces at once but, I believe it would show whatever document was open at the time. Unlike Windows, launching an application that is already open, does not launch it a second time. It simply show you the open application.


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Do I have "spaces" on this machine?
by alan8s / February 26, 2012 4:58 AM PST

Thank you for the reply. Your explanation raises two points.

1) My main work on a computer is reading and commenting/replying to MS Word documents. Please forget I mentioned email.
Is it possible to have 2 copies of MS Word open at the same time - one for the document I have received, and one for the
reply/comments I must write? I have a MacBook Pro with the latest OS.

2) Where can I find "species"? I read online that the new Mac OS combines a bunch of things (including "spaces") into Mission Control. I have no trouble opening more desktops, and no trouble moving between them. But I simply need to know
if it is possible to keep the same program (MS Word) open on two areas at the same time. That doesn't seem like an overly complex need.....

Thank you for replying


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May I intrude?
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / February 26, 2012 5:06 AM PST

I'm a Windows user, (Microsoft Windows), not an Apple user, but I saw your post.

When I read your discussion I thought this was easy. Open the document into Word, then open the document again into a 2nd Word window. The 2nd Word document would appear but with a warning that it was "Read only" because there was another instance opened for editing.

However, if that doesn't work, how about a workaround? Before opening the document, make a copy of it and (perhaps) give the copy a different name.

What happens if you now open both files?

If it works, then you can do what you have to do on the original, save the changes, then discard the copy.


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Maybe I'm doing something wrong
by alan8s / February 26, 2012 5:23 AM PST
In reply to: May I intrude?


Thanks for chiming intrusion; I need all the help I can get!

I tried both your suggestions but so far, I can only have one document in MS Word open at a time, no matter
how many desktops are available (and idle). Funny thing; it was just this sort of extra - the multiple desktop
option that made me want to try Mac. I searched Google under all sorts of wordings and could find no one that
even asked the question. I would think the business world would be filled with people who want to read
from one .doc and write to another .doc ........ !


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Ahhh, Read from one .doc and write to another .doc
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 26, 2012 8:37 AM PST

is not what you have been talking about.

That is easy.

Just open the first Word Document and move it over to one side of the screen, then go to File > New and open a new document.
You can type to your hearts content in the new one while looking at the original at the same time.

What you cannot do, is have the original open twice.

Did you read the Apple article on Spaces (Not Species, that could have been my typo)


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Now we're getting warm
by alan8s / February 26, 2012 9:05 AM PST

OK thanks mrmacfixit; that is helpful. I tried that and you are right. I can open the two different Word
documents on the same desktop..... read the one.......write my comments on the other.

Of course, I could do that when I used my PC. It makes small pages and fine print to fit them both on
the same desktop. That's what makes me think how nice it would be if I had a full size page to read
on my desk top, and then zoom over to a full size page on the adjoining desktop to write on.

By the way, in looking back over previous posts, I 'm not sure what I said to imply I would ever want to
open the same document in two places.

If you have a link for the article on Spaces, I'd be glad to read it, but no one has told me where to find
it them on the computer.

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they have messed around with Spaces in Lion,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 26, 2012 9:26 AM PST
In reply to: Now we're getting warm
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Anyone heard of Yoink? Is this what I need?
by alan8s / February 26, 2012 10:05 AM PST
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No, that's just a drag and drop thing.
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 26, 2012 10:34 PM PST

Your problem is screen real estate.

With a larger screen (not going to happen) or a second screen(a cheap alternative) you can do exactly what you are trying to do without a problem.

Did you read either of the two links I sent you?


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The links about spaces
by alan8s / February 27, 2012 12:05 AM PST

Hi memacfixit. Yes, I did read both those links you sent and enjoyed them. Interesting that one of them I had read earlier searching Google for help with this new machine. I think I have gotten the hang of using Mission Control. Learning the terminology spaces - windows - desktops is helpful.

I honestly didn't see anything that addressed my question, and I'm beginning to think that no one wants to be the one to say "You can't do that." So I might try that utility referred to above as there is a 15 day free trial, and maybe it will let me drag one of the MS Word documents to a new open desktop.

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Try this.
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 27, 2012 7:29 AM PST

Open two word documents on your Macbook.
Doesn't matter right now if they are not easy to read.
With them both open on the screen, click on Mission Control in the dock.
With MC open, you will see both the Word Docs.
Move the mouse to the top right side of the screen and you should see a + sign appear. Click it.
This will create another Desktop. It will be blank but should have your desktop picture on it.
Locate the second Word document, the one that you will reply in.
Drag it to the newly create desktop.
Click on the other Word Doc. This takes you back to the original desktop but now there is only one Word document on the screen.
Switch to the other desktop and Voila, there is the second one.

Is that any good?


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Just to annoy you
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / February 26, 2012 8:13 PM PST
In reply to: Now we're getting warm

I find this easy on my system. I have two monitors side by side and the desktop display extends across both. I can open documents and other files and drag them across to the other monitor to my hearts content, and it makes the process you are wanting to do very easy.

Mine is a Desktop PC (tower) of course and not a laptop, but I do also have a laptop and interestingly, when my Desktop was in for repair, I used the laptop and managed to plug one of the monitors into it and so still had my dual desktop display.

I believe a MacbookPro laptop can do that as well,

But perhaps not too easy to carry the 2nd display if you are on the go of course, Happy

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(NT) I need help.
by Okitta-Ongaye / August 9, 2015 12:37 AM PDT
In reply to: Multiple Desktops,
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Need help
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / August 9, 2015 1:37 AM PDT
In reply to: I need help.

You need to create your own discussion and post full details.

You are posting here into a thread from 2012, now over 3 years old!

I have locked this discussion.


All Answers

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(NT) Answers start here:
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 27, 2012 7:30 AM PST
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After you have set it up, as in my Try This post
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 27, 2012 7:35 AM PST
In reply to: Answers start here:

Use the Control + Left or Right arrow to move between the desktops.

this seems to be the solution to your problem.

It works for me.


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by alan8s / February 27, 2012 7:40 AM PST

Thank you for your patience. That's the answer! I wish I was giving away a valuable prize.

Rest assured that this method will be in constant use and save many hours of work. It also makes me feel
a lot better about the $2500 I spent on this machine..........., and also thankful that there are people out there
willing to help novices who can (hopefully help others.

Thank you again


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That's great
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / February 27, 2012 7:51 PM PST

and I'm glad you got the solution you needed.


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You're welcome.
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 27, 2012 8:48 PM PST

I saw the solution when I started messing with Mission Control.

Glad it worked out for you


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