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Clean up your Mac desktop with Moom

Moom is a fantastic OS X app that allows users to take control over size and placement of app windows, creating a clean desktop in the matter of a few clicks.

Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
3 min read

OS X Lion did away with Expose and Spaces, replacing it with Mission Control. The change has left many people frustrated, trying to find a better way to organize app windows. While there isn't a third-party solution that brings back this specific functionality, there is an app that allows you to better organize app windows on the desktop. Read on to see how Moom can eliminate some stress from your workflow.

First you will need to download and install Moom. You can find a free trial on the Many Tricks Web site, or buy it from the same site or the Mac App Store (iTunes link). Moom will set you back $5.

After you have installed Moom, it should be located in your Applications folder. Launch the app.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

Once Moom is running, you will experience a different interaction when you click or hover on the green icon located at the top of each window. In the past, this button would change the size of the app window, often to seemingly random sizes.

As you can see above, there is now a dialog that pops up that gives you the option to relocate a window by either centering it, or moving it into a respective corner on your desktop. There is also a grid below the five location options that will allow you to draw the desired location and size of the app window.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

When viewing the settings screen, under the General tab, you can control the basic settings of the app. Here you can set Moom to run at log-in, decide where the app icon is displayed (menu bar or dock) when the app is running, or you can have no icon present and leave Moom always running in the background.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

The grid below the five icons shown above is turned off by default, you will need to turn it on under the Mouse tab; check the Enable Move & Zoom grid option you will then see the grid displayed beneath the five icons.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

Using your mouse, you drag out the size and location of the current window. You will see a blue overlay on your screen that shows you were the window will be placed. Once you let go of your mouse, the window will then be placed in the area you specified.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

You can also set keyboard shortcuts under they Keyboard tab in Moom. To use keyboard shortcuts, you will need to set the keyboard trigger; we found Control-Delete to be one shortcut that Moom didn't alert us as having been used by another application. Your experience may vary.

After you have set the trigger keyboard shortcut, you can set the actions for key combinations. Experiment with your preference for actions and figure out what is going to work best for you.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

Once you invoke the keyboard trigger for Moom, you will see the Moom icon, as well as a cheat sheet, revealing your keyboard actions. By pressing the key combination, that designated action will be carried out.

You can set custom actions under the Custom tab; again, experiment with actions to find a good combination that works best for you.

Bonus tip: By creating an Arrange Windows custom setting, you can take a snapshot of your current window placement of open apps, then quickly access the same layout in the future.

We have offered just a small glimpse into what Moom is fully capable of. There is so much more that can be done through the customization of settings and actions. The value of Moom can be seen to those who are obsessive when it comes to keeping a clean desktop. There is even an option in Moom to send windows to a secondary monitor with a click or keyboard shortcut--the possibilities and options are endless.

Download the free trial, which is good for 100 actions; that's more than enough to get the hang of the app and decide if it's worth paying for.