Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
If you are like me and most Mac users, then you own and operate a 12- or 13-inch MacBook. Such a laptop offers an ideal compromise between portability and productivity, but at certain points of the day, my 13-inch
can start to feel a bit cramped as I attempt to juggle too many open windows. The new Stacks feature that
introduced is helpful in bringing order to the files littering my desktop, but I still find myself fighting the multitasking tide against too many open windows. Here's a trio of Mac apps that can help keep your windows organized and your head above water.
Watch this: 3 Mac apps to get you organized
The Magnet app is available in the Mac App Store for 99 cents. With it, you can drag a window to the side or corner of your screen to have it occupy a half, third or quarter of your screen. Drag a window to the side to choose half, the bottom edge for a third, and a corner for a quarter. Drag it to the top edge to expand the window to take up your entire screen (but without entering full-screen mode where you lose the menu bar). Magnet also features a menu bar icon that you can use to resize and reposition windows instead of dragging them to the edge of your screen, and in the app's preferences you can set up keyboard shortcuts for moving your windows.
Hocus Focus is not listed in the Mac App Store but is available as a free download from the developer's site. It hides windows that you leave on your desktop so you can stay focused on the single window you are currently using. The default length is 30 seconds before it sweeps up a inactive window under the rug (well, to the Dock), but you can tweak the timing via the Hocus Focus menu bar button. It cleans up not only your cluttered desktop but also the Dock's recent apps tray; apps that Hocus Focus hides are kept out of the recent apps tray, which can help you more easily toggle between your active windows. Clear desktop. Clean app tray. Can't lose.
Station is also a free download straight from the developer and acts as a central hub for your web apps. It supports Gmail,
, Slack, Twitter and many others. You pick the apps to include, log into your accounts and then Station rounds them all up in a single window. Each of your apps in Station is just a click away -- icons for each sit along the navigation panel on the the app's left edge. It's much easier to switch between apps and documents in Station than it is using tabs in a browser. And with all of your apps in a single window, you can search across all of your apps in Station. Station also groups the notifications from all of your apps in one place to help keep you on top of your day-to-day workflow. And you can toggle off notifications if you want to put your head down and focus on the task at hand.