MoreDesk: Getting Started


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Using MoreDesk

When run for the first time, MoreDesk will add its icon near to the right-hand end of the iconbar. Left clicking on the iconbar icon will open the main window (you can also open and close the main window by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Tab).

main window
The MoreDesk main window

The main window contains a scaled-down view of the entire desk space, showing each desktop and all of the main windows that are currently open. By default, the desk space consists of the 'home' desktop and one further desktop to its right.

The desktop which is currently being viewed is called the 'home' desktop because that is the one which will be restored when MoreDesk quits. You will notice a red square highlighting the current desktop. This highlight can be moved around with the cursor keys. Pressing 'return' will select the desktop which is highlighted.

Naming Desktops

Desktops can be assigned a name. This is purely for your information to help you to remember which desktop is which. It is often helpful to use the same desktop(s) for a specific set of tasks so that you can always remember where to look to find certain windows. Desktop naming will help with this.

Giving a desktop a name

In the example above, we have opened the main menu over the ‘home’ desktop and we are going to give it the imaginative name of ‘Home’ by typing the name in and either left-clicking on the name or pressing Enter.

A desktop with a name

It is as simple as that! You have given a desktop a name. The name doesn't have to be one word - it can be anything up to around 250 characters. However, long desktop names will tend to be clipped to fit into the image of that desktop in the main window view (although the text is wrapped to reduce this effect).

Some users may find that the text doesn't look as good as pictured above; the edges of the text may appear ‘fuzzy’. If this is the case, you will need to switch on the RISC OS “Font Blending” technology. The easiest way to do this is to download and install Paul Vigay's very handy MiscSetup plug-in. Then you can use the normal Configure system to switch Font Blending via Misc Setup.

The foreground and background colour of the text can be controlled using the standard Pinboard Setup configuration plug-in - this has options for setting the text and background colours. Each desktop has its own configuration.

Note: if you have backdrop association disabled, you may find that you cannot configure the text foreground and background colours in that way.

Managing Open Windows

Any other windows which are currently open will be reflected in the main window view as scaled-down pictures of windows. Each window has an icon at its centre to indicate the task to which that window belongs. MoreDesk will try to make that icon smaller to fit into different sizes of windows, as below.

windows and tasks
Windows with task sprites

In the main window, you can drag and drop windows to move them around the desk space. You will also notice that this scaled-down view updates as you move windows around in the normal way (e.g. by dragging their title bar).

Start a “rubber box” drag in a space between windows and extend it until it touches the windows which you want to select. You can right-click on other windows to add them to the selection.

rubber box
Selecting windows with a rubber box

Once a window has been selected, it will turn yellow (or whatever the configured selection colour is). You can right click a selected window to deselect it, or left click in a space between windows to deselect them all.

selected windows
Selected windows turn yellow

Once you've selected the windows you want to move, drag them over to the location where you want them to be placed. Press escape at any time to cancel the drag operation.

drag windows
Dragging a selection of windows

When you finish the drag operation, the windows themselves will be moved to the place where you indicated.

drop windows
Drop the selection into another desktop

Note: you can set some options in the MoreDesk configuration which will make windows which are dropped near to the edge of a desktop, or near to the iconbar, snap up to that edge. This helps to stop windows from straddling the boundary between desktops by small amounts, which can be irritating. This feature only applies to windows being moved via MoreDesk, not to normal window drag operations (e.g. by dragging the window's title bar).

From the main menu, you can select groups of windows. This is particularly handy if you want to relocate all of the windows in a given desktop to another desktop but preserve their relative position.

selecting windows
Selecting windows

Also using the main menu, you can close all selected windows, iconise them, push them to the back or pull them to the front of the window stack. You can even force selected windows to the centre of the screen or fetch them from another desktop whist preserving their position relative to the desktop origin.

A good example of how to do this in practice is to do the following:

  1. Move into an empty desktop
  2. Open the MoreDesk main window
  3. Click in a different desktop (one with windows in it)
  4. Select all windows in that desktop (ctrl-D)
  5. Fetch the selected windows into the current desktop (ctrl-E)

You can see that all of the windows move into the current desktop but maintain their position relative to one another and the edges of the desktop. A handy alternative to move the selected windows by increments of one desktop is to hold down the shift key and press the cursor keys.

One more handy thing you can do is to select all windows belonging to a specific task (e.g. the Filer) and close them. Have a look around the main window's menu to see how this is done.

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