Stevenator65’s Weblog

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Allocate Screen Space for Widgets Free

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I love Widgets.  They are so cool.  Widgets are mini-programs that are always on your desktop and do handy things.  I have a calendar, To-Do list, weather and a few others.  Yahoo! even provides a dock to hold your widgets (see the right side of the screenshot above).  But unless you feel like resizing every window you have open, you won’t have easy access to your widgets.  You can choose the “always on top” option, but then you’ll cover up your other windows.  Bummer.  But today I think I found a solution that will let me have easy access to widgets while not impeding my open windows.

I was reading this post at Lifehacker, which attempted to solve this exact problem.  It got me thinking.  I tried the software they mentioned, called DesktopCoral, but couldn’t get it to work.  I then read all the comments and found other software alternatives and tried almost all of them.  I chose MaxTo because it was functional and simple to use.

Just install it, then you can define your desktop space.  I wanted to use the desktop space at the far right of the screen for my widget dock, but you can make multiple desktop spaces.  The program starts as one large desktop, then you press either Split Vertical or Split Horizontal.  See photo below:

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I chose Split Vertical, then slid the vertical line to the right, leaving enough room for my dock.  That’s it.  Now, every time I maximize a window it will become the size of the window I defined.  Easy?  Not so fast.  I found, not through the skimpy instructions, but by trial and error, that you must maximize a window while your mouse cursor is in said window.  So, for example, if you have a window open that is almost maximized, and the max/min/close button section is in the far right window I defined, then it will maximize in that small space.  In the photo below, I maximized Internet explorer while the mouse cursor was in my small vertical space on the right – you can see IE open behind my widget dock:

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If a window is not maximized, you must move the min/max/close section of the window into the desktop space you want it maximized into.  Since IE is not where I want it in the photo above, you must drag it to the left half of the screen, then maximize it.  So you have this:

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The photo above shows the dock on the right and my maximized windows on the left.  If you look closely, you’ll notice I have 12 windows open, all maximized into the vertical screen I defined with MaxTo.

This software also lets you use keyboard shortcuts to control your windows, and lets you define many desktop spaces, though I found 2 to be sufficient.

Sometimes you want to view side by side programs.  Below is a photo of my alternate desktop.  I made three vertical regions, one for the dock and one each for two separate programs, Excel and Outlook.

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To do this, you must make sure your mouse cursor is in the region you want to maximize the window, then click ALT while maximizing the window.  I couldn’t get two Excel windows side by side.  I opened two separate instances of Excel with two different spreadsheets, but it treated it as one software.  Bummer.  But it’s still a cool program.

MaxTo for Windows is free and you can get it here.

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February 27, 2009 - Posted by | Reviews, Software, Tutorial, Utilities, Windows

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