Photo by William Hartz
Does your desktop resemble the one above? May be you’re running too many applications, all crammed up for space on your 15″ or 17″ monitor, and they’re desperate for more space on your screen. You can’t afford a new monitor this time around or setting a high resolution doesn’t go well with your monitor.
Here’s a practical guide on how you can get rid of all the tempting distractions and put more focus on the most needed jobs by making the best use of the available screen space.
Techniques to get the most out of your screen space:
1. Reduce Desktop Clutter
Too many icons on your desktop? Reduce it to the minimum possible, or replace them all with something like Launchy.
Got too many files? Put them in folders. Name the folders appropriately.
Remove Widget Sidebars, you don’t really use them most of the time.
This will give you a clean and uncluttered desktop, and also save you some time – keeping you productive all day.
2. Auto Hide
Consider setting elements on your screen to ‘auto hide’ if you don’t really use them often.
Something that people don’t really realise – you can auto hide your Window taskbar – just alter the properties.
One app we use quite a lot is Firefox – you can auto hide the menubar (thanks to Harsh!), auto hide the bookmarks bar or even hide all that you don’t want to see if you’re in Fullscreen mode. You get a large room for viewing websites, thanks to these clever work-arounds.
3. Virtual Desktops
Virtual Desktops are pretty handy and come to great use especially if you work with multiple applications all the time. Virtual Desktops get the clutter down on your desktop and help in organizing windows better – you can have your most used windows in Desktop 1, the lesser used in the next one and so on.
Microsoft officially gives you a PowerToy that you can download and install to add the ‘Virtual Desktop’ functionality to Windows XP.
Furthermore, if you want advanced features and additional bells, get a copy of this XP/Vista Virtual Desktop Manager that provides you with thumbnail previews of virtual desktops in Vista.
You get irritated suddenly seeing the amount of apps running all over your desktop – all cluttered, and distractive. You’re determined to concentrate on one thing, but you’re just frenzied up.
How about highlighting the working area and leaving the rest in dark so that you’re free of all the distractions that keep you unproductive?
Yes, there’s a way to do that. Zorro is an app that can get this done for you – it darkens all areas except the rectangular area you select on the screen – keeping you out of all the unwanted and the unnecessary. You can now focus on what you really want to do.
If you use your computer for a lot of writing work, you could try something called WriteRoom which is a text editor with a cool concept. When you start it, nothing is shown except the text area. So no distractions, just creativity flowing!
5. More Apps
Some apps that don’t fit in the above sections -
WinRoll – Rolls an entire window to just display the title bar. Useful if you have lots of windows open, and want to see one behind the active window.
Tray It! – Too many buttons crowding the Windows Taskbar. Try this app to minimize applications to system tray.
Got any tips, suggestions? Drop them in the comments!