Imagine you are working on a book, for which you need 5 precise internet tabs/pages to be open at the same time, Apple Pages, Dictionary, and, I don't know, a classical music CD in iTunes that inspires you. And on the same day, you will also work on your finances and accounting, for which you will need Numbers, Calculator and three tabs open in a browser. And you're also helping your kids put together a video for their school, so whenever you work on it, you need to have Final Cut Pro X, the TextEdit file corresponding to the project, and 4 images/visual resources opened in Preview.

These are tasks that might take a week or two to get done. So every time you're going to get to work on one of them, you're going to have to spend a long time finding the right documents, source files, and recreating the work environment that you need to be ready to work. And if you are interrupted, or wish to shut down your computer or close the task at hand, you'll have to go save and close in every application.

My question is, does anyone know of a way to simplify opening and closing all the files related to long term projects? Obviously no one turns on their computer to write a novel from A to Z. And no one does "just one thing" on a computer as well. Maybe there is an app that exists that launches a very precise work environment for you?

"Spaces" is good, but what I'm talking about would be a way to save every little setting within a space, and be able to close or reopen or name them (and Spaces has been replaced by Mission Control anyways).

The only way I think someone could do this is by creating aliases of the files related to one task, then select all aliases and reopen them each time (might not work for browser tabs?)

Let me know I would love an answer to this, as I often work on several long term projects in the same year and need to take breaks, or turn off and on my computer often.

  • What version of the OS are you using? More recent versions can be set to reopen apps and their states on startup.
    – bjbk
    Aug 5, 2015 at 4:10
  • I meant to say that I would shut down a session, work on other things, restart the computer, etc, then maybe 2 months later reopen the session and be right where I was at. I could do it by creating different user accounts, but moving files from one user account to another account wouldn't be great, let alone risking to lost files if I finish a project and want to delete the account related... Aug 5, 2015 at 4:22

1 Answer 1


For what you are asking, using the sleep image might be the best way.

Creating a little script one could do that with Sleep Image.

First you would imitate the sleep that would create a image of your current state.

pmset sleepnow


osascript -e 'tell application "System Events" to sleep'

Next you would copy/rename the sleep image file so you can use it later.

They are located in the /private/var/vm/sleepimage

Be aware the sleep image files can be large in Gigabyte size, so make sure you have enough disk space.

  • 1
    Thank you for your idea! I still think the comment I wrote about creating different Users is more user-friendly and easy to parameter. Aug 5, 2015 at 7:43
  • @fabriced your second User wont work, it will not save your current work, only the configuration, but not open apps and documents.
    – Ruskes
    Aug 5, 2015 at 16:04

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