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I would like to give names to different Mission Control Spaces; currently a new Space gets the default name Desktop n where n is a number.

Desktop 1 | Desktop 2 | Desktop 3

Desktop 1 | Desktop 2 | Desktop 3

How can I give each space a custom meaningful name?

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13 Answers 13

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The commercial app TotalSpaces by binaryage allows you to name Spaces.

You may need to partially disable SIP in order to use TotalSpaces, see:


Nope, there is no way to do that =/

But you can put an application into fullscreen and the Desktop will take the application's name.

There IS, actually, a way to name your spaces. SORT OF.

That is, you can't change the name that appears under them when you use Mission Control (which I will go on record saying is one of Apple's biggest mistakes--Spaces was a million times better, even though it too was crippled in some respects), but you can assign names to them and make it easier to tell them apart.

The trick is that you can assign different desktop images to each 'space' (now called a Desktop). This will help make them easier to tell apart. As far as naming, this will be a huge pain, and definitely not ideal. But a kludgey solution is all Apple leaves open to us. You have to put the name on the image. Yup, open an image editor and add some text on top of those lily pads, or that lion's head, or whatever.

Yes, that sucks if you'd like to regularly name and rename your spaces. But if you have a few that you use most of the time, you can create a few desktop images with the names on them, and just live with it. I wish I could give a better solution, but it's out of my control obviously. This is, unless someone discovers an as yet hidden setting somewhere in OS X, or until Apple realizes their mistake and fixes Mission Control, the best we can do.

https://superuser.com/questions/313387/changing-name-of-space-in-mac-os-x-lion


How can I rename desktops in Mission Control?

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This is something that I wanted for ages, so I finally got around and built an open source solution!

It behaves similarly to TotalSpaces in that it uses SIMBL to hook into the display functionality, and uses an application with a top menu bar button to rename the desktops. To install it, just head over to my GitHub and follow the installation instructions!

Screenshots: Edited Names

Name-changing UI

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  • 4
    This still requires you to turn off SIP, right?
    – Jason
    Feb 12 '20 at 7:00
  • You can partially re-enable it with csrutil enable --without debug --without fs, but yes, bits need to stay disabled.
    – Alex Beals
    May 17 '20 at 19:42
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    What parts of SIP are disabled when you partially re-enable it? What security risks come with using Spaces Renamer if you re-enabled SIP after installation? Oct 19 '20 at 22:31
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    It appears this approach does not support M1 Macs Sep 10 at 16:17
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    @WilliamEntriken correct, the MacForge application that this is an add-on for hasn't been updated. Once that's updated, this should follow shortly.
    – Alex Beals
    Sep 10 at 19:21
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A very low technology but quite direct solution is to assign keystrokes to each desktop (Preferences -> keyboard -> shortcuts -> Mission Control : allows you to assign ^1 to Desktop 1 and so on). Then write your desired Desktop Names on a small stickie note (a physical one!) and stick it near the number keys. All your Desktop names are constantly in view, and each is just a single keystroke away...

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    Clever! I don't know if you're serious or not, but I'm giving this an upvote because it seems like some people would actually find it useful. Nice hack! Jan 20 '16 at 18:16
  • Unless I am mis-understanding something, this doesn't work well because which desktop such a keystroke actually brings to view changes when the system changes the order (and number) of the desktops according to recent use.
    – mwal
    Dec 25 '20 at 10:19
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    @mwal you can change it so that the order is preserved. In Mission Control, turn off the 1st checkbox for "Automatically rearrange Spaces based on most recent use." (BigSur v11.1)
    – Damon
    Feb 26 at 15:22
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I am using the built-in Stickies app. I've created a sticky for each space on the top left corner. Just set the sticky window to Floating which keeps it on top of every other window.

enter image description here

This way you get a nice label for each Space which is visible while you are working.

enter image description here

To see all your Spaces just select the Stickies app, click Control + and you see the stickies in a row which represent your Spaces and also clickable:

enter image description here

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    Oh this is a really sweet work around, thanks! Oct 4 '19 at 10:51
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Add a sticky to each desktop, with the desktop label. Then you can right-click on the app icon and switch between desktops!

stickies switcher

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UPDATED SOLUTION:

I came up with a better hack inspired by Karl's answer. Open up the Stickies app. Right click on it on the Dock and select Options -> All Desktops.

Create one sticky. In it create a list like this:

Desktop 1 - Email
Desktop 2 - Gaming
Desktop 3 - Home Business

Make it tall enough and the font large enough so that it is legible when in Command Center.

Now, when you go into Command Center, your "legend" will be available on all Desktops so you can quickly see which one to switch to.

ORIGINAL SOLUTION:

Here's another hack. Open TextEdit and create a new document. Change the font size to something like 175 points and reshape the window to be very short and very wide. Type in the name you want for that desktop. Then duplicate the document, move it to a new desktop and change the name visible there.

As a result you can usually read the names in Mission Control (as long as a window isn't obscuring it) and you can easily switch to a Desktop by name by showing all TextEdit windows and selecting the correct one.

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    I like this one
    – Julien__
    Feb 25 '17 at 12:02
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[Update: creator here 👋 - I have pulled this app from the App Store because it's a free app that I currently don't have a great way to test on Monterey, as I don't own hardware that can run it (I have a 2014 MBP). That said, users have emailed me still wanting it, and I have selectively put it in the store every week or two for a short amount of time so they can grab it. If you are interested in knowing when those windows are, shoot me an email via the support tab on the homepage https://currentkey.com through an email or twitter DM. But also, Apple should just go ahead and support named Desktops natively, they're inevitably going to do so eventually - as all other OS platforms do, and it should be sooner rather than later. Thanks!]

There's an app (in the Mac App Store) that lets you name Spaces via the menubar. It also lets you give each Space a unique icon, and tells you how you spend time across your Spaces (and the apps within them). Because macOS APIs are limited, the names stay in the app and don't show up in Mission Control. But they are persistent.

The app also lets you jump directly to another (named) Space via its dropdown menu. B/c Apple lets you have up to 16 Spaces per screen, this is handy in navigating between them.

Here's a preview shot, you can see the option to jump directly to a Space (app calls them Rooms) via a dropdown, and you can see time spent across them. A view of CurrentKey Stats, which lets you name Spaces, jump between them, and more

Free in the App Store -- CurrentKey Stats. I made it, and it launched about a week before this comment was made. For additional stats (30-day view and exportable reports) you can buy an upgrade, but all the above stuff is free.

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  • This project seems to be dead. At least it's not on the AppStore anymore, and I can't find any link. Dec 6 '20 at 13:45
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    It is temporarily off the store. Apple’s macOS Big Sur has a bug (reddit.com/r/apple/comments/jt0gjk/…) that ruins multiple screen/external monitor support for its users. This bug severely affects CurrentKey Stats’ ability to operate on external displays. For this reason, CurrentKey Stats is being pulled from the App Store until Big Sur is fixed by Apple. The project link is currentkey.com
    – sdailey
    Dec 7 '20 at 19:16
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    Update: it's back in the App Store. The latest Big Sur update seems to fix the underlying issue mentioned above.
    – sdailey
    Dec 15 '20 at 4:33
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    This app has potential to be a great solution. Mar 31 at 13:54
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I'm currently in a position where I want to define a Desktop by a task I'm currently working on; one desktop per task. This makes solutions like using a full screen app or assigning an image unsuitable for me, since I often use more than a single app to fulfill a task and my to do list changes so often that creating custom desktop backgrounds or writing out a legend is not efficient.

What I've been doing is, since I usually need several terminals at a time, I just name each one based on what I'm doing. That helps me remember what all my terminals are for, and then I can just right-click on the terminal icon to get a sort of on-the-fly legend.

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I have found that opening one app per desktop names it after that. In my work that's really helpful because it allows me to have google gasmask open in one, terminal running my local server in another, atom in another and so on, very helpful that it names it after the app running!

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    The app has to be in fullscreen mode in order to give space a name. This is in the accepted answer. Jan 28 '16 at 16:25
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I had a thought. Why not just put a small sticky on the monitor above the desktop space with the description of that desktop.

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  • Sometimes the easiest thing is a physical reminder in precisely the correct physical location. +1
    – bmike
    Feb 1 '18 at 16:35
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You could also make a screenshot of the application. Then set that as the desktop wallpaper for that space.

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  • Terrible solution. You will not know if the app is open of not. Nov 26 '17 at 12:22
  • This is problematic if there are windows blocking the desktop background Feb 1 '18 at 13:37
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I've figured it out. All you have to do is make the app or browser page full screen, and it will automatically be named in the mission control view. See photo.

enter image description here

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    Issue there is that the menus aren't visible in full-screen mode, in many apps that's annoying.
    – DYoung
    Feb 8 '19 at 15:42
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    The OP (and most others who have this question, I think) are looking to assign a name to a space encompassing multiple windows and applications. Often, a single application will have one or more windows in multiple spaces. For those use cases, this solution is worthless.
    – JakeRobb
    Jan 14 '20 at 18:47
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I tried this solution and it worked perfectly with Catalina so it should work for everything before that

https://apple.stackexchange.com/a/400347/359843

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