I'm currently using two monitors, mostly for web development. I've 3 spaces on my main monitor (MPB), and one on my secondary monitor.

I switch between the spaces using ctrl + arrow, but there is one major issue with this. If my focus is on my secondary monitor, absolutely nothing happens when trying to switch spaces, because there is only one space on my secondary monitor.

That is intentional. I want ctrl + arrow to always switch spaces on my main screen. How do I achieve that?


I've tried toying with the "Displays have separate Spaces" option, only to find it that I hate it if the spaces are unified. I really only need spaces on my main monitor.

Using a 3rd party software is fine, but I'm not throwing my credit card at just any suggestion, so open source or other free software is preferred.

  • One thought that definitely doesn't require any additional software: Each space has a number assigned to it, and they aren't duplicated between displays. If you go into keyboard shortcuts, (System Prefs > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Mission Control section) you can enable keyboard shortcuts for switching directly to numbered spaces (i.e. space 1 is Control-1, etc). Your main display should be spaces 1, 2, and 3 (or maybe 2, 3, and 4 ... you can find out by pressing Control-Up arrow to open Mission Control and looking toward the top of the screen). – tubedogg Oct 28 '16 at 8:41
  • Thanks for the tip @tubedogg! I enabled that, but ctrl + number feels a bit cumbersome to my fingers. cmd + number would be a splendid combination, but that would break too many things. – Christian Oct 28 '16 at 9:04
  • I've disabled Displays have separate spaces and set all the applications in the second screen to show up in all desktops. You can do it by right clicking the application in the dock and select Options > All desktops. It's not perfect, but in my opinion it's only a slight nuisance. You will see the space changing animation, but the the windows stay visible. – Joonas Oct 28 '16 at 10:53
  • Interesting. I shall give it a go. – Christian Oct 28 '16 at 11:45
  • Okay, I've now tested it, and it definitely is better. Though the animation is quite annoying. – Christian Oct 31 '16 at 8:43

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