I use terminals a lot, and I frequently open and close them. The problem is that whenever I open a new terminal using +n it overlaps the current one, and I have to move it out of the way first. Is there a way to make them open side by side from top left to bottom right?

  • Don't mean to be rude, but what's wrong with moving them? And I really doubt there is something you can do about it, it's just a wee bit too trivial.
    – Ali
    Jan 3 '11 at 13:26
  • 1
    @Alistair: You are right, it is a minor detail, but that is no reason not to try and fix it :) Jan 3 '11 at 14:02
  • Fair enough :) take a look at my answer, hopefully that will solve your problem slightly.
    – Ali
    Jan 3 '11 at 14:04
  • I agree, this behavior is pretty annoying :) Jan 3 '11 at 22:04
  • possible duplicate of What Window Management Options exist for OS X?
    – user588
    Mar 5 '11 at 18:08

This behavior won't happen in OS X by default, but a whole bunch of 3rd party window-arranging apps ought to be able to help:

  • It looks like ShiftIt is the only free option available. Anyone have experience with it?
    – Chase
    Feb 7 '11 at 20:46
  • I use Spactacle on Mac to achieve this. Apr 27 '15 at 18:40

You could also check out iTerm 2. One of the nice features it has is the ability to split panes, each one of which shows a different session. You can slice vertically and horizontally and create any number of panes in any imaginable arrangement. It also offers a number of other improvements over Terminal.app.


Try using the tabs feature. When you're in a Terminal window, press Cmd+T and a new tab will open up alongside your current one, just like in Safari. You can even rename the tabs by double clicking the tab header, and assigning a title. Hope this helps.

  • In that case I think I would rather use screen, since I am more familiar with that. Jan 3 '11 at 14:03

There is not going to be a way to accomplish this out-of-the-box, you will have to have some sort of third party window management utility. There very well may be one that works automatically, but I haven't quite found one yet :).

My two recommendations (in this order only because I've used Divvy, not SizeUp) are:

  1. Divvy - $14, Divvy is a very sleek little utility. On it's face, the use case is to have the application window open and active that you wish to resize, then call up Divvy either by clicking it's icon in the menu bar, or hitting a defined activation shortcut, which calls up a 6x6 grid on all active screens (multi-monitor aware!) which you can drag a cutout on to move+resize your application window.

Your use case would likely involve creating a global shortcut to define a 1/2 left and a 1/2 right cutout on the primary screen. You can then click the terminal you want, press this series of shortcut keys, et voíla, 1/2 width slots for your terminal windows.

  1. SizeUp - $7, SizeUp will likely be quicker to start for you if all you ever want is the 1/2 left 1/2 right capability. It already has predefined shortcuts for halfs, corners, and moving windows around Screens and Spaces, but that is (to the best of my knowledge) where the functionality ends.

Check them out, decide what you want, maybe do a little more research to see if something else exists.

I seem to recall seeing a question on this site regarding the Windows 7 feature of Window snapping. Drag a window to the top of the screen to maximize it, left to 1/2 left it, right to 1/2 right it, but again my term selection seems to be... inefficient. That and window shopping for price is always in your best interest.

  • Hyperdock (hyperdock.bahoom.de) has the "snap" feature you mention. Very useful to be honest, but won't snap windows like SizeUp or other would do. Jan 3 '11 at 17:08

Apart from the tools already mentioned above, there is BetterTouchTool, a very nice utility that allows custom finger tap gestures on a Magic Mouse or any multitouch trackpad. I have configured it to make windows snap to the left or right half of the screen by simply using a two-finger hold-and-tap gesture. Not as nice as a tiling window manager, but quick and easy nonetheless.


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