I am running 10.8.4 and would like to switch to different desktops using keyboard shortcuts. Unfortunately for me, I only see "Switch to Desktop 1" and have not way to add a shortcut to switch to desktop 2.


If I have have 4 desktops, I have to scroll through all 3 of them if I want to go from desktop 1 to 4.

UPDATED QUESTION Sorry - This question has become a little convoluted suddenly. I am able to desktops using CTRL + # shortcut only if the apps is not full screen. If I have full screen apps, I cannot use the short cut (perhaps because it is not longer a "Desktop" then). I use my editor, browser and terminal all the time in fullscreen mode - I just want to switch to them using one shortcut - I could do this in older version of osx, but not in 10.8.4 :(

  • I'm not at my mac at the moment, but if Ctrl-1 switches to Desktop 1, might not Ctrl-2 go to 2, and so on?
    – MattDMo
    Jul 19, 2013 at 17:13
  • @MattDMo No, there is only one desktop at first, so there is switch to Desktop 1. And you can switch with Ctrl-Right or Ctrl-Left. Ctrl-2, Ctrl-100 seems unnecessary and may conflict with other shortcuts.
    – eccstartup
    Jul 19, 2013 at 17:32
  • And you have F3, the Mission Control key, you need not such a key.
    – eccstartup
    Jul 19, 2013 at 17:33
  • @MattDMo Please give some reason if you vote down.
    – eccstartup
    Jul 19, 2013 at 17:37
  • @MattDMo Thanks for the reply - I updated the question.
    – Trewq
    Jul 19, 2013 at 17:38

5 Answers 5


Full screen apps do not count as a desktop.

enter image description here

So if you set up looks something like the above, you can not switch to desktop 2 because there isn't one. What you have is one Desktop and two spaces.

If you want to be able to switch between full screen apps, without cycling through each space you could change your Mission Control settings.

enter image description here

By checking the highlighted box you can switch full screen app spaces by using the command+tab keyboard shortcut.

Also, in order to create a shortcut for Desktop 2 you need to have at least two desktops running open before you open System Preferences.


you need to activate all the desktop you want to use first. I had to open 6 windows and drag each to each new desktop then open up the preference again and you'd find the 'switch to desktop 2,3,5...' start to appear in shortcut preference setting.

This is very stupid by Apple.

  • You do need to learn how Mission Control works since it's a hidden interface. What you characterize as stupid could also be characterized as elegant - continuing the "Don't show someone options for commands that are not active." Rather than abandoning that principle could be at play even if someone felt that showing all options in this place was good precedent to set. I'm not so sure this is a clear-cut decision. I see screen 2 as soon as I make that screen, so I'm not sure why you had to make 6 screens.
    – bmike
    Aug 29, 2013 at 17:45

"move right a space" is what your looking for


Using Control + Right arrow is very inconvenient (i.e. unergonomic) for two reasons:

  • You need to press it as many times as spaces you want to cycle
  • You need two hands (left hand to press Ctrl + right hand to press the arrows), whereas if you press Ctrl+N you only need your left hand.

I agree with the principle of simplicity but only as long as it's not in contradiction with flexibility. Macs should not be designed only for dumb people but also for advanced users who know what they're doing.


Control + Right Arrow helps switch between the desktops.

I think it is not necessarily to make a shortcut for "Switch to Desktop 2".

  • No thanks. I prefer not to click 8 times if I have 8 desktops. The question is to see how to get "Switch to Desktop 2".
    – Trewq
    Jul 19, 2013 at 16:27
  • The key F3 can show all the desktops. You can switch there.
    – eccstartup
    Jul 19, 2013 at 16:34

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