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Mac 101: Active Screen Corners

Robert Palmer

New to the Mac? Welcome back to our Mac 101 series, which explores the basics of Mac OS X, provides tips and tricks, and dives into key features of Apple's bundled tools.

If you've ever had a panicked moment at work when you need to clear your screen quickly (because you're working on a colleague's birthday card, of course!), Active Screen Corners are for you. They can also activate your screen saver, and help you manage Spaces and Exposé.

To use Active Screen Corners, first open System Preferences (by selecting it from the Apple Menu). Then, click the "Exposé & Spaces" icon.

In the Exposé tab, you'll see there are four corners that you can activate. To use an Active Screen Corner, just move your mouse all the way into that corner. To reverse the action, just move your mouse out of, and then back into, the same corner.

For each corner, there are several handy options. Read on to see what you can do with your Active Screen Corners.

  • All Windows shows you every open window in the current Space.
  • Application Windows shows you just the windows from the application you're using now.
  • Desktop temporarily hides your windows, and shows you your desktop.
  • Dashboard shows your Dashboard, obviously.
  • Spaces shows you all the Spaces you have configured (which you can do in the Spaces tab, if you haven't already).
  • Start Screen Saver will activate your screen saver, naturally.
  • Disable Screen Saver will prevent your screen saver from appearing. This can be helpful, for example, if you're monitoring a long file copy, or making a presentation.
  • Sleep Display puts your display to sleep, as you might imagine.
  • simply disables that Active Screen Corner.

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