When the first details of Leopard sprung onto the scene at WWDC 2006, Spaces was something which caught the eye for a second, and immediately disappeared from my mind. Even over the past few weeks when the official feature list was posted on Apple’s website and Spaces was featured as one of the main components to the operating system, I still glanced over it – thinking it wouldn’t change the way I worked.

Boy, was I wrong. At this point in my continued exploration of Leopard, Spaces is by far one of the most convenient Leopard feature.

Active Spaces

I’m currently using three separate Spaces. These are all in a single row as I find this much easier to remember what each space contains in my mind. Although you can’t name individual Spaces within System Preferences, I’ve given each of these ‘virtual’ labels. Focus, information, and communication.

Focus is home to any application I’m currently working within such as photo editing applications, web browsers, media organizers, and text editors.

Information is used for iTunes and my RSS reader NewsFire. I keep both of these permanently open in this space for quick access to the latest news and podcasts.

Communication is home to Mail, iChat, Skype, and Twitterrific. This is my favorite Spaces environment of all – allowing me to keep tab on all communicational tools on my machine. I’m frequently switching to this tab and comprehending emails, tweets, and instant messages at once.

Spacing Out

The ability to assign certain applications to different Spaces is something third party applications such as Virtue Desktops in Tiger didn’t allow. The feature is very convenient in keeping applications sorted in a tidy manner.

Shortcut keys are easily customizable, I have mine set using the default choice the OS shipped with (Control + Arrow Keys), although this can be switched on user demand.

If I could add one thing to the organizational side of Spaces, I’d like to be able to name individual Spaces and have these names appear underneath the overlay window when switching between.

For a feature I initially skimmed past, Spaces is quite easily my favorite major feature of Leopard. It has shaped my general day-to-day computing use in just two days of practical use – not something that can be said about to many other applications.