Enabling Optimal Layout on OS X Mavericks

Optimal Layout must be granted permission to control your computer in the Security & Privacy System Preference.

When you first run Optimal Layout it will display this alert. Press the "Open System Preferences" button:

Mavericks Privacy Alert

In the Privacy System Preference, click on the lock in the bottom left corner and enter your password.
Next click on the checkbox beside Optimal Layout.

Mavericks Privacy System Preference

Finally, relaunch Optimal Layout.

If this doesn't work enter the following command in Terminal:

tccutil reset Accessibility

Then open Optimal Layout and add it to the Privacy preference again.


Intro & Switching Windows

This screencast introduces Optimal Layout's interface and shows you how you can use it to switch between windows (3:41).

Positioning Windows

This screencast shows you how to position windows, including saving your own custom window positions (3:29).

Customizing Optimal Layout

This screencast takes you through some of the less obvious aspects of customizing Optimal Layout (2:39).

Essential Keyboard Shortcuts

Activate OL & begin searching the list of windows
You may like to customize this shortcut in Optimal Layout's Preferences.
Activate OL & move through the list of windows
Release the option key and the highlighted window will be activated.
You can replace the default command-tab application switcher in Preferences.
Position the highlighted window
The positions are displayed in the title bar.
Use option-command-[1-5] as a shortcut to position a window when OL isn’t visible.
option 1 - 5
Save the highlighted window position
The shortcut can be global, so it works in other applications.
Move a window
This is a global shortcut, so can be used without activating OL.
command-control-[arrow key]
Resize a window
Also a global shortcut.
command-shift-control-[arrow key]

You can also hide, minimize and zoom windows, with option-h option-m and option-q. Quit applications with option-q.
There are many more keyboard commands available, open up Optimal Layout's Preferences and take a look at the Shortcuts tab for a full list.

Optimal Layout's Interface

If you've got 2 or more displays

You will see this button, press it to jump the currently selected window between displays.

If you've got a trackpad you can also do a three finger swipe over the grid to move windows between displays.

Make Terminal Tabs Recognizable

By default Terminal doesn't show anything useful in it's Tab title so you can't distinguish the tabs in Optimal Layout.
You can get terminal to show the current path in it's title by editing ~/.bash_profile and adding the following lines:

case $TERM in
		PS1="\[\033]0;\w\007\]bash\$ "
		PS1="bash\$ "


A small number of applications don't display correctly or may not be positioned by Optimal Layout.
This includes the Adode CS applications such as Photoshop and Illustrator.

This is an inherent limitation with the way these applications were developed.
You can tell Optimal Layout to ignore applications by right clicking on the window name and selecting from the drop down menu.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is Optimal Layout asking for access to my contacts?

    This is just to get your email address to pre-fill it in the crash report page.
    I know this seems a bit suspicious so this will be removed in a future update.

  • Something's gone wrong, how do I reset Optimal Layout?

    Open Optimal Layout's Preferences, select the General tab and and press the button in the bottom left corner "Reset All Preferences."
    Alternatively you can return Optimal Layout to it's default settings by quitting Optimal Layout and deleting the following files:

    Where ~ indicates your home folder.
    (It's possible only one of these files will exist, so just delete the one you find).

    Now launch Optimal Layout and it will be back to it's original state.

  • Can Optimal Layout work its magic with Firefox or TotalFinder tabs?

    No, unfortunately not. These apps don't make their tabs available to be accessed by other applications.