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Save time on repetitive tasks

Why run several programs at once?

Personal computers have long had the ability to run multiple applications concurrently, and this can be a useful, time-saving feature. For example you might keep your email program open while browsing the web, making notes in a document, managing files in an Explorer window, etc. When you need to switch back and forth between windows, leaving them open and activating the one you need is generally the fastest way to work.

Keeping a few frequently used applications open allows your computer to run faster, because it eliminates the overhead of  repeatedly launching the same program, which often incurs a noticeable delay. Aside from that, launching may require additional manual steps to adjust the window layout and perform various application-specific initializations, such as selecting a mode of operation, navigating to a specific section, positioning the cursor, etc.

How Montage makes it faster

Montage gives you a simple way to automate these repetitive routines, so you can get right down to working productively. Simply opening a montage launches and restores the arrangement of just about any collection of program and document windows in a single step. Conversely, closing a montage saves the arrangement and closes the entire set of associated application windows with one click.

Even if you don't need to launch a group of applications all at once, Montage saves time by providing a simple way to launch individual applications and automatically put them into a particular arrangement, so you don't have to do this manually.  In some cases, Windows itself can handle this chore, but not dependably, and with little flexibility. Montage overcomes these time-wasting annoyances.

The following screen shot illustrates Montage's one-step multi-launching capability:

Montage screen shot - click to watch it open

This screen shows the result of opening a montage named samp01.mo3, after double-clicking on a shortcut on the Windows desktop. (You can play an animation by clicking on the above graphic, or click here for a smaller version, or here for the teensy weensy version.)

As you can see from the window layering sequence, this sample montage has opened the Windows Calculator, Outlook Express (email), an Explorer window in the My Documents folder, and a small text file via Notepad, in that order.  Note that some of the icons (called Shortcuts) in the Montage Desktop window are highlighted with a red border.  These correspond to instances of programs that were launched through this montage, and the highlighting indicates that those programs are running. Montage monitors the application windows, so it can turn off the highlighting and retain the configuration automatically when any of these windows is closed.

The un-highlighted Montage Shortcuts represent application instances that are not currently open but could be launched, e.g. via double-click, in which case they would automatically be restored to their previous arrangement. Depending on the particular program and available options, Montage can also save and restore additional properties, which would otherwise have to be done by hand. Unlike Windows alone, which may remember a single configuration at best, Montage keeps track of each Shortcut individually, assuring you that each window layout and any additional saved properties will not be lost.

When the montage is closed, information about which Shortcuts were last open and what was the final arrangement of target windows is saved within the Montage metafile (samp01.mo3 in this case), and the remaining open application windows are then closed automatically.  In other words, closing the sample montage brings us back to seeing only the original shortcut that was used to launch it.


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