How to Set a Different Wallpaper for Each Space in Leopard

Ever since I moved to MacOS Leopard and discovered Spaces, the new Virtual Desktop feature, I have wanted to have a different wallpaper for each virtual desktop. This is not supported by Spaces. I finally found a way to do this using Dockland Soft’s SpaceSuit. SpaceSuit fills in this gap rather well. And it’s free.

Head over to the SpaceSuit website and download the latest release of the application. Once downloaded the SpaceSuit dmg image should mount itself. If not, double click on the downloaded file to mount it. Once mounted you will see a window like the one below. All you to do to install it is to drag the SpaceSuit icon which is on the left of the window to the Applications folder on the right.

The installation of SpaceSuit is now complete. We can proceed to using it. Open finder and go to the Applications directory of your computer. Locate the SpaceSuit icon and double click on it to launch it. You will then see a pop-up on your screen briefly explaining to you how to use the application. There will be a check box at the bottom with a message Do not show this message again. I suggest you check it.

You will see a new icon in your Dock as well. Below is a screenshot of the SpaceSuit Dock icon. When this icon is in your Dock it means SpaceSuit is running.

Here comes the magic. To setup an image as the wallpaper for a Spaces virtual desktop all you have to do is to drag and drop the image onto the SpaceSuit icon in your dock while you are in that Spaces desktop. So if you want to setup an image as the wall paper for Space 1, go to Space 1, click on the image and drag it onto the SpaceSuit icon in your Dock. Space 1 will now use this image as its wallpaper.

SpaceSuit does not overwrite the wallpaper setup by MacOS. It creates a new layer on top of the original wallpaper and sticks the image you gave it onto this new layer. This means that to roll back to the wallpaper you setup using the Leopard Preferences pane all you need to do is to remove the new layer that SpaceSuit created. To do this right click on the SpaceSuit icon and click on the Remove Image option. You should now see the original wallpaper on this Space.

One feature that I found missing in SpaceSuit was an option to launch it at boot. Without this feature you need to manually launch SpaceSuit every time you restart your computer. There is a work around for this. Open your System Preferences pane. Click on the Accounts tab. Select your user and select the Login Items. Click on the + sign to add SpaceSuit to the list of applications here. In the finder window that opens select the SpaceSuit icon from your Applications folder. Click OK to finish. Now SpaceSuit will launch at boot and you don’t need to worry about launching it manually.

SpaceSuit does something so wonderful, and all for no price. Can’t ask for too much more, I suppose.

Comments [8]

  1. A simple way to add an application to your login items would be to launch the app, right-click its icon in the dock and select "Open at Login".

  2. Thanks for the tip. I was trying to figure out how to have the apps open when I choose the SPACE, but since that's not possible I've just set the apps to open when I start up the computer. That way they are there when I do go to that SPACE.

    I've got 4GB Ram, so I'm not worried about memory usage…heck, it's a MAC!

  3. This app seems to do the job. However, I put my desktop background to change every 5 min, randomly choosing a background out of a set stored in a local folder (the mac does this natively).

    It would be nice for this app to be able to do that for every Space in the mac.

  4. It would be nice if the desktop background animated with the space switching animation. Currently it just 'pops' the image onto the space once you've reached it.. instead of flowing into it.. too bad. But if you are just running a single desktop, its great for changing your desktop wallpaper in a second.

  5. The thing that irritates me about SpaceSuit is that it must be kept running in order to keep the wallpaper setting in the other space(s). I don't begrudge it the RAM but I do begrudge it the space in my dock. 🙁

  6. I have used SpaceSuit very effectively for some time, a great application. However The hard disk on my iMac packed up, I bought a new iMac, and use the first machine to provide a second screen using ScreenRecycler. System Preferences shows both screens and allows me to put a different picture on each screen which means I can spread a panoramic photograph across the two screens but unfortunately only for one Space. Would it be possible to adapt SpaceSuit to mimic System Preferences and have a different panoramic scene for each Space?

  7. This is a great app, and it free too!! The annoying thing is that it successfully changed my wallpaper in different spaces but the transparent menu bar still shows my original wallpaper in the background, is there any way to fix this. Another thing: with the default desktop settings you can change the wallpaper for each of your monitors, can Scpacesuit somehow integrate this, or even better can it pan a wide wallpaper on two monitors?

    Anyway, thanks for the info..


    Thank you!! Your instructions were so simple, and clear!

    -Amy 🙂

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