VT Voilà is a suite of interface enhancements
that considerably speeds up user interaction with large
(and very large) screen configurations.
We recognized two main problems the multi display user must face:
- Mouse pointer traveling time (and space on desk as
a side effect).
- Lost items, that can be the mouse pointer or the
current task or the next task he wants to switch to.
Moreover, if the user is working on one or more panned
screens (even more space available!), another problem
- Some screen real estate is temporarily hidden.
VT Voilà is a simple yet effective solution
for these inconveniences. However, we have to admit that
there is a major drawback in VT Voilà: it
is highly addictive. We have observed customers that,
while forced to use other computers, were frantically
hitting the VT Voilà hot keys trying to make
their cursors jump. Even on single screen systems!
All of the VT Voilà features can be always
activated, but a multi display setup is necessary to
see the benefits each feature.
Each utility is recalled using an hot key. By default the very immediate command-F1
to command-F4 keys.
But let us see VT Voilà in detail:
Hey! helps you in finding your mouse pointer, lost
in the huge screen space: when you hit the corresponding
hot key, a red circle appears around the mouse pointer.
The circle is big enough to be noted in any multi display
setup and disappears after a few moments.
As a convenience, inside the circle a number appears, remembering you which is
the current Hot Jump position (see below).
Jump! makes the mouse pointer.. well.. jump from one
place to another. Any distance is covered instantaneously
and Hey! is invoked at the target, so you can quickly
regain the focus on the new location.
But where does the pointer jump to? There are two Jump kinds: the Main Jump
and the Hot Jump and in both kinds you will memorize where you want the next
jump to be. After all, don't you usually buy return tickets?
As you would expect, a Jump! position remembers the screen position even in
Village Tronic's panning displays, so you can even Jump! to a part of a panned
display that is not currently visible.
One useful trick: you can jump when you are dragging
an item, transforming the usual drag-and-drop gesture
in a much more powerful drag-and-jump-and-drop operation.
Main Jump jumps between the main screen
and the other screens. The main screen is the one with
the Apple menu bar (and usually the dock). When you
hit the Main Jump hot key, if the pointer is on a screen
different from the main screen it jumps instantaneously
into the main screen, in the position you last jumped
off by using Main Jump. And if the pointer was on the
main screen, it jumps exactly on the last position
you jumped off on one of the other screens.
As often happens, trying it is way easier than explaining it: just try!
This kind of jump is very useful to reach the menu bar from wherever on your
screens: just leave the mouse pointer near the menu bar before the first Main
Jump and then you'll be able to jump back there in a snap, no matter which application
window you are using and how much far away your are from the main screen.
As Hey! does, also Main Jump draws a red circle around the pointer at the end
of the jump. Moreover, the circle reports whether you landed on the main screen
(black dot) or on one of the other screens (black circle). Just to avoid any
It's true, Hot Jump is not as immediate
to use as Main Jump. But it's way more powerful: you
can memorize and jump to up to 5 different locations
on your screens!
Each time you Hot Jump, the current pointer position is memorized and you move
to the next Hot Jump position, and so on. If you decided to have three Hot Jump
positions, you'll cycle positions in this order: 1, 2, 3, 1, 2... every time
you hit the Hot Jump hot key.
So if you are working between three applications in three screens, just configure
Hot Jump by jumping from the main windows of the three applications and then
with no more than two jumps you can move to any screen. And every time you jump
to a screen, the mouse pointer is exactly where you left it so you can immediately
start working again in the target application.
You can mix Hot Jump operation with Main Jump so if you need to access the menu
bar you don't have to modify one of the Hot Jump positions.
When you jump, a number appears in the right circle: it is the number of the
position you just jumped in. And if, at any time, you need to remember which
is the current position number (so you can know which position you'll memorize
the next time you Hot Jump), you can just Hey! and the number inside the red
circle will tell you which is the current Hot Jump.
Voilà has two functions: it allows you to move
through your multi display setup with a speed second
only to Jump! and it provides a quick overview of all
your screens. All of this directly under you mouse pointer.
When invoked, Voilà makes a small scaled representation
of your screens appear right under the mouse pointer.
Clicking on any position inside the scaled representation
makes your pointer jump directly into the chosen position,
no matter how far away it is.
Since Voilà is providing a full representation
of all your screens, you can immediately have an idea
about how the screen space is used and where everything
is. This is especially useful when using panned resolutions,
where only a part of the screen is visible at any time.
Depending on what you are doing and you habits, you
may prefer a bigger or smaller Voilà preview:
you can decide how big is the Voilà overview both
in the VT Voilà system preference and by using
the scroll wheel or the up and down arrow keys when the
overview is shown. The scaling factor can range from
4x to 32x: the bigger the factor, the smaller and less
detailed will be the Voilà overview.
If you want to use Voilà just to have an overview,
you can easily dismiss its overview by clicking anywhere
outside it or by hitting any key (except the up and arrow
keys and commands).
The Voilà overview can be made as transparent
as you like, so you can still see the screen contents
below it, if you want.
do I get VT Voilà?
VT Voilà is a free utility
that you can download here or
find bundled with your Village Tronic graphics card
Multi Display Tips&Tricks:
Follow these easy suggestions to
make the best possible use of your hardware and software
configuration, for more productivity and less stress:
panning is nice: if your card
supports it, use it and place your panned display
as the rightmost one.
Set your Dock to be
at the bottom of the main screen
Learn first to use Main Jump and
Jump for when
you need to use more applications at once.
Customize your favorite
VT Voilà configuration
is set up in the VT Voilà preference pane,
in System Preferences. You can specify when VT Voilà should
be activated, some key features of your Village Tronic
graphics cards and fine tune Jump! and Voilà!
panel only available for compatible cards)
VT Voilà requires al least
Mac OS X 10.3.X (Panther). It won't be installed on
earlier operating systems.
Both Intel and PowerPC Macs are supported.
Do you like VT Voilà? Do you
think it is missing a feature you'd find useful? Let
us know! Please write your feedback using the tech