Increase Screen/Desktop Real Estate with ‘SideSlide’

I came across this great little free application just the other day, although I believe it has been around for some time. It’s called SideSlide and this is how the developer describes it… “SideSlide is an advanced, portable, unobtrusive, dockable, skinnable, instantly accessible, highly configurable Desktop Extension on Steroids!“. An exaggeration? Well, maybe just a little, but SideSlide is certainly one of the most configurable and useful tools I’ve ever come across. SideSlide is based around a highly configurable workspace which can be neatly hidden away in any side or corner of the screen. And the clincher… it’s portable to boot!

SideSlide – The Software

SideSlide is a mere 944KB zip download which scans 100% clean through Virus Total. Installation to Flash Drive (zero registry entries) creates a folder occupying 2.82MB. At first running SideSlide displays a number of useful tips across its work area:

sideslide - startup & tour

Have a little click around, maybe take the tour, and once you are somewhat familiar with the way things work, follow the instructions to press F3 and clear the workspace, thus leaving you with a blank canvas to start proceedings:

sideslide- settings - clear workspace

From within the clean workspace, left click anywhere to reveal a menu bar with options for creating and configuring your new workspace:

sideslide- create new items

From left to right: New Container. New Folder Container. New RSS. New Note. New Reminder. New Picture Slideshow. New File Shortcut. New Dir Shortcut. New Web URL. Container Library. Settings & Appearance. Save Workspace. Toggle Transparency.

As you can see, it’s very easy to add a wide variety of links to files, programs, websites and RSS feeds, add notes and reminders, plus configure the size and position of various containers.

Here is a screenshot of a very basic example I created displaying three new containers:

sideslide- new workspace

Looks like we’re running out of room already? Don’t worry, you can fit plenty more containers inside this small workspace, the containers can easily be folded (minimized) and expanded by simply double clicking on each title bar – have another look now:

sideslide- containers folded

Much of the navigation within SideSlide, can be achieved via right click menus – so, when in doubt, right click. Containers and notes can be detached from the workspace and displayed separately via simple drag and drop.

Now for the pièce de résistance – tucking SideSlide out of the way. It doesn’t matter how large the workspace is, when SideSlide is collapsed it is barely visible. I couldn’t actually get the workspace to collapse by dragging it to the side of the screen as advertized, due to my inexperience no doubt. However, pressing the Esc key or left clicking on the icon at the top far right of the workspace achieves the exact same result:

Now you see it!

Now you see it!

Now you don't!

Now you don’t!

The same collapse (hide) feature is available for all detached containers and notes as well. Just hover the mouse cursor over the collapsed workspace or item to display full size again.

SideSlide – The Verdict

I’ve never been much into docks and launchpads myself but SideSlide is so cool, so configurable and versatile I do believe it is the exception. Plus, it is free and portable as well. Of course, we have only barely touched the surface of SideSlide’s abilities here, not to mention all the display and personalization options included; themes, backgrounds, etc.

sideslide- personalize appearance

It’s just all too much to include in a single article, if you want to learn more about SideSlide and it’s amazing range of options and features you should visit the Tour page here: SideSlide Tour. It includes a very good, albeit rather lengthy video (the first 2 or three minutes should suffice), plus written guides as well. Here is an extract from the Tour Page regarding RSS Feeds:

SideSlide includes support for displaying RSS news feeds inside special containers. You can track multiple feeds in one convenient location. You can either have all RSS containers accessible from the workspace, shrunk, folded or fully visibly, or detached from the workspace to gain additional control. In addition to a built in viewer, SideSlide allows you to track subjects that interest you by marking headlines that contain predetermined keywords.

SideSlide definitely ticks a lot of boxes… well worth checking out.

About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

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