7 Simple Window Management Keyboard Shortcuts for Mac OS to Improve Workflow

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Overloaded with too many active windows from too many apps? Want to scroll through it quickly, minimize one, maybe maximize another? Maybe you just really want to focus and go full screen? We’ve covered all this with some simple keyboard shortcuts that can improve workflow by speeding up up window management and how to deal with app windows in MacOS and Mac OS X. This is not about Mission Control, this is about direct window management of windows for any apps, so check out the keystrokes and let us know if we are missing anything.

1: Switch windows in current application – Command + `

Just like your Command + Tab can work your way through running applications, so can you Command + Tilde your way through active windows in the current application. Considered a “must know trickThe next time you’re buried in a bunch of windows, use this keystroke, it’s so much faster than opening the Window menu and chasing around. Just flip through it like a deck of cards and stop at the window you want.

To be clear, we’re talking about the `/ ~ key, which is next to the 1 key on a standard US qwerty keyboard.

2: Minimize current window – Command + M

Are you done with the current window for now, but don’t want to close it? Instead, minimize it quickly with Command + M, it will be sent to the Dock for later retrieval.

3: Maximize current window

Tired of clicking on the green button increase the size of the current window? Set a hotkey for this! You’ll be creating your own keyboard shortcut for this, as it’s not set by default, but what a useful keystroke it will be once you configure it:

  • Go to System Preferences and “Keyboard”
  • Choose “Keyboard Shortcuts”, then go to “Application Shortcuts” and click + to create a new shortcut
  • Type “Zoom” in the “Menu Title” section, then click in the Shortcut box to define your shortcut (Control + Command + = is set in the example)

Keyboard shortcut for zoom window in Mac OS X

Now you can hit Control + Command + = (or whatever) to instantly zoom in and maximize the current window, nice!

Heads up to SimpleSynthesis for the shortcut idea maximizing

4: Hide all other apps Windows – Command + Option + H

In a jumble of clutter from a million applications? Just hit Command + Option + H and you immediately hide all other applications and their windows, so that you only have the current application and its windows visible. Much less clutter, much less distraction.

This keystroke is best combined with a standard command that makes hidden app icons transparent in the Dock, giving you an easy visual indication of what’s hidden and what’s not.

5: Open Full Screen – Command + Power

When you really need to concentrate or make the most of limited screen space on a laptop, Go to full screen. Done with full screen? Touch Command + Power again to turn off.

If this doesn’t work for you, you may need to manually set the Full Screen shortcut beforehand.

6: Close the current window – Command + W

You are aware of that Command + W close the current window, right? If not, you’ll be thrilled to find that it does. Command + W has been around since the earliest days of Mac OS, and it’s so commonly used by long-time Mac users it’s easy to assume everyone knows about it. Still, we often run into people who have never heard of it, so get to know Command + W and thank yourself later.

7: Close all windows at once – Command + Option + W

Similar to the above command, but by adding the Option key, you can close ALL windows of a given application or in the Finder by clicking Command + Option + W wherever you are. Thanks to @DrFrot in memory of this.

Overloaded With Too Much Windows? Use Spaces & Mission Control

Mission Control can be a rescue from messy clutter by allowing you to set unique settings for apps, app groups and then easily view every single window that is open as well. There’s a lot more to it, but it’s a bit beyond the scope of this article, so you can read 9 tricks to get the most out of Mission Control if you are interested.

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