OS X: Tips for Managing Windows

In this article, we're gonna go over a few tricks for minimizing windows and closing them. Be aware that most of the shortcuts I'll mention will work around OS X and even in some third-party apps, so they're certainly worth memorizing for the sake of productivity. Plus, you'll look like a total wizard to your Uncle Jerry when you close all of his Finder windows at once. We all need a little ego boost every now and then, right?

First of all, if you're one of those folks who likes minimizing windows to the Dock, you probably know that you can do that either by pressing Command-M or by hitting the yellow "stoplight" button at the upper-left of the window.

If your current program has a lot of windows open, though, you can also minimize all of them at once by pressing Option-Command-M instead (or by holding down the Option key as you click that same yellow button).

Here's the thing, though—when you've got those windows down there, it's a pain in the butt to bring them back one at a time, isn't it? I'm happy to report that you can un-minimize them all at once, too! To do so, just hold down the Option key as you click on one of the windows in the Dock, and every window from that same program will shoot back up at the same time.

Look at those silly windows, just waiting for me to un-minimize them. Um, maximize them? Whatever you wanna call it.

OK, now you've got them back again. What if you decide that you want to close them all instead? You could press Command-W to close each one in turn or click the red stoplight button on each, but that's as slow as all get-out. For a fast way to close every open window in an app, hold down the Option key as you click on the red stoplight button, or press Option-Command-W. I find this especially handy in the Finder when this happens:

If you don't use the Auto Save feature of 10.7/10.8 and you're working in a program like Pages, you'll be asked to save any unsaved documents, of course. Otherwise, you're ready to get on with your work without all of those crazy windows up in your face, mocking you, scorning you as they take up your screen real estate.

You guys, sometimes I think I need medication.