How to Open and Close Windows on Your MacBook

Usually, a window on your MacBook gets opened by an application (when you first run it or when it needs to display a document) or by Mac OS X itself (when the Finder opens a window to display the contents of your hard drive). The Finder, by the way, is the application that Mac OS X runs to display the operating system’s menus and windows.

Some programs even let you open new windows on the fly; the following illustrates a window in its purest form: a new Finder window. To display this window on your own MacBook, choose File→New Finder Window or press Command+N. From here, you can reach any file on your MacBook or even venture to the Internet.

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When you’re finished with a document or you no longer need a window open, you can close it to free that space on your Desktop. To close a window in Mac OS X, move your pointer over the Close button; it’s the red circular button at the top-left corner of the window. An X appears on the button when you’re in the zone.

When the X appears, just tap the trackpad.

If you’ve been living the life of a hermit in a cave for the last decade or so, pressing the button on a mouse or trackpad is called clicking. But hang on a second: Today’s MacBooks don’t have any buttons at all! (You tap the trackpad with one finger to click.)

If you’re using an external pointing device, a right-click usually acts the same as holding down the Control key while you click with an older one-button Apple mouse or trackpad.

Never use any object other than your finger on the trackpad! That means no pencils (no, not even the eraser end), pens, or chopsticks; they can damage your trackpad in no time at all. And no, that doesn’t bode well for ladies with long fingernails.

Most Mac applications don’t want you closing a window willy-nilly if you’ve changed the contents without saving them. For example, try to close a document window in Word or Pages without saving the file first. The program asks you for confirmation before it closes the window containing your Great American Novel.

Most programs also have a Close command on their File menu. (Here’s another indicator: Most programs display a black dot in the center of the program’s Close button to indicate that there are unsaved changes.)

To close all windows that are displayed by a particular program, hold down the Option key while you click the Close button on one of the windows. Whoosh! They’re all gone.

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