Working with Windows in Mac OS X Lion

7 of 8 in Series: The Essentials of Getting Around the Mac OS X Lion Screen

Although Mac OS X Lion windows are similar to windows you’ve used in other versions of Mac OS, they have some new wrinkles. To start peering into windows on your Mac, first you need to know how to open and close them. When you’re working in the Finder, you can choose the following commands from the File menu. Note that you’ll probably find similar commands on the File menu of programs other than the Finder.

You’ll use many of these commands frequently, so it will be helpful in the long run if you to memorize the keyboard shortcuts.

  • New Finder Window (Command+N): Opens a new Finder window. In other programs, Command+N might open a new document, project, or whatever that program helps you create.

  • Open (Command+O): Opens the selected item, be it an icon, a window, or a folder.

  • Close Window (Command+W): Closes the active window. If no windows are open or if no window is selected, the Close Window command is grayed out and can’t be chosen. Or if you prefer, you can close a window by clicking the red Close button in the top-left corner.

Resizing Mac OS X Lion windows and window panes

If you want to see more (or less) of what’s in a window, just hover the pointer over any edge or corner and drag. When the cursor turns into a little double-headed arrow, click and drag to resize the window.

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Moving Mac OS X windows

To move a window, click anywhere in a window’s title bar (or anywhere in the gray part of a display window, except on a button, menu, search field, scroll bar, or Resizer) and drag the window to wherever you want it. The window moves wherever you move the mouse, stopping when you release the mouse button.

Shuffling Mac OS X Lion windows

The commands on the Window menu provide tools you can use to manage your windows. Here is a brief look at each of the items on the Window menu:

  • Minimize (Command+M): Use this command to minimize the active Finder window to the Dock and unclutter your Desktop. It’s the same as clicking the yellow gumdrop button.

  • Zoom: This command does the same thing as the green gumdrop button.

  • Cycle Through Windows (Command+'): Each time you choose this command or use the keyboard shortcut for it, a different window becomes active.

  • Bring All to Front: In Mac OS X Lion, windows from different applications interleave. For example, you can have (from front to back) a Finder window, a Microsoft Word window, an Adobe Photoshop window, another Microsoft Word window, and another Finder window. Choosing Bring All to Front while the Finder is the active application enables you to have both of the Finder windows in this example move in front of those belonging to Word and Photoshop.

    If you want to bring all the windows belonging to the Finder (or any other program, for that matter) to the front at the same time, you can also click the appropriate Dock icon (the Finder, in this case).

    If you hold down the Option key when you pull down the Window menu, Minimize Window changes to Minimize All, and the Zoom command changes to Zoom All.

  • Other items: The remaining items on the Window menu are the names of all currently open Finder windows. Click a window’s name to bring it to the front.

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The Essentials of Getting Around the Mac OS X Lion Screen

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