How to minimise windows in bulk, and get them back again


How to minimise windows in bulk, and get them back again
Mac Tip #488, 25 May 2011

Sometimes you have loads of windows from one app open on screen, and you decide to minimize them all. Do you tediously click the orange button on each window in turn? There’s a quicker way, as this Tip explains.

The orange Minimize button

Minimise is the Orange button at top left of a window.

Minimise is the Orange button at top left of a window.

At top left of most windows is a set of 3 buttons: Red, Orange and Green. While Red closes a window and Green zooms it to fill the screen (maybe), the Orange button minimises a window into the Dock. That handily gets a window out of the way while you do something else.

Once a window’s in the Dock one click on it brings it back to the screen at the size it was before you minimised it.

But for some apps you may have multiple windows open and would like to minimise them all in one go.

Fun Tip: hold down the Shift (⇧) key while you click the Minimize (or other buttons) and watch it all happen in slow motion.

Minimise multiple windows

Caught in the act - a heap of Finder windows are all shrinking down into the Dock at right of my screen.

Caught in the act — a heap of Finder windows are all shrinking down into the Dock at right of my screen.

It’s easy to minimise multiple windows with one click: hold down the Option (⌥) key while you click the Orange button on any window. All windows belonging to the same app will shrink down into the Dock.

Where they appear in the Dock depends on your Dock Preferences settings.

Set Dock Preferences

Dock Preferences.

Dock Preferences.

From the Apple menu choose Dock — Dock Preferences….

Decide for yourself whether to check or leave unchecked the option: Minimize windows into application icon.

If that option is checked then any windows you minimise will not appear separately in the Dock. Instead they are available from the icon for the application they belong to.

If it’s unchecked then each minimised window appears as a separate icon in the Dock, at the bottom or on the right-hand side, depending on how you display the Dock.

My minimised windows appear separately in the Dock.

My minimised windows appear separately in the Dock.

The screenshot shows my half-dozen minimised Finder windows at the right-hand end of the Dock.

Option click separate Dock icons

If your windows appear as separate items in the Dock, as in my screenshot above, then hold down the Option (⌥) key while you click any one icon. All windows from the same app will reappear on the screen at the size they were before you minimised them.

Access windows minimised to the Applications icon

Click and hold on the application Dock icon to see all the windows.

Click and hold on the application Dock icon to see all the windows.

If you Option (⌥) Click windows when you have the Minimize windows into application icon option checked then they all shrink down into the relevant application icon.

In my example, all my open Finder windows minimised into the Finder icon at the left-hand end of the Dock.

To access the windows:

  1. Click and hold on the relevant application icon. Everything on your screen is hidden, except for the Dock. All the available windows for that application are displayed against a darkened background. My screenshot shows that I clicked and held on the Finder icon so my half-dozen minimized Finder windows were displayed.
  2. Click one window to restore it to full view on the screen. Or
  3. Option (⌥) click on any window to restore all of the minimised windows to full view on screen.

To close all opened windows from one app

To close all windows from one app Option (⌥) Click the Close button on any one window. All windows from that app will close.

Comment: I haven’t stopped making videos to go with the Tips, but for the last 10 weeks or so I’ve been unwell (with Whooping Cough). It’s been hard for me just to keep the written Tips going, and the coughing and tiredness have made videos almost impossible.

Have you tried out this Tip? How did it work out for you? Tell us in the Comments. Could you write a guest MacTip? If so, contact me.

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One Comment;

  1. Virginia said:

    Thanks for this great tip, and thanks for hanging in with all your tips, in spite of feeling ill. Get better soon! Childhood diseases in adults are not so easy to deal with – take care of yourself.

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