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Mac OS makes extensive use of windows for displaying icons and other information in the Finder and documents in other applications. Figures 36 and 37 show two different views of a Finder window.

Figure 36Figure 36 A Finder window in icon view.

Figure 37Figure 37 The same Finder window in list view.

Each window includes a variety of controls you can use to manipulate it:

  • The title bar displays the window's icon and name and can be used to move the window.

  • The close button closes the window.

  • The minimize button collapses the window to an icon in the Dock.

  • The zoom button toggles the window's size between full size and a custom size.

  • The toolbar hide control toggles the display of the toolbar.

  • The toolbar displays buttons and controls for working with Finder windows.

  • The Search box enables you to search for enables you to search for files based on file name. (The Search box is new in Mac OS X 10.2.)

  • The status bar provides information about items in a window and space available on disk.

  • The resize control enables you to set a custom size for the window.

  • Scroll bars scroll the contents of the window.

  • Column headings (in list view only) display the names of the columns and let you quickly sort by a column. (The selected column heading is the column by which the list is sorted.)


  • By default, when you open a folder or disk icon, its contents appear in the active window. As discussed in Chapter 4, you can use Finder Preferences to tell Mac OS X to open folders in new windows, like Mac OS 9.x and earlier.

  • I cover the Finder's three window views in Chapter 3, the toolbar later in this chapter, and the status bar and Search box in Chapter 4.

To open a new Finder window

Choose File > New Finder Window (Figure 38), or press . A new top-level window appears (Figure 39).

Figure 38Figure 38 Choose New Finder Window from the File menu.

Figure 39Figure 39 The active window's title bar includes color and appears atop all other windows.


The top-level window is discussed in Chapter 3.

To open a folder or disk in a new Finder window

Hold down while opening a folder or disk icon. A new window containing the contents of the folder or disk appears.


Opening folders and disks is explained earlier in this chapter.

To close a window

Click the window's close button (Figures 36 and 37).


Choose File > Close Window (Figure 40), or press .

Figure 40Figure 40 Choose Close Window from the File menu...

To close all open windows

Hold down while clicking the active window's close button (>Figures 36 and 37).


Hold down while choosing File > Close

All (Figure 41), or press .

Figure 41Figure 41 ...or hold down and choose Close All from the File menu.


The Close Window/Close All commands (Figures 40 and 41) are examples of dynamic menu items—pressing a modi—pressing a modifier key (in this case, ) changes the menu command from Close Window (Figure 40) to Close All (Figure 41).

To activate a window

Click anywhere in or on the window.


Choose the name of the window you want to activate from the Window menu (Figure 42).


  • It's important to make sure that the window you want to work with is open and active before using commands that work on the active window—such as Close Window, Select All, and View menu options.

  • You can distinguish between active and inactive windows by the appearance of their title bars; the active window's title bar includes color (Figure 39). In addition, a check mark appears beside the active window's name in the Window menu (Figure 42).

  • Figure 42Figure 42 The Window menu lists all open Finder windows.

  • When two or more windows overlap, the active window will always be on top of the stack (Figure 39).

To bring all Finder windows to the top

Choose Window > Bring All to Front (Figure 43). All open Finder windows that are not minimized are moved in front of any windows opened by other applications.

Figure 43Figure 43 The Bring All to Front command brings all Finder windows to the top.


In Mac OS X, Finder windows can be intermingled with other applications' windows. The Bring All to Front command gathers the windows together in the top layers. You may find this command useful when working with many windows from several different applications.

To move a window

  1. Position the mouse pointer on the window's title bar (Figure 44).

    Figure 44Figure 44 Position the mouse pointer on the title bar.

  2. Press the mouse button and drag the window to a new location. As you drag, the window moves along with your mouse pointer (Figure 45).

    Figure 45Figure 45 As you drag, the window moves.

  3. When the outline of the window is in the desired position, release the mouse button.

To resize a window

  1. Position the mouse pointer on the resize control in the lower-right corner of the window (Figure 46).

    Figure 46Figure 46 Position the mouse pointer on the resize control.

  2. Press the mouse button and drag. As you drag, the resize control moves with the mouse pointer, changing the size and shape of the window (Figure 47).

    Figure 47Figure 47 As you drag, the window's size and shape changes.

  3. When the window is the desired size, release the mouse button.


  • The larger a window is, the more you can see inside it.

  • By resizing and repositioning windows, you can see inside more than one window at a time. This comes in handy when moving or copying the icons for files and folders from one window to another. Moving and copying files and folders is covered in Chapter 3.

To minimize a window

Click the window's minimize button (Figures 36 and 37).


Choose Window > Minimize Window (Figure 48), or press .

Figure 48Figure 48 The Minimize Window command minimizes the active window.


Double-click the window's title bar.

The window shrinks into an icon and slips into the Dock at the bottom of the screen (Figure 49).

Figure 49Figure 49 Minimized windows shrink down into icons in the Dock.


To minimize all windows, hold down and choose Windows > Minimize All Windows, or press .

To redisplay a minimized window

Click the window's icon in the Dock (Figure 49).


Choose the window's name from the Window menu (Figure 50).

Figure 50Figure 50 A diamond beside a window name indicates that the window has been minimized.

To zoom a window

Click the window's zoom button (Figures 36 and 37).


Choose Window > Zoom Window (Figure 51).

Figure 51Figure 51 You can zoom the active window by choosing Zoom Window from the Window menu.

Each time you click the zoom button, the window's size toggles between two sizes:

  • Standard state size is the smallest possible size that would ac com mo date the window's contents and still fit on your screen (Figure 36).

  • User state size, which is the size you specify with the resize control (Figure 47).

To scroll a window's contents

Click one of the scroll bar arrows (Figure 52) as follows:

Figure 52Figure 52 Scroll bar components.

  • To scroll the window's contents up, click the down arrow on the vertical scroll bar.

  • To scroll the window's contents down, click the up arrow on the vertical scroll bar.

  • To scroll the window's contents to the left, click the right arrow on the horizontal scroll bar.

  • To scroll the window's contents to the right, click the left arrow on the horizontal scroll bar.


  • If you have trouble remembering which scroll arrow to click, think of it this way:

    • Click down to see down.

    • Click up to see up.

    • Click right to see right.

    • Click left to see left.

  • You can also scroll a window's contents by either clicking in the scroll track on either side of the scroller or by dragging the scroller to a new position on the scroll bar. Both of these techniques enable you to scroll a window's contents more quickly.

  • If all of a window's contents are displayed, you will not be able to scroll the window. A window that cannot be scrolled will have flat or empty looking scroll bars (Figure 36).

  • The scrollers in Mac OS X are proportional—this means that the more of a window's contents you see, the more space the scroller will take up in its scroll bar.

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