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zeva

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 22, 2023
6
1
Hi,

I've switched over to Mac 🎉🎉🎉 after long term Windows usage.

1. My question may be silly, but my searches haven't found an answer.

The image below shows the right side of my menu bar

1674422381989.png

How do I prevent open apps accumulating here? I would prefer to never see any open apps here. The open app icons reduce and distort the size of all menu icons (the menu icon sizing is otherwise just perfect and don't need changing - just please stop open app icons compressing existing menu items).

I appreciate if I use command + h it can prevent an app appearing there, it seems the orange button has other effects.

Am I doing something foolish that was normal in Windows, or is this behaviour and outcome of a shrinking menu considered normal and expected on Mac?


2. Frequently I use Alt Tab and find that the app I've selected doesn't come to the front of the screen. Sometimes it works as expected, and other times it doesn't. Instead I find that the top screen menu shows the app that I wanted, but the existing app that I was using (and don't want in this moment) has not been replaced by the app I wanted. It seems the app is partially invoked but the entire app isn't to front of screen.
Once again, this is likely my inadequacy with knowing how to use Mac - please any suggestions what I'm doing wrong or can do differently to get the expected behaviour?

3. In Finder I use tags for my frequent documents. Please is there a keyboard shortcut or other method which can allow me to instantly pull up for e.g. the Green tags from when I'm using any app? At the moment I go step 1. Open Finder, step 2. scroll down to tags. I want to immediately access my green tags without a 2 step process, as I do this so frequently (and I'm lazy, having to open finder, scroll and look).

Thank you
 

meson

macrumors 6502
Apr 29, 2014
283
228
1. I know it's semantics, but the image shows what is called the Dock in MacOS. The Menu Bar is the the one at the top of the screen. Keeping them straight may help troubleshooting issues for you in the future.

Think of the Dock like the Task Bar in Windows. In variants with a Start Button, the icons to the left of the vertical line are shortcuts to applications, very similar to the small icons that would be next to the Start Button. I see Maps and the Dictionary, a couple things I would not necessarily include in mine. Anything but the Finder can be removed from this portion of the Dock by clicking and dragging the icon off the tock until you see a little dialog that says remove. This can help declutter things a bit. Also, you can drag applications from the Application folder to the dock to create a shortcut.

If you notice two vertical bars in your dock, you have recent apps showing in the dock as well. Personally, I turn this feature off in the Dock settings in System Settings/System Preferences.

The icons to the right of the vertical bar are things that you have open and minimized. These allow you to quickly click on one to bring it to the front.

2. If the app comes to the menu bar but a window doesn't pop to the front, it means that you have the application open, but no open windows. The most recent active window in that app, if open, should come to the front after a comman+tab press.

3. In Finder Settings/Preferences got to General. Below the New Finder windows show: text, click the dropdown, choose other and navigate to your green tags in the sidebar of the Finder window that pops up and click Choose and you should be good to go.
 
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gwang73

macrumors 68020
Jun 14, 2009
2,123
1,661
California
2. Frequently I use Alt Tab and find that the app I've selected doesn't come to the front of the screen. Sometimes it works as expected, and other times it doesn't. Instead I find that the top screen menu shows the app that I wanted, but the existing app that I was using (and don't want in this moment) has not been replaced by the app I wanted. It seems the app is partially invoked but the entire app isn't to front of screen.
Once again, this is likely my inadequacy with knowing how to use Mac - please any suggestions what I'm doing wrong or can do differently to get the expected behaviour?

Thank you

Welcome to MacOS. I made the switch many years ago and it does take some time to get used to. If this is something you want to stick with, my advise is don't fight it and try to make it Windows.

As for this specific issue, when you close an app window, many times it doesn't quit the app like it does in Windows. When you invoke the App switcher, it shows the open apps, regardless if it has an open window or not. It can get confusing because some apps will close and other apps stay open but don't have an active window. So when you select an app without a window, the app is in the foreground but has nothing to show because the window is closed.

I tend to use CMD-Q to quit the app when I'm done using it.
 
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iStorm

macrumors 6502a
Sep 18, 2012
932
1,235
2. If the app comes to the menu bar but a window doesn't pop to the front, it means that you have the application open, but no open windows. The most recent active window in that app, if open, should come to the front after a comman+tab press.
Just to expand on this... Unlike with MS Windows, apps can be open in macOS, but have no windows open at all. For example, if you click the red 'X' icon in Safari to close all your Safari windows, Safari is still running even though you don't have any windows open anymore. You can tell if an app is open if there is a white dot under the application's icon in the Dock.

However, the problem here could also be that the app window is minimized to the Dock. They do not open when using Command-Tab shortcut either. In either case, use Command-Tab to highlight the application, then hold down Option before releasing Command to open the window.

Or if you have multiple windows of the same application minimized (or open), you can use the Command-Tab to highlight the application, then press the up or down arrow key to see all the windows for that application. Navigate through them with the arrow keys and press Enter/Return on the one you want to open.

For #3, you can also use Spotlight. From anywhere, press Command-Space, type in "tag:green" (or whatever the name of your tag is) and it should show you your files with that tag. You can also open the search in Finder from there.
 
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zeva

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 22, 2023
6
1
1. I know it's semantics, but the image shows what is called the Dock in MacOS. The Menu Bar is the the one at the top of the screen. Keeping them straight may help troubleshooting issues for you in the future.

Think of the Dock like the Task Bar in Windows. In variants with a Start Button, the icons to the left of the vertical line are shortcuts to applications, very similar to the small icons that would be next to the Start Button. I see Maps and the Dictionary, a couple things I would not necessarily include in mine. Anything but the Finder can be removed from this portion of the Dock by clicking and dragging the icon off the tock until you see a little dialog that says remove. This can help declutter things a bit. Also, you can drag applications from the Application folder to the dock to create a shortcut.

If you notice two vertical bars in your dock, you have recent apps showing in the dock as well. Personally, I turn this feature off in the Dock settings in System Settings/System Preferences.

The icons to the right of the vertical bar are things that you have open and minimized. These allow you to quickly click on one to bring it to the front.

2. If the app comes to the menu bar but a window doesn't pop to the front, it means that you have the application open, but no open windows. The most recent active window in that app, if open, should come to the front after a comman+tab press.

3. In Finder Settings/Preferences got to General. Below the New Finder windows show: text, click the dropdown, choose other and navigate to your green tags in the sidebar of the Finder window that pops up and click Choose and you should be good to go.
hi meson,
These are very helpful answers, thank you. It was my error to call the Dock the menu bar, I knew better, but forgot [again], thanks for the reminder.
The Maps and Dictionary are not permanent fixtures, they were just open at the time of the screenshot.
Thanks for the tips.

2. By way of example, I was using Word previously, I minimised it to get it off the screen, I'm now using my browser. If I use Cmd Tab, the top menu bar shows Word, but my screen still shows this browser session.
Under windows with Alt Tab Word would come back prominent in the screen.
How can I Cmd Tab an application e.g. Word to come back prominent in the screen.
From what I'm understanding, it's as if Word is coming back, but because it was minimised it doesn't show - which seems odd - or is there another better way of doing it?
Ultimately I want to quickly switch between my open apps in a similar behaviour to Windows.

3. It was great to see this setting, thanks. However, if I select Green tags, the Continue button remains greyed out i.e. it does not let me select Continue, which is a shame as this would be a great option to use.

Thank you very much for these explanations.


_________

I will reply to other responses later, these are also very helpful. Thank you
 

zeva

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 22, 2023
6
1
Welcome to MacOS. I made the switch many years ago and it does take some time to get used to. If this is something you want to stick with, my advise is don't fight it and try to make it Windows.

As for this specific issue, when you close an app window, many times it doesn't quit the app like it does in Windows. When you invoke the App switcher, it shows the open apps, regardless if it has an open window or not. It can get confusing because some apps will close and other apps stay open but don't have an active window. So when you select an app without a window, the app is in the foreground but has nothing to show because the window is closed.

I tend to use CMD-Q to quit the app when I'm done using it.

Thank you @gwang73 , yes the app switcher has confused me previously (why so many apps?!!), it's helpful to know that's a characteristic and not my misunderstanding.

I've started using CMD-Q and that's excellent.
Much appreciated.
 

zeva

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 22, 2023
6
1
Just to expand on this... Unlike with MS Windows, apps can be open in macOS, but have no windows open at all. For example, if you click the red 'X' icon in Safari to close all your Safari windows, Safari is still running even though you don't have any windows open anymore. You can tell if an app is open if there is a white dot under the application's icon in the Dock.

However, the problem here could also be that the app window is minimized to the Dock. They do not open when using Command-Tab shortcut either. In either case, use Command-Tab to highlight the application, then hold down Option before releasing Command to open the window.

Or if you have multiple windows of the same application minimized (or open), you can use the Command-Tab to highlight the application, then press the up or down arrow key to see all the windows for that application. Navigate through them with the arrow keys and press Enter/Return on the one you want to open.

For #3, you can also use Spotlight. From anywhere, press Command-Space, type in "tag:green" (or whatever the name of your tag is) and it should show you your files with that tag. You can also open the search in Finder from there.
Excellent, thank you @iStorm

It's great to have this clarification and explanation.

The CMD+Tab, then hold down Opion, or the up/down arrow are all new to me, so very useful.

I previously found Spotlight by accident but didn't really know what it was or how to use it. The example you provide is very useful.

Thank you!
 
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meson

macrumors 6502
Apr 29, 2014
283
228
I’m sorry mapping Finder to tags didn’t work. I don’t use tags and assumed it would work. I tend to put a couple common directories I work in in the sidebar to reduce the number of clicks, but still often have to drill down a few levels.

Yes, the option key is your friend in MacOS. Even when you hold it down while looking at menus in the Menu Bar, you may find it providing some different choices. Over the years auto-saving was added to MacOS, so if you go to the file menu looking for Save As it’s gone, but holding the option key brings it back.

Also, if you like to maximize windows without going into full screen mode, hold the option key when you click the green dot.

If you use window snapping, Rectangle.app is a great free application that brings it to MacOS, and has more options than the paid app Magnet that I used previously.
 

iStorm

macrumors 6502a
Sep 18, 2012
932
1,235
Just thought of something else for #3... Smart Folders! These are sort of virtual folders that have a rule or query, and show all files that match the rules. So you could create a Smart Folder to show your files tagged green, and then put that smart folder on the Desktop for easier access or even in the sidebar.

 

zeva

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 22, 2023
6
1
@meson The option key is very useful to know. I hadn't use if for full screen mode - very nice. Thanks for your suggestions.

@iStorm These are new to me and sound like a great possibility. I will check out Smart Folders!
Thank you
 
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