Most efficient way to see all windows in Lion

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by karohan, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. karohan macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2010
    So with the introduction of Mission Control in Lion, I've heard that "All Windows" Expose is no longer possible (such that ALL windows are displays separately and none are tiled over each other).

    I guess I'm sort of a power user (or just unorganized), but I usually have 25-30 windows open at a time (sometimes per space, so reorganizing into different spaces isn't feasible). Because Mission Control only separates windows into application groups, I sometimes have up to 7 or 8 windows per application (imagine a bunch of research articles open in a PDF viewer).

    Therefore, what is the best way to see all windows in Lion (so I select between them). After activating Mission Control, how do I expand the windows for an application? Do I just hover over the windows and do they instantly expand, do I scroll up, etc?
  2. iLog.Genius macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario
    Unfortunately viewing all application windows is gone with Snow Leopard. The only way and the closest thing (although it's pretty poor) is to go into Mission Control, hover over the application you want then use the "show desktop" gesture to expand windows for that particular application (the gesture might be different depending on your setup so you'll have to look into your gesture settings). The thing with this option is that you never get to see your windows as a whole, just brief parts and you won't see all windows opened, after a x amount windows opened, Mission Control will just hide the rest.
  3. Steve's Barber macrumors 6502a

    Jul 5, 2011
    Unless "one" of those windows is a full screen app. It will show up top with the Desktops as a space even though it's not really an intended space you had in mind. Clear as mud to me. :eek:
  4. merrickdrfc macrumors 6502


    Jan 8, 2011
    You can activate app expose by using the mission control gesture above an app icon in the dock, this is like the all windows expose from SL, except it only works for individual apps.
  5. karohan thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2010
    Does using application expose show all windows of that app no matter how many windows you have open (on Lion)?

    And this seems kind of irritating. I often use expose to switch quickly between a multitude of windows, where the visual cue of their full thumbnail in Expose allows me to immediately recognize them. I can understand the efficacy of Mission Control to switch between windows in a more organized fashion when you are going to spend a lot of time with each window, but to have to use more clicks and swipes just to get to the windows seems cumbersome for quickly switching between windows. Maybe someone will come up with a way to activate all windows expose as a third party solution?
  6. merrickdrfc macrumors 6502


    Jan 8, 2011
    Yes, it shows all windows and minimised windows just like it did in SL. I hope that third party developers get all windows expose working again, I can see Mission Control being useful on smaller notebook screen's, but on my iMac its pretty useless if I have loads of stuff open.
  7. Takuro macrumors 6502


    Jun 15, 2009
    Once in Mission Control, you can also hover over a single cluster of windows (grouped by app) and scroll upward and downward. This will expand and contract the cluster by a tiny bit so you can sort of see what windows are in that grouping, although you can't seem to reorder how they overlap one another.

    Expose for Snow Leopard got some really cool features and felt like a well-oiled machine. All windows were laid out in a grid with easy-to-read titles for each individual window, no overlapping. Mission Control is crap, tbh. It does the job of Expose and Spaces, and handles their jobs much worse than either had individually. Window clusters overlap and aren't well organized, and desktop spaces are now limited to horizontal arrangements of up to 10 or so spaces. I understand it was useful for implementing Full Screen apps, but Apple could have used the existing Spaces to achieve the job.

    And what's also weird: Some features of the old Expose still exist, just because Apple apparently couldn't figure out how to elegantly implement them in Mission Control. The views for Application-mode Expose and Desktop View still use the old system.
  8. karohan thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2010
    The one thing I do like about mission control is that it does integrate spaces and expose in a useful way. Now, I don't need to use different strokes or gestures to access spaces and expose (or set up an applescript to do it in one stroke haha). However, like you said, Apple could've done that in Mission Control without gimping Expose and Spaces like it did. Ideally, a developer would be able to alter Mission Control such that it instead of showing grouped clusters of apps, it shows the standard all windows Expose.
  9. labaom macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2009
    Because of this issue with Mission Control that this topic brings up, I am not upgrading to Lion. This really hurts how I do things productively. Also, the gesture for Mission Control is opposite of the expose gesture in SL.

    In SL is you swipe up with 4 fingers you get to hide apps which makes sense. In Lion you get Mission Control. To hide apps on Lion you have to do this wonky gesture. I like SL.
  10. Jlpeaks macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2011
    Not sure if I'm stating something that may be apparent to those who have been using SL but i've never noticed it: Rather than pulling off some weird claw like gesture you can do an application specific expose by holding crtl and pressing the down arrow key (unless the app is in full screen mode).
  11. craydee macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2011
    Screwed up Expose and Show Desktop

    I thought the old exposé and show desktop features worked great before in SL. I have a 13" macbook pro and have had the gestures feature for a year. if apple is going to allow changes to the gestures, why can't i at least put the show desktop back to scroll up with 4 fingers?? also, the old expose needs to be a feature because i liked seeing all open windows in one screen, without having to do extra stuff. it seems mission control is asking users for extra clicks and gestures to do the same things that were available with just one gesture in SL, which to me is not an upgrade but a setback.
  12. karohan thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2010
    I agree, all windows Expose works great for me. That being said, Lion is getting some pretty good reviews, and I'm downloading it now. I'll approach it with an open mind and see how far it takes me (obviously keeping my SL installation intact; I'm going to install on an external HDD).

    Also, if you want to change gestures, have you tried BetterTouchTool? It's supported under Lion, and I know I would not be able to live without it on SL. I know it's not an official Apple product, but for me (with over 30 gestures for the magic mouse and trackpad each), it really enriches my OS X experience.
  13. TrickyRick macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2011
    Because of like all posts here being massive wall of texts, I didn't read all of them so sorry if this has been posted.

    Anyway, to my point: Using Better Touch Tool you can set up a custom gesture to trigger application exposé which works just as it used to. So the feature is still there, just no way of activating it.

    And while writing this I also found that the Hot Corners setting under Mission Control in Sys Prefs. allows you to set a corner to Application Windows.
  14. karohan thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2010
    I, as well as a lot of other people, don't just want Application Expose though. We want the All Windows Expose option. (this screen is from SL, not Lion)
  15. panjandrum macrumors regular


    Sep 22, 2009
    United States
    Replace entire framework?

    I too would very much like to get the "all windows" function back in Lion. Of all the expose features, it's the one I used all the time, every day. It was very useful, which maybe explains why Apple removed it (that belongs in a bigger rant about how Apple is slowly destroying their UI). I was wondering if anyone has tried replacing the entire "Mission Control" (which I find 100% useless) framework? Would this even be possible? The "hackintosh" community out there has worked some magic in the past....

    I miss the days when the Mac OS did what *I* wanted it to do, not what some random developer (and apparently not a very good one) wants it to do. Honestly, if I have to fight to get my computer to do what I want, why not just go with Windows 7? At least Microsoft seems to be concentrating on making their OS more consistent and more useful. Apple been really hit-and-miss recently in the UI decisions, and LION, to me, seems like a huge step backwards in terms of usability.
  16. Na'Thanks macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2011
    I am(was) also a frequent user of the see all windows capability of Snow Leopard. I really hope there is an update soon that will return this much beloved feature.

    However, I have found a small way to get around the obnoxious window clusters that lion insists on creating. I use(d) the see all windows as a hot corner which allowed me to jump quickly from one to the next and I found that if you open a finder window in addition to the other application windows floating it allows you to see them all as separate tiles with space between them like the good old days.

    I hope this helps!
  17. marc11 macrumors 68000

    Mar 30, 2011
    NY USA
    Three finger swipe up mission control, three finger swipe down (has to be enabled via preferences) is App Expose where it will show all open windows for the current app, I tried this by opening 20 Word docs with multiple pages. It is easy to put apps or even broswer window into their own space to use in Mission Control and Expose even if they do not support full screen. Three finger swipe up, mouse over to the right upper corner, click the plus sign to add a desk top, drag a window/app to the new space and boom, it now has its own space to swipe to and to open in Expose. Works flawlessly.
  18. JonLa macrumors 6502

    Dec 22, 2009
    Well, yes, almost. Except when you close apps, and have empty desktops to swipe through, or have unassigned apps that appear in all desktops, or, unexpectedly, not the one you opened it in. And then you're in one desktop and you go to the dock and choose a different app, say, sparrow, but you move to a different desktop and there's a finder and a twitter window, and double-clicking Sparrow is what you then need to do....

    But I do love 3-finger swiping between my desktops and my full-screen apps. Iron out the bugs and I'll love it all.
  19. xkmxkmxlmx macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2011
    Seriously what is it that you guys are not getting? You're like the third person in this thread who has described this or some other workaround.

    It is not the same as the All Windows feature and severely hampers power-user productivity.

    This and ONLY this could be the sole reason for my downgrade to SL.
  20. karohan thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2010
    Unfortunately, I suspect that Apple isn't going to change the grouped application tiling to full Expose-like tiling in Mission Control (people always say to submit feedback to Apple, but have they ever actually listened?)

    What I don't get is why they are grouping apps together. I imagine their argument to be that it organizes the tiling, so it is easier to find the window you're looking for because you already know what app you are looking for. Then, if you have a lot of windows, you can Application Expose into the specific window a lot faster than searching for the window in All Windows Expose. However, if you already know what app you are looking for (which is the presumption if you group together windows of the same app), why do you need Expose at all. Just click on the dock icon corresponding to the app and then Application Expose from there. All Windows Expose serves a specific but supremely useful purpose, and that is to show all windows completely tiled.

    However another modification I think would be useful is to automatically tile out the windows in the little spaces on the top of Mission Control. That way you can see what windows/apps you have open in each space and don't have to go searching for the right space.
  21. diannaG, Jan 21, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2012

    diannaG macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2012
    All windows of App LIMITED to desktop

    My question is, why can't I user-define the interface to allow me to see All Windows of an App, but ONLY those I have open in a specific Desktop (rather than every single one open, across all Desktops)?

    This was possible with Spaces in SL, or no? I think yes.

    For example, I have 8 Desktops, each with a different purpose:
    Desktop 1: communication-mail + skype​
    Desktop 2: social media​
    Desktop 3: my blog + tumblr + etsy shop​
    Desktop 4: photoshop, misc image apps, iphoto​
    Desktop 5: image research, pinterest, blogs of interest, etc​
    Desktop 6: my wholesale suppliers, amazon, etc​
    Desktop 7: Outright (accounting), Square, online banking​

    etc etc etc

    I therefore have Safari windows open in several of my desktops. I have "View all Windows" as a hot-corner (Exposé hangover), but of course this means I see ALL of my Safari windows, regardless of content/desktop. THIS IS SO MESSY. I don't want to look at 15 tiny windows, when I USED to be able to see the ones JUST open on the desktop I was on. I desperately miss being able to see "All windows," and even swiping up to Mission Control just gives me a stack of MESS.

    Thoughts? Is there a work-around???

    Many thanks.

  22. Macopotamus macrumors regular


    Jun 22, 2010
    Swiping up is more than fine, what else do you want?
  23. diannaG macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2012
    I want to be able to see thumbnails of my open Safari pages on the desktop that I am currently using. NOT all Safari windows. (Sometimes I have 15-20 open!)

    This was possible with Snow Leopard, using Exposé in Spaces.

    Also, swiping up DOES NOT allow you to see all windows of an app. Just a stack of windows, wherein you can't see the half of them.
  24. 3282868 macrumors 603

    Jan 8, 2009

    As an ADC member, I have filed numerous bug reports on "Mission Control" since Lions first DP1. Of course they are still "Open" but I, as many others, are continuing to file bugs.

    Thankfully, there is an application focusing on 10.5/6 Spaces integration into Lion.


    It is still in beta stage and is free. Here is the list of current features and upcoming features:

    Current Features

    - Navigate a grid of desktops using hotkeys for each direction


    - Use the transitions, hotkeys and navigation preferences you desire


    - All accessible from a handy icon in the status bar, that also indicates your current desktop


    Coming / Requested features

    I take requests for features over at get satisfaction. Although I can't promise anything, I will do my best for any reasonable feature requests. Below are things that have been requested, and that I think would be good to add. Again, I can't promise by particular dates or versions though.

    Full screen apps

    Although ReSpaceApp partially supports full screen apps as of v0.9.5, it is intended that they can participate more fully in the grid of spaces, in particular by being visualised in the select grid view, and with more options as to how they can be navigated to.

    Multi monitors

    The select grid should show both (or all) monitors' contents, not just the main screen.

    App window dragging

    Windows should be able to be dragged from desktop to desktop via the edges of the screen.

    Dragging windows between desktops in select grid

    Windows should be able to be dragged from desktop to desktop in the select grid view.

    Locking apps to desktops

    Although you can lock an app to a desktop using the ctrl-click menu from the icons in your dock, this is very fiddly, and we wish to bring control of which app resides where inside the preferences of ReSpaceApp.

    Naming desktops

    Right now the system names your desktops for you, but it's nice to name your own desktops.

    Gesture support

    Changing space with gestures.

    Mountain Lion

    My crystal ball says it should be possible to support Mountain Lion. I won't start taking payment for ReSpaceApp until I confirm this.
  25. randalsean macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2012
    Best Workaround I've found for "All Windows"

    I like many of the features of Lion but the removal of several features, especially of the ability to simply show ALL WINDOWS had really hampered my workflow. I use the magic mouse exclusively and need to be able to minimize the clicks. Here's the workaround I found that allows me to see all windows without the "ALL APPLICATION WINDOWS" grouping, without using keyboard shortcuts, spaces, etc.

    1. Select SYSTEM PREFERENCES > MISSION CONTROL > HOT CORNERS (bottom left of dialog) and in the hot corners modal window, set the bottom left or right (or any corner you like) to 'application windows'. I chose the right corner.
    2.Now, when you mouse into the right corner it will show only the current application windows. HOWEVER, if while still in this view, you click on any application in the doc, it switches to the application windows for that application.

    I find this useful at least allowing me to never move my hand from the mouse, and it only adds one more click. It also does make for less open windows to choose from, to be honest.

    For example:

    1. I'm in Photoshop, and mouse into right bottom hot corner.
    2. This expands all open windows only for Photohop.
    3. I want reference to that webpage in Safari that's open so I click on the safari icon in the dock.
    4. All the open photoshop docs are replaced by all the open Safari windows.
    5. I click on what I want and am taken to it.

    It's a workaround that combines the best of both worlds of "all application windows" and all windows." Not ideal, but it works for me now pretty well.

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