Seemingly simple question - switching to desktop

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by machme, Dec 6, 2008.

  1. machme macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2008
    It seems like this should be a really simple question, but I tried google and searching these forums and haven't been able to find the answer.

    Let's say I've got several programs running and a bunch of windows open (Firefox, Photoshop, Dreamweaver...). Now I want to open a folder on my desktop. Is there a quick way to clear everything out of the way and go straight to the desktop? Right now I'm having to minimize EACH individual window to get there, but it seems like there must be an easier way. Is there??
  2. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Exposé. Press F11 on the older keyboard layout. Command F3 on newer Apple aluminum keyboards and the Macbook keyboard.
  3. dubhe macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2007
    Norwich, UK
  4. machme thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2008
    Thank you!! I have been using Macs forever and for some reason never knew this.
  5. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Yes, there are numerous ways...

    1) it's a function of Expose -- so go to the Dashboard and Expose prefs in system preferences, and you can set revealing the desktop via a keyboard key (e.g. a function key) and/or via a hot corner (e.g. flicking your mouse to the upper right screen corner). Hitting the same key or same corner brings all the windows back.

    2) Option clicking (I think it's option) the Finder dock icon also hides everything except finder, which in essence shows you the desktop (and open finder windows). I think that there's another click you can do, maybe Command-Option, that hides finder and unhides everything else, but the disadvantage to this approach over (1) is that there's no quick way to go right back to the way things were before you hid the windows. So (1) is probably the best possible option.

    EDIT, of course, beaten, but there were some details not mentioned above so I'll leave it. ;)

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