Best ways to manage multiple windows on macOS

Best ways to manage multiple windows on macOS

Whenever you use your Mac for more than just browsing, writing an email, or checking Twitter, you’re probably working with multiple windows at once. After a while, the number of open windows becomes more of a headache than an aid. The good news is that there are solutions that will help you. They include everything from keyboard shortcuts and Apple’s own shared window tools to third-party software. You’re just steps away from completely rethinking the way you use your Mac on a daily basis.

Keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts may not be your first idea for helping manage multiple windows on a Mac. However, these shortcuts help you manage better without ever having to take your fingers off the keyboard.

Manage multiple Windows Macos keyboards
  • Minimize the most forward window: Order + M
  • Hide the most prominent application windows: Order + H
  • Open a new window or a new document depending on the application currently open: Order + NOT
  • Close the most forward window: Order + W
  • Switch to the next open or most recently used application: Order + Tongue
  • Display all the most prominent application windows: Control + Down arrow
  • Go to the next active window: Control + F4
  • Move the focus to the floating window: Control + F5
  • Hide the dock for a little more window space: Option + Order + re

Using the split view

When you really need to focus and do your work, Apple prepared a solution in its latest macOS updates. Called appropriately Split View, Apple’s software solution quickly places two applications side by side. It is a perfect solution for anyone who needs a web browser on one side and Word, Pages, PowerPoint or Excel on the other. It works best on macOS Catalina, but Mac users on older software can get instructions here.

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1. Open any window (Safari, Chrome, Word, etc.) and look for the green button in the upper left corner. Hover the mouse cursor over the green button to bring up a drop-down list.

How to hang the green button on split screen macosHow to hang the green button on split screen macos

3. Choose one of the two options: Mosaic window on the left of the screen or Mosaic window on the right of the screen.

4. Once you’ve chosen a side, the opposite side of your monitor / screen will show you the rest of the open apps you have on your Mac. Choosing another application will fill the other half of the screen. You now have two applications open with 50/50 screen sharing.

How to Capture MacOS Open Split Screen ApplicationsHow to Capture MacOS Open Split Screen Applications

5. To work in either window, click the side of the screen where you want to work.

Manage multiple Windows MacOS split screensManage multiple Windows MacOS split screens

6. To exit the split screen, click the green button again and select “Leave full screen”.

How to capture a split screen Macos Exit the split screenHow to capture a split screen Macos Exit the split screen

Multiple spaces

Too often you will be working on your Mac and the screen will become too crowded. When this happens, Apple has come up with another useful solution. The spaces are best described as different offices that can display a multitude of applications. For example, you can have a desktop with your browser and email application and a second space that can hold PowerPoint and Excel. It’s a perfect solution when your current office is too crowded, but you don’t want to close any application.

To add a space:

1. Swipe up on the touchpad of your MacBook with three or four fingers to open “Mission Control”. You can also press the key F3 also on your Mac keyboard.

Manage multiple Windows Macos Mission ControlManage multiple Windows Macos Mission Control

2. Look at the top right of the screen where a giant “+” button is available and c, lick it.

Manage multiple Windows Macos mission control arrowsManage multiple Windows Macos mission control arrows

3. You can open up to sixteen different spaces.

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4. To switch between spaces, swipe left or right on the trackpad with three or four fingers. You can also press Control + Left arrow (or right) to move to the right or left Space.

Manage multiple open Windows Macos spacesManage multiple open Windows Macos spaces

5. Spaces can also be moved by clicking and holding any individual space and dragging it.

Manage multiple MacOS Windows spaces by draggingManage multiple MacOS Windows spaces by dragging

Third-party applications

As good as Apple’s built-in tools are, they don’t work for everyone and don’t solve every problem. Sometimes something a little more powerful is needed. Fortunately, there are a number of third-party apps to fill the void.

Manage multiple Windows Macos magnetsManage multiple Windows Macos magnets

One of the most popular apps is Magnet, which is available on the Mac App Store for $ 2.99. This lightweight window management tool will help you snap windows into a variety of predefined spaces. You can drag the windows to the corners to create quarters or to the bottom of the screen to create thirds. Do you have an ultra wide monitor? Then you can create sixths. The magnet allows you to take advantage of every inch of working space possible.


Managing windows on your Mac can have significant positive impacts on your daily workflow. While it won’t improve your work, it can help you feel more efficient and productive. The fact that Apple is working to include its own solutions proves that these tools are necessary and beneficial. What is your favorite way to manage windows on macOS?


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