We’ll begin with a bit of advice on working with and managing windows, including how to quickly hide and show them, the four ways you can view Finder windows, and how to tweak the Toolbar and Sidebar to make them more useful.

I work with a dozen or more apps running at any time, and most of them have more than one open window or tab. So, at any moment there are at least a dozen windows on my two displays. I learned a long time ago that a big part of staying focused is eliminating distractions—managing windows efficiently makes it a lot easier. And the easiest way to eliminate everything except what you’re working on is to hide everything except what you’re working on.

There are a couple of ways you can do it. My favorites are the Hide and Hide Others commands in the Application menu (the one bearing the app’s name).

Hide and Hide Others are a pair of my favorite commands, and, not coincidentally, a pair of my favorite keyboard shortcuts.

I use the Hide Others command dozens of times a day to banish anything and everything that might distract me from the task at hand. This hides everything but the app I’m using (Microsoft Word in the figure above) and makes it a lot easier to stay focused. Then, when I’m done using whichever app I’m using, I Hide that app’s windows before I switch to another app.

Of course I don’t use the menus—I only Hide and Show windows via keyboard shortcut, and so should you.

So memorize the shortcuts for both commands immediately:

  • Hide: Command + H
  • Hide Others: Command + Option + H

Got ‘em memorized yet? I can wait.

OK. Now, in case you forget them, here’s another way to use Hide and Hide Others without reaching for the Application menu.

  • Hide: Hold down the Option key when you click a window from another app, a Dock icon, or the Desktop. The windows from the application you’re using hide and the windows from the app you Option-clicked become active.
  • Hide Others: Hold Down the Command + Option keys when you click the Dock icon of an app to activate it and hide all other apps.

I usually use these shortcuts when I’ve got one hand on the mouse and one hand on the keyboard.

So give Hide and Hide Others a try if they’re not already part of your workflow. 

Please follow and like us:

About the Author

Bob Levitus

Bob LeVitus, often referred to as “Dr. Mac,” is a well-known authority on all things Macintosh, OS X, and Apple devices including the iPad and iPhone. One of the Apple community’s most trusted advisors for almost thirty years, he’s known for his trademark humorous style and unerring ability to translate “techie” jargon into usable and fun advice for regular folks. He's written more than 80 books including macOS Sierra For Dummies, iPhone For Dummies, and iPad For Dummies. And, for the past 20 years, he's written the Dr. Mac column for the Houston Chronicle (which he still does). He's also been writing for The Mac Observer for almost as long (he still does that, too). Bob has been published in more than a dozen computer magazines over the past thirty years including: a three-year stint as Editor-in-Chief of the irreverent and unpredictable MACazine and four different columns in MacUser magazine: Beating the System, Personal Best, Game Room, and the Help Folder (with Andy Ihnatko, and later, Chris Breen). Though best known for writing, he’s also dabbled in broadcasting with a radio show (Inside Mac Radio, CNET Radio, 2001-2002) and hosted a popular television series (Mac Today, Syndicated, 1992–1993). Another of Bob’s loves is teaching, which he's been doing at University of Texas Informal Classes for over a decade, with well-loved courses including, iPhone for Smart People, Making Music with GarageBand, and soon, Working Smarter for Mac Users. Always in-demand as a speaker, Bob has presented more than 200 seminars, workshops, conferences, and training sessions in the U.S. and abroad, and given Macworld Expo keynotes in three countries, He's also done presentations at countless Apple Stores, and at least three world-famous Geek Cruises. Last but not least, Bob won the Macworld Expo MacJeopardy World Championship three times before retiring his crown. He did not, however, return the Rocket J. Squirrel Memorial Cup, which is still displayed prominently in his office. Prior to giving in to his obsessions with Apple technology and productivity, Bob worked in advertising, producing television commercials, radio spots, and print ads for Kresser & Robbins and SelecTV, in Los Angeles. Bob holds a B.S. in Marketing from California State University and lives in beautiful (and over-crowded) Austin, Texas with his beautiful wife, Lisa, and Zeke the Wonder Vizsla, with occasional visits from now-adult children Allison and Jacob.