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How to resize a window on your Mac’s screen that’s too big to drag

How to resize a window on your Mac\'s screen that\'s too big to drag

Have you ever come across a window that’s so tall you can’t even get to the resize handle with your mouse cursor because it’s off the screen? There’s a quick and easy fix!

The people who usually deal with this problem on a somewhat regular basis are those who hook their Mac up to a higher resolution external display. I run into it all the time going back and forth from my MacBook Pro’s 15″ LCD to my 32″ 1080p TV. If I don’t remember to shrink windows back down to fit the smaller 1440×900 pixel screen beforehand, I’m often left with unaccessible resize handles.

What are we to do in this situation? It may not be obvious, but the solution is sitting right in front of us! Clicking the green zoom (+) button on the toolbar of any window will automatically resize it to best fit your current screen resolution. See… I told you it was quick and easy!

UPDATE – 1/25/10:
In response to Melanie’s comment below, I thought it would be a good idea to add a quick note to this article. While the original text covered what to do when only part of your window is hidden from view, there are other times when the entire window is off screen. In this situation, try using Exposé to find and select the inaccessible window. The menu bar should now reflect the application you chose, so going to Window > Zoom should solve the problem.

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85 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

When using an external monitor with a LOWER resolution than the main display it’s possible to get a window where the resize handle and the zoom button are off-screen. Any tips for this situation?

Try selecting the troublesome window, then going to Window > Zoom in the menu bar.

Now the sixty four thousand dollar question:

How do you do this in iTunes? Zoom has been over-ridden and just switches the mode.

To avoid switching to iTunes mini player, hold Option down as you press the green zoom button. That should do it!

Outstanding. Have faced the problem you mention of LCD projectors but also have two displays and dragging from the bigger one to the smaller one creates the same annoyance …. which you have now solved for me. — DW

Thank you! Pressing Control stopped iTunes from going into the mini player. Thank you!!!

Top tip about iTunes nice one – had me stumped for ages.

thank you thank you! I just switched over my entire itunes library (copied the whole folder) to my new macbook pro. I had forgotten to change the window size back and it was driving me insane to not be able to view iTunes the way I wanted. i was pressing the green button but totally forgot about holding control down.

This still doesn’t work for me. I have an email which wouldn’t send and the address list is so large that it goes off the screen, that I am unable to choose the option ‘try later’ as it is completely under the screen. Using the green zoom makes no difference, moving my applications makes no difference – it means I have to force quit mail to close…and it’s very very frustrating…any help appreciated.


I was ripping my hair out with this problem. I switched everything from my mac to my new 13 macbook pro and the iTunes was just killing me. Rob, thank you so much for the option tip!

Thank you for the answer, thank you to Rob for asking specifically about iTunes, thank you to my teachers who taught me the English language well enough for me to be able to craft an effective Google search leading me here and thank you in advance to Apple for posting this very important information IMMEDIATELY on their Apple support site and putting a new option on their WINDOW drop-down menu that allows you to do this automatically without resorting to the Option Key. AUUGH! I was SO frustrated! AUGH! I am so relieved now.

For real – THANKS – this has bee very irritating.

Surprising mac doesn’t do this automatically

Marvelous work chaps, the write up made me happy as I could resize the window..but then , oh no,…it resizes to mini player ahhh what now me thinks then I see it, the little gem post by Ant on April 19th, top dollar fellas, much appreciated this fix.


Ant… So much pain erased with the click of the option key. Where do I send the money mate? You are a LEGEND!

I love my Mac…but why can’t Apple stop w/the not invented here crap. I’m continually frustrated that I can only resize the window from the lower right corner. Thanks for the iTunes tip!

I knew it was something easy. thank you….big help

if that fails you can do….. Window >Zoom

Works on about everything, but iTunes! Any solution for that one?

OK, found the solution to my iTunes problem… When frame is oversize, go into system preferences, select display, select a smaller resolution, your frame is then smaller, and you will be able to resize it. Then go back to previous resolution, and you will find you can resize your frame!

ANT, you’re a lifesaver!! I couldn’t find that trick on Apple’s website, the help files, or the missing manual. Thanks a million!!

man, it’s easy when you know how eh? thank you sooo much. you’ve saved my few remaining hairs from being pulled out.

Thanks Ant..option /green button tip! Made my night. Obvious indeed, but took me 40mins to find the solution. Cheers.

I am glad someone finally realized that we are all not fricken idots and gave a useful suggestion. I searched for quite some time trying to figure out how to get iTunes to maximize to full screen after it had gotten sized to the point that I could not drag the resizer. Many other sites failed to mention the simple but effect “Option” click which forces the iTunes window to full screen and thus allows you to resize it again. Thank you Dude!

Thanks Alan,

I tried everything and could not figure it out ..
You are a saviour, thought I was loosing my mind !!

I obsessed with my 2weeks old new Apple Cinema HD 30″ Display, travelled with my MBP 17″ and bang, this problem with iTunes. Nearly lost it. Now as ‘Rich’ asked above; where do we send the dollars, ‘Ant’?

Option + – thank you so much !! Happy New Year

Ant, just have to say thanks for posting this! I’m a long time mac user, but have never had to worry about this before. I was using a huge monitor with my Air today and forgot to resize the windows when I unplugged….. glad you’re at the top of google for this!


Ant, you deserve a big, sloppy kiss for this one (w/iTunes hint). That was driving me nuts! I knew it had to be “that easy.”

(You can collect the big, sloppy kiss from the individual of your choice, by the way.)

This has all been helpful, however, does anyone ever run into the problem of having an application open but it being completely off your screen all together after disconnecting from an external monitor? The application is running, my doc shows it to be open, however, it is nowhere on my screen. If I hit the F3 button so that it shows me all my open application, sure enough it’s there…but once again it’s not on my screen and therfore I can’t access it. Does anyone know how to fix this?

Thank you…thank you….thank you :)
I’m still a newbie to Mac’s and this was driving me insane.
Thank you sooooo much for posting this =D

Thank you, this was really useful!!


I felt your feedback pertinent for normal use with day to day solid MAC OSX software. But ran into a problem with a ‘shady’ 3rd party software.(NCH ExpressInvoice)
that was driving me crazy.In fact I’m not too sure how it happenned, but in any case the window was way too large to be manipulated by the little resizing tool typically found in the bottom right hand corner of the windows. And of course the simple ‘click’ on the green button was, for whatever reason, inactive, I could only close the window. So basically I had no way to Save my invoices because the save button was out of touch and sight…& of course no other option was available in the menu bar (don’t ask me why, ask NCH or just avoid their stuff).
In any case, about 90minutes of various attempts (uninstall/reinstall…web forum suggestions…) I tried changing the resolution of the screen to 1024×640, which actually shrinks everything, I was able to access the resize doogle (with my time warped looking screen)! Which worked..!!..and then of course changed back to the originale screen resolution setting once the manipulaton was done. (note the original setting before changing!)
So if any of you have problems above and beyond your screen (or the software’s capacity) & find that Ant’s remedy didn’t cure…this may (or may not) help.
Ciao for Now

The green button makes the display fit the screen, but my problem is that everything is all of a sudden way big, so the image is not completely on the screen anymore. It just happened and nothing seems to work – zoom, system preferences, font resizing. What do I do?

That doesn’t actually work for iTunes, because the green button toggles the window between full screen & the mini-player. The only way to get stretch tab to be visible in iTunes, is by plugging back in to a 2nd monitor- and resizing from there. Sad.

For iTunes just hold down the either the command button or option button then click on the green button. I can’t remember if it’s command or option because I ran into this problem a long time ago but had it fixed.

THANK YOU for this tip!

Christo’s tip of changing resolution worked for me…

I was having problems with a save window from FCP that somehow had a got bit.. Green button did nothing.. `

It is small again now yeah!!!

Can someone update page with the various tips to help..

eg. Green + Button, option + or – , Window Menu or change resolution to 1024×640 temporarily.

thx for page

Thank you so much! I can’t believe how simple it was…

What about an iTunes window? When you hit the green plus it just switches to mini player mode.

Thanks. Being trying to find this for ages! :)

Can someone please tell me whether there is an option on my new macbook pro 17″ to make the text bigger in the URL and Search boxes. It is giving me terrible eye strain.

Okay, here’s a variation. How do i resize a too big window…when it doesn’t have that green + key??

I just ran into the same problem as “Emma” Did a year ago and can’t find a solution in the thread. I’ve tried all the stuff with the green buttons, rebooted, etc. But as soon as I connect to the servers the “try later” or “cancel” option is below the screen and I can’t click it. Help?

June 23rd, 2009, 1:50 PM

This still doesn’t work for me. I have an email which wouldn’t send and the address list is so large that it goes off the screen, that I am unable to choose the option ‘try later’ as it is completely under the screen. Using the green zoom makes no difference, moving my applications makes no difference – it means I have to force quit mail to close…and it’s very very frustrating…any help appreciated.


Thank you so much!!

Thanks so much…….I had tried everything!

OSX has a build in solution for this and it’s actually int the Display Preferences.

System Preferences > Displays > Gather Windows.

You can access it quicker if you check the “Show displays in the menu bar” or by pressing option+”either of the adjust brightness keys”

Regarding the email error for David and Emma, my wife was able to highlight the error message (her problem was the exact same as yours) and hit the escape key. That got rid of the error, and she was able to choose another email server to send the same email.

Hope this helps.


I have the same problem as Brie. What do you do when the window doesn’t have a green button? I’m trying to set up an Apple account for ordering iPhoto products, and can’t go to the next step because the “next” button is below the screen. Awk! Help is appreciated.

Ha! That worked perfectly! Thank you!

Thank you so much, been banging my head over this and yet it was RIGHT in front of my eyes. Bless you!

This isn’t helping! I’m in Garage Band, and it just moves the window a little. Please help!!!

I’m having an issue with a GarageBand window. Not GarageBand itself, but I’m trying to edit a Hybrid Basic instrument and the editing window that appears is too long to fit the screen. This window also only has the red (close) button. No yellow or green.

Bill, Thanks for the escape hint. I have the same issue as Emma and David, the dropdown menu for my email rules, goes below the bottom of the screen. I could scroll thru all the rules, but the choice buttons at the bottom were off the screen. Hitting return does accept any changes. But if I wanted to cancel my changes, there was no way to click on that button. Esc worked.
Seems like no one has actually come up with a fix yet to resize the dropdown. Obviously the resize corner is off the screen, and the green + only effects the window behind the dropdown menu.

Holy christ, hahah I had iTunes all jacked up and un-resizable, so glad I found this page. You might want to update the original text to indicate the OPTION Click on the green “+” to fit iTunes to the screen.


garageband is too long and pressing the green button or going windows > zoom just makes it fit but the bottem with all the tools i need is still off screen!!

I have the same problem as Julia and Chase.
The software I’m using opens a window that is to large. When I click the green button it just fits to the bottom of the screen, not showing the tools that are off the screen. I’m using the higher resolution and tried to gather windows too.

Mac mail- error message too big for screen (Bill, Emma, David)… hitting ESC worked perfectly….. THANKS

THANK YOU!!! Googling your response was quicker than MAC support page!!! You saved my sanity!!!!!!! LOL

I love you. Is it too short ? I love you again.

Hi thanks for the help, it worked for me.

However just a note – in photoshop its not that obvious that this actually works.

solution: press the (+) button then move the mouse to the bottom right and even though you can’t see the corner the ‘resize’ cursor will appear.

Hope this helps a few people


I just got an iMac 27 incher. When I open Photoshop it opens full blast with no edges to grab and reduce the size of the app so I can see other apps which may be running, such as Dreamweaver or Finder. How can I reduce the size of the opening Photoshop screen?

Hi, i don’t know what to do. I have a mini mac conect to EPSON projector, it work fine for a wile and now the desktop is oversize. I need to move the mouse left to right to be able to see all the desk top. I try to change screen resolution, the green thing.. etc. it affect only the box or window not the desktop size. any idea? thanks

1. open your (internet web browser)
2. click the thing looks like stairs with two fingers at bottom of application tool bar
3. click (turning hide off button)
4. then click and drag web browser right on the bottom
5. close your all web browsers and re-open it.
6. you will find the new browser is suited to screen, and when you move your mouse courser to very bottom application tool bar will pop up!

Thats it and sorry for bad English.

WOW. Such a great trick! I have so much trouble with this all the time, and it’s such an easy fix!

What if this green button isn’t available for the window?

Thank you for the quick & easy way to resize your screen!

Still looking for a solution for windows that do not have a green button at all (like “Get Info”).

Perhaps this is a case that has no solution (score one for Windows) :(

Exactly, windows with the green + button are obvious but the real problem are those with no buttons except for the close x button.

Anyone solved that???? I’m working with the Kontakt 5 sampler in Logic and i can only see half the window on my 13″ macbook.

Hey man,

It seems the post is rather old but I thought I should share.
I was having exactly that issue and tried your tip. However it didn’t work :S

Under Lion, you have to click the green arrow + your alt/option key at the same time.



That’s been driving me crazy for a while. And thank you Google!


In moving from a large screen external display to the screen on my Macbook pro, the left and right hand sides of the screen are cut off e.g. on the left there is no “back” control arrow, on the right, the scroll up/down bar is gone. How do I resize to fit the Mac Bookpro screen

the green “plus” works

Thanks for the simple solution to my problem !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank You for the simple fix !!!!!!

My “save” window is too low on the screen to access the “resize” area in the lower right corner. As a result, I can barely see the “new folder” “cancel” and “save” buttons. Unfortunately, there is no red-yellow-green button display in the upper left corner to resize the window to my display. How can I resize the save window without changing the resolution on my display (I like it the way it is.)

AHHHHH … I solved my problem and I think it might work for others. The SAVE AS window butts up to the bottom of the toolbars and then extends down. I clicked on the open oval button in the upper right of my Word screen (minimize tool bars) and then re-requested SAVE AS. Voila, the screen now had the resize corner showing. I resized the SAVE AS screen, set my toolbars to full view, and tried SAVE AS again. It is now sized appropriately with all the buttons at the bottom available to me.

Hope this helps someone else from going crazy (I was nearly there myself!)

The iTunes screen is so large, that the green button doesn’t even show. Also, the window seems to be frozen, so I cant move it to get the colored buttons into view. The only way I can close iTunes is to hit cmd=Q. Help

On the MACbook Air you need to select command + 0 (ie, the number zero) to resize the window back to “normal”. To increase the size of text only, use Command + or Command -. Using these is nice because it zooms into the content without resizing your window off the screen.

Ok, so what if the app doesn’t HAVE a green resize button, or its not highlighted?????????? I am trying to do this with NI Kontakt Player, and the only button that shows is the minimize.

Thank you, Thank you. Very easy fix!

Did anyone ever find an answer to the Garage Band problem? It appears to be impossible to resize the window and all the main controls are unreachable at the bottom. I’ve seen plenty of mention of the problem elsewhere, but so far no solution.

Hi everyone!
I’ve found the solution for all Kontakt user that have an issue with window size in Garageband or in Logic !!!
Click ‘options’ on the Kontakt menu, choose ‘interface’ in the popup window, click the ‘reset size’ button, and close the popup. Then you can drag the lower right corner of the Kontakt window to fit as you like! :-)

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