One of the first things Mac users do to impress their Windows pals is demonstrate the magic of Exposé. Now you can awe them with a bunch of cool tricks. Oh yeah… they might even boost your productivity too!
If you’re a recent Mac convert and you’re not quite sure what Exposé is, you might want to check out our thorough and informative video screencast, “Using Active Screen Corners to Boost Productivity in OS X,” to see what it’s all about. A ton of nifty features are shown and it will give some context to the things this article tackles.
Without further ado, here are your fancy yet functional Exposé tips & tricks…
Hold, point, and release
People usually invoke Exposé by quickly pressing on the assigned key on their keyboard (usually F3 or F9 depending on the age of your Mac), then clicking on the window of their choice. Another way to approach this is to press and hold the Exposé key, point to your chosen window, and then release the key. One key press and no clicks!
Once you’re in Exposé you don’t even have to touch your mouse. Use your arrow keys (up, down, left, right) to move from window to window and then press the spacebar or Enter to select it.
Window titles for all
The only way to see the title of a window in Exposé is to hover over each one individually. That is, unless you hold down the Option key and see all of them at once. This one is incredibly useful, but I should warn you that it’s not exactly reliable. Sometimes it works great and other times it doesn’t work at all. The latter is especially true when you’re already hovering over a window when you press Option.
Tab to switch
After Exposé (all windows mode) is launched, you see thumbnails of every open window on your screen. Pressing the Tab key, however, will cycle through those windows on an application by application basis. For example, it will show all of your Safari windows, then all of your Word documents, etc. Shift+Tab will go backwards to the previously shown application.
Exposé meets App Switcher
The Application Switcher (Command+Tab) isn’t just for your desktop — it works in Exposé too! It’s very similar to the previous tip except it allows you to specifically choose which application’s windows to display. Give it a shot to see what I mean.
Drag and drop
I think I saved the coolest for last. Say you’ve got a file or chunk of text you want to drag to a window that’s buried beneath a bunch of other windows. Exposé can help in this situation with little to no effort! Click & hold the file or block of text, hit your Exposé key, and drag your cursor over to the desired window’s thumbnail. Hover over it for a few seconds and then you can drop it right in there once selected. This method saves a bunch of clicks and gets even better when you use Active Screen Corners to trigger Exposé, as explained in the video referenced at the start of this article.