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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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89 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

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! :-)

Two years later on, and this is still the only place I could find that helped me. A belated thanks to Bill for the ESC Key option! I’m going to add this message in case it helps someone else searching typical key words to find the solution.

Like Emma and David, I had a “cannot send message using the server” error window in Mail that was too big. I could not resize it. “Try later” and “Cancel” and “Edit” were below the visible screen. The green button or Zoom enlarged the whole screen, and yellow minimized it, but the error message stayed proportional and I still could not close or delete it.

But hitting the ESC key triggers the “Edit This Message” choice, and the error message window goes away, and I can fix the problem. YAY!

When that small upper left corner view shows, with el Capitan, click on the green+ button while holding the button. This is different fro earlier OS. Your view will expand to full screen.

“Clicking the green zoom (+) button on the toolbar of any window will automatically resize it.

This is impossible. The window that TOTALLY fills my computer screen has no “green zoom button” in sight.

This is immensely frustrating. I left the computer for a short while, came back and found that the safari window covers the entire screen — no control-icons or colored buttons or words (“View,” etc) at the top of my screen at all.

Please help.

“Clicking the green zoom (+) button on the toolbar of any window will automatically resize it.

This is impossible. The window that TOTALLY fills my computer screen has no “green zoom button” in sight.

This is immensely frustrating. I left the computer for a short while, came back and found that the safari window covers the entire screen — no control-icons or colored buttons or words (“View,” etc) at the top of my screen at all.

Please help.