8 Replies Latest reply: Jan 10, 2013 7:52 PM by T-Tutting
ahaskell Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

My favorite feature on the mac has always been the ability to see all open windows with a simple click (F3 on my keyboard). I often have multiple word documents and multiple pdf files open, as well as two or three different browser windows, several image files, and who knows what else. It is very common for me to have 10-20 open windows and it was always a huge help to be able to see them all at once, with filenames that would pop up when hovering with the mouse. This feature made it incredibly easy to move from file to file and truly see everything on the desktop at once.


As far as I can tell, this is no longer possible with Lion and Mission Control. Now if I have multiple windows open in a single application and enter Mission Control I see them tiled over one another, without filenames displayed for any. Sure, I can see all the applications I have open, but what good is that if I can't see which files I have? It's making it very difficult to work effectively-- basically I have to minimize each window one by one until I find the one I want.


Am I missing something? Can anyone using Lion tell me how to see a graphic representation of ALL open windows, with filenames? Like I could in the good old days? Or is there something like a "see all open files" ability in Finder?



iMac (27-inch Late 2009), Mac OS X (10.7.3)
  • CT Level 6 Level 6 (17,270 points)

    I know what you mean - it was nice to see all the windows.


    Tell Apple here:  Apple - Mac OS X - Feedback


    To mitigate this problem there is "App expose" which lets you see all open windows for any given application.


    And, in Mission Control you can spread a given application's windows a little further apart or you can preview any given window within Mission Control.


    How you do all that stuff depends on how you've configured mouse, keyboard and trackpad. For example, on my trackpad, to spread MC windows a bit I slide two fingers up (with cursor over the group of windows). To preview a given window, I put the cursor over the window and hit the space bar. For me, App expose can be activated by 4 fingers down for the frontmost app, and four fingers down with the cursor over the chosen app in the dock.





  • ahaskell Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks, Charlie. That's helpful. What I used to accomplish with one button click, now I can accomplish with a button click, a cursor movement, a trackpad action, another button click, a cursor movement, another button click, another cursor movement, another button click, another cursor movement, another trackpad action, another button click, etc....


    But at least I know it's possible.


    I'll file the feedback with Apple. Sure hope the "all windows" functionality returns.

  • Chloe B Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm with ahaskell; these "solutions," however well meaning, don't really solve the problem.  What used to be simply accomplished with one button click is now several steps away, if that.  It's disrupting my workflow constantly and I can't believe that Apple hasn't added "All Windows" Exposé back as an option in an update. 


    Frankly, I'm finding too many things in Lion that are taking more steps than in Snow Leopard (another annoying example: "Save As" is gone in most apps; you have to create a duplicate and then save the duplicate.  "Save a Version" doesn't do exactly the same thing for me).  It's reminding me of my old Mac/PC comparisions -- yes, you can do the same things, but they take more steps to achieve.  What happened to the elegance?


    And I have already filed feedback with Apple; that's frustrating in itself since you don't get any response.  I've read these complaints dating back to last summer (2011) and nothing's been done about it.  Very disappointing.  I only upgraded so I could use iBooks Author; so far it's not been worth the trouble and has cost me nearly $200 in replaced apps. 

  • Rogerock Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have to agree With Chloe B and ahaskell. While it's not exactlly the same I do have a couple of simple solutions. You may not be able to expose all windows you can view all windows of a particular app. I have found that with a particular app window selected I can press control+F3 and all widows open in that app will ne shown similar to how Exposé looked in Snow Leopard. (Some may have to press control+down arrow.) Also if you hover the pointer over the app in the dock and double click with 2 fingers on a magic mouse you will see all windows of that app. (A 3 finger swipe may work with a track pad). Lastly, you can right click on an app in the dock and a list of open windows will appear. I hope this may help.

  • arlobliss Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks, Rogerrock! That is helpful, and gets me part of the way to where I want to be. Of course I'm still hoping to see the one-click 'view all open files' ability come back.

  • MikeTulsa Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    Just upgraded and had this problem.


    Control - Up Arrow - shows the main Mission Control Window

    Control - Down Arrow - shows All Applications in your current Deskptop * (this does the trick)


    I use a logitech mouse.  I configured the wheel press to Show All Apps, and the side thumb buttons to Show Mission Control.


    Logitech provides a configuration window that allows you to define keystrokes based on mouse clicks.

    There is a selection for "Mission Control", and then a selection window to tell Mission Control what to do without having to define the keystrokes, so it was very simple.


    Not sure how this would work on a Mac Mouse.  But this solved the problem for me.  Thanks for your original post.

  • T-Tutting Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I Have the ANSWER!!!!

    I'm guessing this is for those in word, etc. that have more than three documents open and you would like to see them all and choose. Although you don't see them all completely, its better than nothing. After you use 3 fingers to enter Mission Control, use two fingers to swipe up again to have all the windows from the one application, such as Microsoft word, to on their own spread out to choose which document


    Hope this helps!

  • T-Tutting Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    this "un-tiles" them a bit more