Introduction: Show Desktop in Mac Osx (aka Hide All)

Picture of Show Desktop in Mac Osx (aka Hide All)

Ever since I got a mac I missed the functionality of "show desktop" that windows has, with its keyboard shortcut: windows key+D.
F11 simply doesn't cut it, creating messy borders at the edge of the screen.

This is my goal: hiding all windows using a keyboard shortcut.

Step 1: Downloads

you'll need to download 2 freeware applications, and install them:

1) Show Desktop
This will hide all the windows

2) Xkeys - 1.1.1
This will allow us to use function keys.

Step 2: Using Show Desktop

Picture of Using Show Desktop

Open Show Desktop.

When you press on the Show desktop icon in the Dock it will hide all applications (depending on the preferences).

go to the preferences in Show Desktop, and see the different options, this is something you should do with every new program you get so as to use it the best way you can.

I set my prefrences this way (see picture):

Step 3: Using Xkeys

Picture of Using Xkeys

open Xkeys

see image 1, and copy it.
Press F8 (or the function key you chose), this should hide all the windows!

but wait, we're not done yet,
remember about always checking the preferences?
Go to the preferences (see image 2) and uncheck the last box (the one that says can put Xkeys on standby using...) so it does not collide with other programs.
For example cmnd+F12 is used by firefox as "undo close tab" but will be overridden by Xkeys, creating much angst and dismay!

That's it, you're done!


nelsoneulalio (author)2015-04-12

Simple, just use Function + F11 keys on your Mac.

Thanks Man! Its just what I need. ;)

Thanks Man! This just what I need. :D

TboiW (author)2015-06-10

I use Hide. It is an app that hides all open windows on your screen by click on the little icon in the statusbar. Use it to organize your windows and become faster. Download it at

JakubP1 (author)2014-11-30

How do I do it without downloads is what I am looking for.

JakubP1 (author)JakubP12014-11-30

Seriously dude?

ceebee1 (author)2013-07-13

not what I was looking for but thanks.

ppsirker (author)2013-01-30

Four finger pinch out shows the desktop. put your thumb and three fingers in close position and then open it outward like increasing circle. it will show the desktop. for this you need to enable this gesture in "system preference" "trackpad" "more gestures" "show desktop"

ndsa (author)2008-05-21

Not strictly a keyboard shortcut but pressing Cmd+Option and clicking on the desktop will hide all open windows.

JennD17 (author)ndsa2012-01-18

Thank you ndsa! That's exactly what I was looking for! :)

ndsa (author)ndsa2008-05-21

edit : it won't hide open finder windows.

vsy (author)2011-04-07

lots of info. why do we want do everything the pc way ? well just use 4 finger scroll up to show desktop. isnt it ?

jfreas (author)vsy2011-09-27

It's a bit arrogant to assume that we're all sitting in front of a laptop.

shootermatic (author)vsy2011-08-08

Why does someone always reply with a PC vs Mac comment?

The computer was invented to make our lives easier if hiding all windows make this guys life easier then why does it matter what system its like?

I've got used to pushing F11 now but it still aggravates my OCD a little :)

ngrevious (author)2011-08-21

swipe up on track pad sith four fingerS
Works with lepord at least

black_shades (author)2009-12-20

tell application "System Events"
    set visible of every process whose visible is true to false
end tell

Here's an applescript to do the job

saultopaul (author)2009-08-15

Hi Folks I spent ages looking around and there is the answer right on the mac. 1/ open expose ( apple on menu/system preferences/expose & spaces 1/ open and select menu expose 2/ select in the window where t shows desktop field name any of the drop down keys you wish ( i chose F19 because i don't know if i ever use or will use it for anything else AND its the top right hand key, so no need to look too much!) tha's it. No need for me to buy the app i am trying to do the same with( trying because the showdesktop app keeps crashing anyway!! All the best to you if anyone ever gets to read this etc !! Paul

Marble of Doom (author)2008-11-03

You can do the same thing by actually quitting Finder. See my 'ible: Quit Finder

TheShawMaestro (author)2008-05-04

Why not just use Exposé?

dr15 (author)TheShawMaestro2008-05-04

Because it doesn't really hide the applications.

TheShawMaestro (author)dr152008-05-05

Oh, ok. One thing you could use is the Dockables action "Hide apps" that hides all apps open.

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