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

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

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!



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    21 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    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


    6 years ago on Introduction

    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"


    11 years ago on Introduction

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

    2 replies

    8 years ago on Introduction

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

    2 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

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


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    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 :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

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


    9 years ago on Introduction

    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


    9 years ago on Introduction

    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