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How to use Exposé in macOS Sierra

The Exposé feature of macOS Sierra lets you easily navigate through your window clutter by highlighting certain windows, giving you an overview of all open windows or clearing everything away.

It’s a built-in feature of the operating system that can give you fast access to any open window with a few keystrokes, temporarily hide all open windows, or scale all windows down so you can get an overview of all of them. Here’s how to use Exposé.

Open a few windows to see Exposé in action. To show windows by application, press F10; Exposé highlights one application’s open window(s) while dimming everything behind it. To toggle through other application windows, press the Tab key. Click a window to select it, or press F10 to return everything back as it was.

To view all your open windows, press F9. To select a window, click it. To return your view back to normal, press F9 again.

To hide all windows so you can see your desktop, press F11. Press the key again to display the clutter. (If you’re working on a Mac laptop, press the Fn key in combination with the other keys listed here; for example, press Fn-F11.) Exposé is very useful:

  • When you want to drag something from a Finder window into a folder on your desktop but can’t see that folder, start dragging the item, press F11 to hide all windows, and drop the item in the folder.
  • If you need to drag a file from one window to another, start dragging the item, press F9 to see all windows, drag the item over the target window until the window becomes active, or press F9 again, and drop in your item.
  • When you need to access something on your desktop, press F11 to hide all windows for an unobstructed view.
  • If you need to copy elements between two windows in the same application, start dragging the item you wish to copy, press F10 to display all open windows for that application, drag the item over the target window until it becomes active or press F10 again, and drop it.
  • You should note that the Touch Bar on MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016) and MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports) replaces the function keys at the top of your keyboard and gives you quick access to commands on your Mac. It changes automatically based on what you’re doing and apps that you’re using. 
  • If you need access to function keys (F1–F12), hold down the Function (fn) key at the bottom-left of your keyboard. Touch Bar changes to show the function keys for you to select, and then it returns to its previous state when you release the Function key.
Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.