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Exposé preferences

First, open up a bunch of windows so you can experiment with this. Open several Finder windows (Command-click on folders to open them in separate windows). Also open an application or two, and open at least two windows in each application. Now you've got a good mess to work with.

Open the System Preferences: Single-click its icon in the Dock.

Single-click on the Exposé icon in the System Preferences pane.

In the Exposé preferences, shown below, choose the various ways you want to enable the Exposé actions. You can set actions for as many or as few of the options as you like, depending on how you prefer to work.

Active Screen Corners: Choose what will happen (if anything) when you shove your mouse into one of the corners. A dash () means nothing will happen. (Because the Apple menu is in the upper-left corner and Spotlight is in the upper-right corner, I usually assign actions to the bottom corners.)

Keyboard: Choose which keyboard shortcut you want. To maximize your options, hold down any combination of the Shift, Control, Option, or Command keys to add that modifier key to the shortcut. For instance, if you have already assigned F9 to some other shortcut on your Mac, you can assign Option F9 or Shift F9 to an Exposé action.

Mouse: If you have a two- or three-button mouse, you can assign actions to the extra buttons.

Above is an example of how the menu appears when you hold the Option key down to add the Option key to your shortcut. (The Option key symbol is )

You don't have to close the Exposé preferences to experiment with your choices—just use the shorcuts you have created and see what happens. Try these experiments:

  • Since you made a mess of windows earlier, use the action you set for “Desktop” to make all windows go away (if you didn't change the existing shortcut, hit the F11 key). Try it—you should see just your Desktop.

    Use the same action to display everything again.

  • With that mess of windows on your screen, use the action you set for “All windows.” (If you didn't change the existing shortcut, hit the F9 key.) Every window becomes small and visible. As you mouse over windows, a little label appears to tell you the title of that window.

    If you have a movie playing or the iTunes visualizer on, it will continue playing even while small.

  • While all windows are visible (see above), tap the Tab key: every tap of the Tab key brings a different group of windows forward—each application's open windows are a group, plus the Finder windows are another group.

  • Select one of the open applications in the Dock, one of the applications in which you earlier opened several windows. Use the action you set for “Application windows” (if you didn't change the existing shortcut, hit the F10 key). This brings forward all the windows that are open in that application, sized small and tiled across the screen. Single-click the one you want to work with.



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