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I've been using a Mac at work for a couple of months now, but after getting used to it there still are some annoyances that I'm trying to eliminate. If I have multiple windows open, clicking on a non-active window will activate it - but the application does not register the click. Coming from a Windows background, this makes the UI feel very sluggish, as I feel I'm spending far more clicks than I should.

Is there a way to configure this behavior? I know there are utilities available for Windows to tweak things like this, are there any similar tools available for Mac OS?

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This feature is known as xmouse - I searched for it actively a while back and kept reading that OS-X is basically unable to support it. I'd love to find out otherwise! Curiously enough, most windows will receive / honor scroll events even when they're not front-most; just not click events. – JRobert May 9 '10 at 15:25

What application specifically? I tested with both Safari and Finder and found that clicks in an inactive window will both focus the window as well as activate a click event.

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Now that you mention it, some apps do indeed receive click events (Finder, Terminal). Most other apps don't: XCode, Firefox, TextWrangler, Thunderbird, iChat... – Pieter Witvoet Apr 7 '10 at 13:53
The “click through” behavior is definitely under the control of individual applications (individual “views”, actually). See -acceptsFirstMouse: in NSView (one of the fundamental base Cocoa UI classes). – Chris Johnsen Jul 10 '10 at 4:02
Thanks for the info, Chris. So much for consistency, but oh well. – Pieter Witvoet Sep 6 '10 at 11:55

Not exactly what you ask, but you can try Zooom/2 — one of its features is brining windows to front on hover after customizable time and that is just one of many features.

Also not excactly what you are asking: holding ⌘ and clicking background windows will fire click event without activating window.

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Indeed, not really what I was looking for. The ⌘+click 'trick' either doesn't work for me or it's also application-specific, like normal clicks. Strangely enough, some clicks are always honored (specifically buttons like the close, minimize and maximize ones), regardless of what application I'm dealing with... – Pieter Witvoet Sep 6 '10 at 11:49
As Chris Johnsen said, there is an option to ignore such clicks, but I think that this could not be changed for system provided buttons like close, minimize and maximize – tig Sep 6 '10 at 21:15
Option + Click does work for me (on Chrome at least) -- it brings a non-active to foreground and fires the click event. – Fabrício Matté May 23 '15 at 16:59

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