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I am using a MacBook Pro with Mac OS X 10.5. Is there a similar function to "show desktop" (shortcut is WindowsD) on a Mac? 

It should hide all applications and show a clean desktop.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com May 11 '10 at 13:02

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Exposé will do that for you. There's also command-alt-H to hide others. –  Williham Totland May 11 '10 at 12:56
    
What is Exposé? –  George2 May 11 '10 at 12:57
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@WillihamTotland Depending on what George2 was looking for Exposé might not be the solution. With the Windows+D shortcut all windows are hidden and you can interact with the Desktop (icons, etc). Exposé doesn't allow that (as far as I can tell). For me the solution was fideli's answer of ⌘+fn+F3. –  Jeremy Wiebe Jan 16 at 16:45

13 Answers 13

up vote 62 down vote accepted

On older versions of OS X, it's one of the Exposé keys. Starting with OS X 10.7, Exposé has been replaced by Mission Control.

The default is F11. On a MacBook you will have to press fnF11, as the keys are used for controlling volume by default.

If that's not the right one, look in your System Preferences to see which one it is.

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You can specify for example that F1 and F2 without function key are brightness, and F11 also without function key is show desktop. See this app to set it up like that kevingessner.com/software/functionflip –  ridogi Jul 3 '10 at 19:23

Pressing F11 sends all the windows to the borders, showing the desktop. F11 again restores everything in its previous place.

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F11 is for sound for my MacBook Pro. –  George2 May 11 '10 at 12:59
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For newer macs it is the <kbd>Command</kbd> + <kbd>F3</kbd> key. –  jweede May 11 '10 at 13:28

F11, by default, will Expose the Desktop, and shove all the open windows to the side.

Personally, I tend to Apple-H all windows I'm not using, keeps them in the background but out of the way. You could also look into using spaces.

Here's a good cheat sheet for keyboard shortcuts on OS X.

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F11 is for sound for my MacBook Pro. –  George2 May 11 '10 at 13:00
    
"I tend to Apple-H" -- any key called Apple for MacBook Pro? –  George2 May 11 '10 at 13:01
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"Apple Key" -> Command Key –  jweede May 11 '10 at 13:28
    
Thanks! Your reply is very helpful! –  George2 May 11 '10 at 15:33

Cmd+H will hide the active app and cmd+alt+H will hide all Windows. But you should use Exposé. Just take a look into the settings. There you can configure an screen corner: When you move the mouse in this corner it will move all windows away from the screen und you can see the desktop.

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"Cmd+H will hide the active app" -- not working for Entourage. –  George2 May 11 '10 at 13:05

If F11 by default decreases volume for you, you need to instead press FnF11. You can change that setting in the Keyboard System Preferences: Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys . After enabling that, F11 will show desktop, and FnF11 will decrease volume.

Some people have mentioned that F3 also works to show the desktop.


If it's a new MacBook Pro, you can also use a three-finger spread to show the desktop. Check out Trackpad in the System Preferences for a demonstration of that:


Also, in the Exposé / Mission Control System Preferences, you can set up an Active Screen Corner where you can send the mouse to to show the desktop.


What others are referring to as CmdH refers to the H on your keyboard. That hides the current application and shows whatever's behind it, which may or may not be the desktop depending on what other applications are running. Switch to the Finder, close any Finder windows, and H will hide all other applications, revealing the desktop. This would not show the edges of other windows.

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1  
Thanks! ⌘F3 was it for me, except I had to add the fn key because I have the option "Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys" turned on. –  Jeremy Wiebe Jan 16 at 16:39
    
Thanks for showing the trackpad option as well! –  Phuah Yee Keat Feb 14 at 20:16

Check http://displaydesktop.com

Put it in your bar.

Simplest display desktop program ever. The one I personally used. No settings. NOTHING. Just put it on the bottom bar. Click when you want to clear desktop.

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I like to use "Hide application" which hides the windows of the current application (but doesn't close them).

Press ⌘+H repeatedly to hide all applications until you see your desktop.

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Everbody talking about Expose desktop, and you want a clean desktop, like in windows with win+d shortcut.

That's what this utility actually does and I'm using this for years: http://www.everydaysoftware.net/showdesktop/

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Use F3 on Mavericks and newer Macbook Pros.

This doesn't require use of the Fn key. It's similar to F3, but is instantaneous because it shows no animation.

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Command shift f3 works on my iMac. Discovered it by chance.

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What I did is setup Hot Corners in Desktop/Screen Saver preferences that shows the desktop when I bring my pointer into that corner.

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Here is how I make my Macs have a command+D to show-hide desktop:

Setup Karabiner via https://pqrs.org/osx/karabiner/index.html.en

Navigate to Karabiner preferences' "Misc & Uninstall" tab and select "Open private.xml" as described at https://pqrs.org/osx/karabiner/document.html.en#privatexml

Paste below code in private.xml and reload it in Karabiner preferences' first tab.

  <item>
    <name>Augy's Command+D show desktop</name>
    <appendix>Command+D to F11</appendix>
    <identifier>private.show_desktop</identifier>
    <autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::D, VK_COMMAND, KeyCode::F11</autogen>
  </item>

Enable the option "Augy's Command+D show desktop" and enjoy.

NB! You may also want to swap Command and Control keys. This can be done via System Preferences > Keyboard > Modifier Keys

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A related feature is to minimize all windows to dock COMMAND + OPTION + M, at least on 2014 MacBok Air.

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