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How can I hide all applications but the current one on Mac OS X (Snow Leopard), and restore them again?

Sometimes I want to concentrate on the application I'm working with currently, and make all other windows go away temporarily. I am looking for a functionality similar to "Aero Shake" on Windows 7. It should be fast and easy - a mouse gesture or simple key combination would be best.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

As far as I know, the system does not keep track of which apps were visible prior to the most recent “hide other apps” action.

You might find the third party apps Think or Isolator useful though (found them both via “6 Apps To Help You Focus & Be Productive [Mac]”).

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This looks very promising. Shame that Mac OS X does not seem to have anything built-in. – Tomalak Dec 10 '09 at 13:25
There is the Show All option under the Hide options. It of course unhides everything, but that is as close as you will get without so ething like Isolator. You can assign it a keyboard shortcut as well. – ridogi Dec 10 '09 at 16:24

There is a menu for that: "Hide All But The Active Application" (in the application menu) and a shortcut "Option+Apple+H".

Update: (from Studer comment), to restore all the hidden windows, just select "Show All" menu (in the application menu), but sadly there is not shortcut.

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And the opposite (restore everything as it was)? – Tomalak Dec 10 '09 at 12:39
Switching to a hidden application brings it out of hiding. – mipadi Dec 10 '09 at 13:06
I know. Still, I am thinking "restore everything to previous state", not "unhide one app manually". (That's why I asked for something like Aero Shake in the first place.) – Tomalak Dec 10 '09 at 13:22
Always from the Application menu, the last option but one is "Show All". After you've hidden all others applications running, you can "restore everything to previous state" like you said with this option. – Studer Dec 10 '09 at 18:12

You can make a keyboard shortcut for the "Show All" (or any) menu option by going to:

System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts > select "Application Shortcuts" > highlight "All Applications" > click "+" > type Show All in the "Menu Title:" field, and enter your keystrokes in the "Keyboard Shortcut:" field.

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As I said, I do not want to "show all", but to "restore previous state, whatever it was". "Show all" is even counter-productive, since it would also pop up windows that I hid manually before a hypothetical "hide all but the current window" operation. – Tomalak Feb 1 '10 at 11:07

My applications were hidden under my user account. You may try that if you have multiple users accounts on your Mac.

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