In Snow Leopard, when you Expose, you can navigate to each window by using the keyboard arrow keys. With Lion, this is not possible anymore. Does anyone know how to make the arrow keys work in Mission Control?


4 Answers 4


Here is a list of Mission Control related keyboard actions that I've discovered through both the docs and trial and error.

There seem to be two main modes that you can launch into and each mode has it's own set of key bindings:

  1. Normal/Desktops Mode - Control-Up - this mode shows your apps for the current desktop and a row of available desktops across the top.
  • Go to Left Desktop - Control-
  • Go to Right Desktop - Control-
  • Toggle preview of highlighted application window - spacebar
  • Switch to application windows mode - `
  1. Application Windows Mode - Control+Down - this mode shows you a tiled view of all of the application windows (across all desktops) for a single application.
  • Navigate through tiled application windows - , , ,
  • Select highlighted application window - return
  • Toggle preview of selected application window - spacebar
  • Cycle forward through applications - `
  • Cycle backward through applications - tab
  • 7
    None of these seem to work in Mavericks. Once i'm in either Desktops or Applications mode, no keyboard interaction seems to work other than exiting from the mode Sep 19, 2014 at 16:52
  • 2
    They don't seem to work in El Capitan, either.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Aug 27, 2016 at 19:38

You'll want to go to: System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Keyboard Shortcuts -> Mission Control

There you will see commands you can bind keyboard shortcuts to.

  • 10
    Yeah, thanks for the tip. Too bad though Mission Control preferences doesn't seem to support navigating between applications at all -- only workspaces. =(
    – sivabudh
    Jul 21, 2011 at 20:44

I have found that in Mission Control I can use Command-` to switch between open applications, although -Command-` does not seem to do anything. Also note that pressing return after the correct window is displayed does not exit Mission Control with that application focused; it seems that you must press escape.

You can also navigate between workspaces in mission control by pressing Command-Control and either or . Once again, I find it necessary to press Esc to leave mission control with that workspace focused.

If some of these keyboard short cuts do not work for you then you can check in the Keyboard Shortcuts section of the keyboard system preferences.

  • I wasn't able to navigate between workspaces by pressing Command-Control <- or ->. I found that Control + 1, Control + 2, etc. would get me to the workspace that I want.
    – sivabudh
    Jul 21, 2011 at 20:40
  • 2
    Navigate between workspaces for me is Control <- and Control ->
    – sivabudh
    Jul 21, 2011 at 20:43
  • 7
    Command-` to switch between open applications in mission control is unfortunately not working for me. Got some idea?
    – bjunix
    Jun 27, 2012 at 13:09

In the Control Panel, select Keyboard Preferences⇨Mission Control, then you can bring back the keyboard commands for switching to a particular space—I’ve always worked with four spaces, and now Control 3 brings me to space 3, Control 4 to space 4, etc.

(I do miss having the current space displayed in the menu-bar, my next quest is to find this…)

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