Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm running OS X Lion on a MacBook Air 11", and when I unplug my secondary display, some windows (e.g., Finder) are overflowing at the edge of the screen.
This usually happens on the right-hand side of the [work]space, so I have access to their title bar to drag them back.

But this time, the MS Word 2011 window is overflowing out of visible workspace range in a way that makes it unreachable: it's like having a big negative offset on the vertical axis.

  1. I can see the window in Exposé, tried moving it to another [work]space (and back), but the window position stays the same.
  2. The three finger drag is enabled, but I cannot reach the window's title bar.

Researching through other questions, I saw that Afloat counts among it's features the ability to

Move windows from anywhere, not just the title bar.

just like other window management apps.

But I'm primarily interested if there's any built-in solution within OS X Lion for this specific issue.

Is there a key combination to move a window from any active area?

Or how can this be solved w/o re-attaching the secondary display?

share|improve this question
Can you go to System Prefs>Display> and "Gather Windows"? – daviesgeek Dec 29 '11 at 20:59
I'm also a fan of Moom for your window-management needs (such as this one), but I realize that doesn't answer the question. :) – Dan J Dec 29 '11 at 21:09
@daviesgeek I could not find the Gather Windows button. Searching, I figured why: it exist only when your MacBook has a monitor plugged in. – Marius Butuc Jan 5 '12 at 22:50
Oh...that's right...too bad...I can't think of anything else. – daviesgeek Jan 5 '12 at 23:53
Gather Windows only applies to the System Preferences windows you have open. – ELLIOTTCABLE Feb 1 '15 at 18:08
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I was puzzled and annoyed by this problem too in Mac Snow Leopard. The application (MS Word) has a solution. Open file that is not visible. Go to menu Window-->Zoom Window, which then brings that file up front and center.

share|improve this answer

I have the same problem when using some--not all--external monitors with my 2011 Macbook Pro running Snow Leopard. The only "solution" I've found is the following:

  1. Select the file that's off screen (from the Window menu in Word), so that the focus is on that file.
  2. Press cmd+S to make sure the file is saved.
  3. Press cmd+W to close the file.
  4. Reopen the file.

The file reopens on my laptop screen and all is well again. It's not pretty, but it gets your file back where it belongs reasonably quickly.

share|improve this answer
It works for me, thank you! – Marius Butuc Mar 8 '12 at 14:42

I experienced the same challenge:

  1. An external monitor
  2. The external monitor is the desktop
  3. MS Word
  4. Only the bottom 1/2 inch of Word was exposed


  1. Unplug the monitor
  2. Word was properly positioned on the laptop screen
  3. Move Word slightly
  4. Plug the monitor back in
  5. Problem solved
share|improve this answer

The easiest solution is to change the resolution of the screen, because this resets all window positions.

share|improve this answer

Windows can also be moved by dragging them from the edges. For example dragging a window horizontally from the bottom edge usually moves it.

You could also try selecting the Zoom action from the Window menu.

share|improve this answer
> window is overflowing out of visible workspace range in a way that makes it unreachable – Marius Butuc Aug 8 '12 at 16:22
It's pretty rare that a window would be bigger than the screen so that all edges would be outside it. Window > Zoom might work in even that case. – user495470 Aug 8 '12 at 16:48

None of these worked, then I read about a trick to delete the plist file. That deleted everything including my registration for the app I was trying to gather the main window, which was open, when I last closed it.

Then I tried the following and succeeded: I changed the key MainWindowFrame to below my screen resolution, in my case:




That finally did the trick!!!

share|improve this answer

I found a workaround. Spotlight --> Displays --> Scaled --> "More Space". I was able to move the application and then restored to my original display.

share|improve this answer

I had the same problem and literally, just, clicked two times in the icon for the app/program I wanted to use and it brought it right to the center of my screen.

share|improve this answer

The solution I found is Window → Arrange all.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.