When switching to an application (cmd+tab or clicking on an app icon), osx brings all of the application's windows to top.

I would like to trigger this behaviour for the active application with some shortcut, or most preferably triggered when clicking the dock icon of the active application. (Currently clicking on the dock icon of an active app switches to the next workspace that has a window of the app.)

Is there a way to bring to top all windows of the active application?

EDIT: Seems there's a Window -> Bring All to Front action that does this. Now I only need a way to trigger this action, preferably when the app icon in the dock is clicked.

Third party command solutions (e.g. some simple keyboard shortcut app to run the Bring All to Front action) are welcome, though I'd prefer a native way of doing this.

  • what about right click on the application and selecting show all windows?
    – Ruskes
    Sep 12, 2013 at 8:25
  • @Buscar웃 "Show all windows" does not bring them to top, but activates the expose view for all the windows of that application. Sep 12, 2013 at 8:37
  • Not sure what you want then. Is it to open all minimized or hidden windows at once (with one command or click) in full size view ?
    – Ruskes
    Sep 12, 2013 at 8:59
  • I want the effect that happens when you switch to an different application: All of the application's (non-minimized, same-workspace) windows are brought to top. The same that is in Window -> Bring All to Front. Sep 12, 2013 at 9:17
  • I don't think that feature exists, but if you feel like trying the Automator or Terminal script (or 3d party app like Witch) and maybe specifying that in your question would help clarifying.
    – Ruskes
    Sep 12, 2013 at 10:41

4 Answers 4


You can assign a keyboard shortcut to the "Bring All to Front" menu item from System Preferences:

Late note
This isn't there by default, you have to add it manually, the same as any other menu command…

enter image description here

The activate AppleScript command also raises all windows:

activate application (path to frontmost application as text)

If you are assigning keyboard shortcuts to opening applications, you can use scripts like this:

tell application "TextEdit"
end tell

reopen opens a new default window if there are no open "default" windows, like a text editor window in TextEdit. If all default windows are minimized, reopen unminimizes one of them.

It is also possible to use AppleScript to click the "Bring All to Front" menu item:

tell application "System Events" to tell (process 1 where frontmost is true)
    click menu item "Bring All to Front" of menu 1 of menu bar item "Window" of menu bar 1
end tell

Brining all of an app's windows to the front when clicking a single background window was a behavior of "classic" Mac OS:


In classic, when you click on a window that belongs to an application that’s not currently active, all the windows that belong to that application come to the front. In Mac OS X (and macOS), only the window that you click comes to the front.

My particular style of window management leans heavily on the classic behavior. I also appreciate the Mac OS X behavior in certain circumstances, so I was delighted to find apps that enable both behaviors, using Shift-click to override the default.

Sadly, macOS Catalina’s lack of support for 32-bit apps finally killed the last of the apps that implemented this feature. I was alone in a cold, barren world where I had to click on a Dock icon to switch to an app and bring all its windows to the front.

Siracusa released a 64-bit app, Front and Center, to bring the "classic" behavior to modern versions of macOS that dropped 32-bit support.


Front and Center lets you control the window layering policy on your Mac. In "Classic" mode, clicking on a window brings all the windows in that app to the front, just like it did in classic Mac OS. In "Modern" mode, only the clicked window comes to the front. In either mode, Shift-click on a window to get the opposite of the chosen behavior.


I use ⌘ Command~ to cycle windows of currently selected application.

MacOS Mojave.


In the interest of internet archaeology I provide this additional information:

Back in the OS X 10.4 "Tiger" days there used to be a PowerPC-only program called "Application Switcher Menu" (ASM) that was hosted at the now defunct http://www.vercruesse.de/software and had the ability to bring all windows of an application to the front when any individual window was brought forward. The source code for that application was eventually published by the creator, which allowed a free successor program to be created; multiXFinder. It too was PPC-only.

For Intel-based Macs, some currently available commercial choices include DragThing by James Thomson (that works up through OS X 10.12 Sierra at least) and SuperTab by SpriTec Software (untested by me but the homepage claims it's compatible through 10.13 High Sierra). Both of these products include a "bring all application windows to the front" feature that is tangential to their primary purposes.

  • 1
    Just to note: DragThing still works in Mojave, though is no longer supported or indeed available [unless you already own a licence]. Sad to see it go, I've been using it since v1.0 in possibly the mid 90s.
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 15, 2019 at 13:40

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