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? – Buscar웃 Sep 12 '13 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. – Ilari Kajaste Sep 12 '13 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 ? – Buscar웃 Sep 12 '13 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. – Ilari Kajaste Sep 12 '13 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. – Buscar웃 Sep 12 '13 at 10:41
up vote 7 down vote accepted

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

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"
    reopen
    activate
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

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.

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