I have a MBP with retina display and run OS X Mavericks.

My problem: imagine I have two applications open

  • a document viewer sized half-screen (filling the left side of the screen). Call this "Window A".
  • an editor with two windows: one is full-screen because it contains really long lines (Window B) and the other is half-screen (filling the right side of the screen) (Window C).

I want to read the document and take notes on it in the editor, but when I give focus to half-screen-sized editor window, the document reader is hidden behind the full-screen-sized editor window.

Is there a way to make the stacking order independent of the app?

That is, when Window A is focused, I can still see Window C. When Window C is focused, Window A is behind Window B. I want to be able to view Window A and C at the same time even in Window C is receiving keyboard input.

1 Answer 1


This might not suit your needs, but what about adding a new space and put your fullscreen window over there. It's very fast to switch the spaces using the multitouch abilities of your trackpad. I use this feature a lot when working on multiple documents.

  • Thanks, @Andy. I hadn't considered this. I'm pretty new to OS X and haven't used spaces at all. That seems like a pretty good work-around to me. I'd like to see if there are other options, but if I don't see any, I'll accept your answer as "the one" and move on. Thanks again. Nov 10, 2013 at 0:01
  • Another solution is using mission control in general just to put that window in front what you need (Mission Control is the new name of spaces since I think 10.7, just to clarify). If I remember that right it's accessed by a 3 finger swap upwards on the trackpad per default. Depending on what Apps you're using they might also have a fullscreen mode to enable in top right corner, which gives them an own desktop automatically). Otherwise you can make extra spaces/desktops in Mission Control by holding alt and adding them in the top right corner.
    – TooAToB
    Nov 10, 2013 at 0:59

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