Many applications (e.g. Xcode, Pixelmator) can launch OS X's standard color picker tool window (seen below) and others (e.g. the font picker). These tool windows look almost like regular windows, but they have a shorter title bar and the three gumpdrop buttons at left are slightly smaller too.

Colors tool window

What I'd like to know is: How can I close such a tool window, using only the keyboard?

I've tried Cmd+W but it doesn't work for this kind of window. Rather, Cmd+W seems to cause the parent window to want to close instead. What am I missing?

  • 1
    Have you tried the Esc key? That works for some "internal" application windows.
    – ckpepper02
    Dec 5, 2013 at 21:28
  • I did try and Esc doesn't work. Dec 6, 2013 at 14:01
  • 1
    What is the official name of these windows? They are not standard windows, their title bar is smaller, they don't respond to the same shortcuts, you can't toggle them with CMD+', not much you can do with them... what are their official name (so I can google them around)? In my case Ableton Live (music making app) opens up a plugin (virtual synthesizer) in one such window... and even doesn't focus it, it's open but the focus is on the main window. Can't find a way to toggle focus to it via keyboard and that kind of slows me down.
    – Martin
    Mar 14, 2016 at 21:40

3 Answers 3


Often for these kind of 'popup'/'helper' windows, the keyboard setup to hide them is the same than to show them.

I tested it in xcode for which the shortcut is : ctrl+shift+cmd+C
It's comportement is as i expected it, it work as a toggle 'on/off' window/shortcut.

EDIT: Forgot to add one thing, you can find that shortcut easily through the help menu of each app, i usually find myself taping 'show color' to actually see the shortcut and open the panel

  • That works in Xcode, but not in Pixelmator. Seems to confirm that it varies from app to app. But, +1 for using the "Help" menu to find it! Dec 6, 2013 at 14:07

Check the menus of these apps they may display the keyboard shortcut. god knows I've neglected that enough times ;-)

If I recall the color picker is SHIFT-COMMAND-C to both open and close it. But that may vary from app to app.

  • In Xcode, Shift-Command-C accesses the View...Debug Area...Activate Console menu item. In what app did Shift-Command-C work for you? Actually, this does appear to work in Pixelmator for me. +1 for "may vary from app to app". Dec 6, 2013 at 14:03
  • Yet, part of me still wants to believe there is a generic way to close a tool window from the keyboard. Dec 6, 2013 at 14:08

Once the parent app is focused, you can switch focus to the panel and close it as a window.

  1. Move the focus to the previous panel F6, then
  2. Close Window W

By default, you'll need to use FnF6 to type F6 on Apple keyboards instead of its corresponding media key, making the full key sequence FnF6+W.

Source: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204434

  • 1
    Bingo! This is THE answer! Note that the shortcut on your machine may be different. Here's how to find it. If that shortcut isn't defined, click the empty shortcut field to set one. And once focus is moved to the color picker, you can also Esc to close it. This is really awesome because it works on other floating windows too, e.g. the special symbol/emoji picker. 🙏 Apr 15 at 23:07

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