So, I installed an application that runs in the menu bar in OS X Mavericks. When I open that application's window (from the menu bar), there seems to be no obvious or intuitive way to switch back to that window with the keyboard after I've moved focus away from it.

When I try Cmd + Tab, I see the list of running apps (Finder, Chrome). I thought that this window was possibly associated with Finder. However, when I switch to Finder (using Cmd + Tab) and then try to use Cmd + Backtick, the window never receives focus.

I don't think it matters what the application is; I'm betting that this problem would occur with any app that runs in the menu bar and opens a new window. I will confirm this as I continue to install apps. However if you think it matters, the app in this case is called "Spectacle" from spectacleapp.com.


The same exact issue happens when you open a window like "App Store Help" from the AppStore. The OS basically leaves a window that is orphaned from the Cmd + Tab list or any other keyboard centric way of setting focus.

2 Answers 2


Have you tried F3 or F9? One of those should get you in to Mission Control which will show you all your open windows grouped by application. This works for me with the window for Net Monitor.

If neither of them works, go in to System Preferences -> Mission Control to set up a key or hot corner.

  • Thank you. After I press F3 (actually, Fn+F3 for me), which keyboard action do I take in order to set focus on the window that I see there? Apr 25, 2014 at 22:25
  • 1
    I think you may have to resort to the mouse at that point.
    – user128131
    Apr 26, 2014 at 20:56
  • 1
    @wizlb See this question — there doesn't seem to be a way to switch windows in Mission Control with the keyboard.
    – grg
    May 1, 2014 at 15:33

Those windows do usually belong to some application, but the application is a UI element application that has no menu bar and is hidden from the Dock and the application switcher.

If you know what application a window is from, you can open the application with for example Spotlight or Alfred.

You can also select some of those windows with control-F4, which cycles through windows in the current space.

  • Could you try this in Mavericks? 1) Open App Store. 2) Click Help->App Store Help. 3) Quit App Store, but leave the Help window open. 4) Switch to some other applications (I had 2 others running). 5) Try to switch back to the Help window with just the keyboard. control+F4 did not get me there. May 1, 2014 at 14:54
  • Yeah, control-F4 doesn't include all windows. You can focus the help window by opening HelpViewer with for example Alfred though.
    – Lri
    May 2, 2014 at 13:05

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