In applications that open a lot of windows, the most common thing I do with a window (aside from scrolling it) is closing one window. The little red dot in the upper-left corner of a window is the obvious way to close it, but that little dot requires careful (aka slower) mousing to hit it, especially when compared to a browser tab, dock icon, or other frequently-clicked areas that are much larger.

Can I make the little red "window close" button larger? If not, is there some other mouse-only way to close a window that is easier to target with a fast mouse?

I know I can switch over to the keyboard and use ⌘ Command W to close the window, but I'm a lefty mouse user so I'd have to move my hand off the mouse to hit this key combo, and then move my hand back to the mouse again to continue working. Given that this mouse->close window->mouse sequence is an action I do 100+ times per day, I was hoping to have a faster way to do it.

I'm currently using an old USB mouse with a wheel and two buttons.

  • I've never heard of a way to do what you want. I won't put this in the Answer just in case someone knows of a way, but I did some searching and can't find anything.
    – fsb
    May 9, 2016 at 19:28
  • 1
    Justin Grant, what type of mouse do you have? (Probably should have included it in your question.) May 9, 2016 at 19:44
  • @user3439894 And that's why I didn't do it :-)
    – fsb
    May 9, 2016 at 19:48
  • @user3439894 - I'm currently using a generic wheel mouse. Edited question accordingly. May 9, 2016 at 20:19
  • I'm a lefty too. Right little finger to the right CMD key, right index finger to the W key on an Apple keyboard without moving the left hand from my Bluetooth Trackpad.
    – user90735
    May 9, 2016 at 23:11

6 Answers 6


If you are using Magic Mouse - there's BetterTouchTool where you can set custom gestures. For example you can assign +w to three fingers click globally. Here's how this looks like:

enter image description here

You can also assign actions to "Normal Mice" if it has additional keys.


You didn't mention what mouse you used, but for me, I use the Logitech MX anywhere mouse and have programmed the buttons to issue keystrokes specific to the way that I work.

enter image description here

  • Zoom is Q for Quit
  • The bottom button isF3 Mission Control
  • The back button is W for Close
  • The forward button is I for Get Info

This is all built into the Logitech software and you can customize pretty much every button to your specifications.

MX Master

The new MX Master mouse also has this capability, but I wouldn't get it just yet - the Bluetooth has some issues to be solved.

You mentioned that you were left handed...the MX Anywhere 2 is an ambidextrous mouse with additional buttons - that should work well in this scenario; just with 2 fewer buttons.

MX Anywhere 2


There's always changing the default keyboard shortcut available as an option. Instead of using ⌘ Command+W, you can change these default settings to something on the right-hand side of your keyboard (i.e. ⌘ Command+', provided nothing is using this existing keyboard shortcut) to avoid moving your left hand off the mouse.

To do so, navigate to the Shortcuts tab in System Preferences > Keyboard. Here, you will see something that looks like this (may differ slightly): Main Keyboard Shortcuts Tab Click on the App Shortcuts section, and under "All Applications", add a new shortcut called "Close" with your choice keyboard shortcut. I used ⌘ Command+' as an example. Add a shortcut And that's all there is to it. Now, in (almost) every application, you can close with your new keyboard shortcut.

NB: It's best to look through your applications' own menu items to see which menu title closes the window as these may differ slightly from application to application. You'll need to enter the exact menu title you wish to trigger into your shortcut. Replace "Close" with your applications' own menu title and it should work as such.


In most applications, there is a "close window" menu option. The menu title will be wider than the stoplight control, and you can push the mouse all the way to the top of the screen, so it is as if the target has infinite height. This can make it faster to hit the menu than the small close window control.

In most applications, if you hold option while clicking the red stop light or while selecting the menu command, all the open windows will be closed.

  • Yep, I've tried that but closing with the menu takes even longer, because it's not a single-click operation: first you need to move the mouse up to the menu, then choose the right top-level menu, then choose the close-window option. Clicking the little red dot is faster. May 9, 2016 at 20:16

The answer is very simple and works with any mouse. Click the red close button of one of the windows while holding the option key. All windows from that application will close. If you have a multi-button mouse, you can set one button or combination to be option-click.

  • The question is about closing one window, not closing all of them. May 11, 2016 at 3:54

For the most control, I would suggest Karabiner.

Below are some configurations. They should be doable, even if the mouse doesn't have any extra buttons.

Idea 1:

Change mouse middle button (AKA 3rd button or scroll wheel button) to Cmd+W

<!-- Middle mouse button = Command + W -->
  PointingButton::MIDDLE, KeyCode::W, ModifierFlag::COMMAND_L

Idea 2:

Change simultaneous press of Left and Right mouse buttons to Cmd+W

<!-- Left + Right mouse button simultaneous press = Command + W -->
  PointingButton::LEFT, PointingButton::RIGHT,
  KeyCode::W, ModifierFlag::COMMAND_L

Idea 3:

Change Command + Scrollwheel Up to Cmd+W. Obviously you could use any modifier key.

<!-- Command + Scrollwheel UP = Command + W -->
  KeyCode::W, ModifierFlag::COMMAND_L

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