I can't find a shortcut that's working on my MacBook Air. In Windows you can either click the rightmost part of the task bar to show the desktop or hit Windows+D to show the desktop. How do I do this in El Capitan?

  • It would appear that your question has been answered, in the interest of keeping things running smoothly could you please pick one of our answers at correct :) – absenthecon May 20 '16 at 18:06

The default shortcut for showing the Desktop is:


Technically, the official name is ⌘Cmd-Mission Control but unless you know what "Mission Control" is, you would end up searching for that as well.

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Apple has a really good listing of all it's shortcuts - I keep this bookmarked for quick reference.

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One way is to set a Hot Corner to show the Desktop.

This is done via: System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver > Screen Saver > Hot Corners...

Then select Desktop in the pop-up list for the corner you'd like to show the Desktop when you move the mouse to that corner.


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Under Keyboard > Shortcuts in System Preferences, you'll see the Show Desktop shortcut within the Mission Control category. You can set it to whatever you want.

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If you don't really like the Cmd+F3 option (the apps hovering at the corners don't really feel like "I've reached my desktop" for me) and need the exact same Windows-style Windows+D feature, you can try this,

  1. Create a new desktop
  2. For the most frequently used applications on your dock, right-click on them, and select Options->Desktop 2.
  3. Go to System Preferences->Keyboard->Shortcuts->Mission Control and assign shortcuts for your main desktop and desktop 2.

Lo and behold, you have a shortcut to reach your desktop. This system works really well for me and helps me multi-task very well. It also has the added advantage of not minimizing any windows. All windows are a desktop away.

I also set my Finder app to launch in my main desktop as I use it to browse and open files, which open in other desktops.

Of course, this won't work for new apps unless you set the option for them too explicitly. But I feel the purpose behind the question was to improve your everyday workflow, which would only involve frequently-used applications. And this option will definitely help. (For me, I explicitly made Preview, Terminal, Chrome, Sublime Text and some 4-5 other apps to launch on the second desktop).

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