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Window shading

Window shading, to borrow from the KDE documentation:

Shade, on the other hand, causes the window to be reduced to simply the titlebar. Double clicking on the titlebar again, restores the window to its normal size.

On MacOS, it was reportedly first available as an extension, and included in MacOS 8, but then disappeared in MacOS X.

Usefulness of window shading

While users have commented on the usefulness of window shading, that has been mostly in the context of full windows.

My primary desire to have window shading is to use it with an OpenStreetMap editing application, JOSM. It can have floating image windows that I do not want to dock (not enough screen space), and want to see those windows every now and then. On KDE/Linux, I can doubleclick the titlebars to reduce those floating windows to the titlebar only, and then doubleclick them again to see the image.

Moving the windows around is a very poor substitute, it is very inefficient. While individual applications could implement hacks to imitate window shading, that is an excessive work on the application development side (which is not too likely happen with JOSM in particular).

Window shading in MacOS

As mentioned before, window shading was an internal part of MacOS, but got removed. While there have been some 3rd party applications, they suffer from functional problems as MacOS is updated or do not offer proper window shading experience.

With Apple notoriously ignoring user feedback, return of the native functionality seems not too likely.

Are there any good, free solutions for window shading in MacOS Mojave?

  • Use Spaces instead. WindowShade hasn't worked since the original OS X. See apple.stackexchange.com/questions/179376/… for some ideas. – Tetsujin Jul 7 at 12:37
  • I had checked "Spaces" before, and it seems to be multi-desktop thing that everybody who took a look at Linux said is too hard for "normal" users :) Unfortunately, it does not seem to solve the particular need. It might work for cases when one wants to use separate applications, but in this case I want to shade particular windows, in a particular place on the screen. When I un-shade them, often they should not cover the whole screen, only part of the application. Then I can use the rest of the application with the unshaded window at the top. – Richlv Jul 7 at 17:30
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Although you said free, there is a paid app that seems to offer a similar feature.

Deskovery claims to "Minimize your windows to their titlebars".

I haven't used it.

  • Indeed, Deskovery fails on the "free" front (it feels darn stupid to pay 20 EUR for something that was built-in the OS, and that has worked perfectly fine in Linux for a very long time). Additionally, the shading it offers does not play well with my usecase. Unshaded window is on top of the main application window, as expected. When shaded, the titlebar goes below the main window, defeating purpose for the shading. – Richlv Jul 7 at 17:48
  • rgbworld.com/windowmizer goes around for 8$ – LangLangC Jul 7 at 17:51
  • Indeed, so it still fails the "free" part. I also tested the trial version - it cannot shade the needed application window at all, only shading the whole application works. – Richlv Jul 9 at 7:15

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