I use the Show Desktop feature quite often, but I find it a bit annoying that I always have to click on the blank space on the desktop before being able to control it with my keyboard (i.e. finding a folder by entering the first character and opening it with Cmd+O).

Is there a shortcut or some other keyboard-based way to select the Desktop/Finder?

I know that it is possible to switch between apps by Cmd+Tab but it will open a new Finder window instead of just selecting the Desktop, which is what I am looking for.

  • How are you differentiating "the Desktop" from "Finder" here? Selecting the desktop brings Finder to the front, but focus within that will be different depending on how you access it & what was last selected before you left Finder. I can't repro your "cmd+tab will open a new finder window" issue. That just doesn't happen for me, never has.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Oct 2, 2021 at 16:29
  • @Tetsujin selecting the desktop may bring the Finder process to the front, but not a Finder window. If I have no Finder Windows open, cmd-tab to Finder selects the desktop but doesn't reveal it. Perhaps the OP already has Finder windows open and has mistaken them for new Windows, which they are not. It sounds like the OP wants a keyboard shortcut that will both select and reveal the Desktop, and work regardless of any open Finder windows.
    – minseong
    Commented Oct 2, 2021 at 20:09

1 Answer 1


Use cmd⌘tab⇥ to select Finder. Or as I prefer (I find it faster), you can use spotlight to bring up Finder (just search for it and hit enter).

  • If you don't have any Finder windows open already, then the Desktop will be selected. It won't reveal itself (like F11 does), but entering the first character of an item on your Desktop and opening it with cmd⌘+O will work. Preview with Space also works (as would be expected, because, well, the Desktop is selected).

  • If you already have Finder windows open, they will be brought to the foreground and selected first. Then use cmd⌘` to cycle through Windows (of course you can close them with cmd⌘W if you don't need them anymore), until you can see that none of the foreground windows are selected. That means the desktop is now selected (but again, it won't reveal itself from behind any other windows that may be covering it, unlike the F11 shortcut does).

  • Thank you! However, in my case a finder window will always pop up when selecting finder; no matter if there was already one opened or not. Commented Oct 3, 2021 at 15:39
  • @ChrisEckert which OS are you using
    – minseong
    Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 12:19
  • I am using Big Sur 11.6. ...The closest thing I could find to what I was originally looking for is making a shortcut for switching between desktops. Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 22:32

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