Is there a way I can change the current menubar to an active application while on another desktop ?

Example :

  • Safari running on desktop 1
  • While on desktop 2, activate safari so that the menubar changes from "Finder" to "Safari" WITHOUT switching back to desktop 1

Is there an automator code that can help achieve this too ?

2 Answers 2


In System Preferences select > Mission Control, then un-check "When switching to an application, switch to a space with the open windows for the application".

Use + tab to the switch to an application on another desktop.

You'll notice the menu bar will show up for that application on the current desktop.

Mission Control Preferences

The default key combination to switch between desktops is Control + or .

You can customize the behavior in which desktops are activated via System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts.

Keyboard Shortcut Preferences

  • Perfect, that solves what I want. BUT what if I want to actually retain the previous setting .. Is there a way I can keep this as default, while switching to the space the application is active in using the same Alt+Tab shortcut ?
    – Render
    Commented Nov 19, 2012 at 1:46
  • Sure — see the information/screen capture.
    – l'L'l
    Commented Nov 19, 2012 at 8:08
  • Oh I meant the same default Alt + Tab feature, where you can switch to the space with the active application using Alt + Tab .. because now it just changes the menubar to active application without switching to it. So I meant is there a way I can switch to the application instead of just changing the menubar ?? Like Alt + Tab + Q closes an application, is there another shortcut to force switch to it ?
    – Render
    Commented Nov 19, 2012 at 12:44
  • Alt + Tab? I use Command + Tab to switch only to the menubar as your original question asked. To switch to another application on another Desktop I use Control + Arrow keys (up, down, left, right). If you go into the keyboard shortcuts you can map whatever keys however you want — it's entirely up to you.
    – l'L'l
    Commented Nov 19, 2012 at 15:46
  • Yes I meant command+tab. Yeah the answer is just what I needed to switch to the menubar. But what I mean is, can I still switch to the space of the active application using command+tab+something rather than use Ctrl + arrow keys to switch spaces ?
    – Render
    Commented Nov 19, 2012 at 16:27

Alt-tabbing or clicking (not double-clicking! important!) the icon should give your application focus but not bring any existing windows to the current desktop. Then you can do "New Window" or what ever it is you want from the menubar.


  • When I alt-tab, the focus moves to the desktop where the application is active !!
    – Render
    Commented Nov 18, 2012 at 13:54

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