I'm a longtime FVWM user over on the Linux side and have developed some keyboard + mouse shortcuts that I find very helpful in managing windows. Specifically:

  • left click + command + shift = send to back if frontmost, otherwise raise to front
  • right click + command + shift = maximize window vertically (horizontal size unchanged)
  • left+right chord + command + shift = grab window and move it
  • left+right chord + command + control + shift = resize (drag pointer to side or corner and move that to resize)

For all of these, "click" means click anywhere in the window.

Is there Mac software that will let me set this up? I'm on 10.6.


To clarify, the move/resize operations should begin on mouse-down and end on mouse-up.

  • I'm mostly looking for alternative to the default to gnome Alt + click-drag to move window (click anywhere in the window and drag).
    – bisko
    Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 22:21

9 Answers 9


Easy Move+Resize is a great little tool that does exactly what it says on the tin.


Easy Move+Resize is based on behavior found in many X11/Linux window managers

Cmd + Ctrl + Left Mouse anywhere inside a window, then drag to move
Cmd + Ctrl + Right Mouse anywhere inside a window, then drag to resize

This thing was a breath of fresh air after spending too much time trying to figure out how to get the latest version of BetterTouchTool to do what I wanted. It's also not dependent on SIMBL, which is nice.

My only complaint is that the key bindings are not configurable. I'd prefer to use ⌘ Cmd+⌥ Opt+⌃ Ctrl+Left Click for resizing, since clicking and dragging with two fingers on a trackpad is a bit awkward. But hey, it's open source, and as always, there's an issue for that.

  • Nice and simple for moving and resizing! For those who use the trackpad like me, for resizing you have to click with two fingers (to perform a right-click) then drag (you may drag only one finger while keeping the pressure with the other). I prefer the 3-fingers gesture to drag but it's not so annoying to click for resizing. Thanks! Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 12:16
  • Customized keybindings are now supported
    – abarry
    Commented Aug 17, 2022 at 19:19

Not entirely what you are looking for, but you can drag and resize the window without bring it to the foreground. Command-drag on the menu bar (or an empty space on the toolbar) to move the window and command-drag on the resize handle to resize it.

Command-clicking on window elements may allow you to use them while the window stays in the back, but that works inconsistently, iirc.


You want Zooom/2. Free trial available. It works by holding down a modifier key and simply move your mouse around (no click required!) and then what ever window your cursor is above will resize or move around depending on what key you press, which is customizable. It does more things as well.

I use JiTouch personally, but that requires a trackpad and to be honest, this specific feature on JiTouch takes a little practice to invoke the gesture required, which is unfortunately not customizable.

  • Thanks - Zooom does move/resize but not raise/lower or maximizing. I did submit a feature request.
    – Reid
    Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 18:07
  • It already does those things. For raising to front, check the settings. For maximizing, just double click while holding down your chosen modifier keys.
    – John
    Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 22:07
  • Double-clicking actually zooms instead of maximizing. Lowering isn't that useful IMO, hide can be used instead.
    – Lri
    Commented Mar 3, 2011 at 6:23
  • @Lri, that opinion is fine, but in my opinion lowering is incredibly useful - one of the most important of the above requirements.
    – Reid
    Commented Mar 7, 2011 at 21:14
  • having the same behavior on my Mac and my Linux box is the point, so doing it with modifier keys is important.
    – Reid
    Commented Mar 7, 2011 at 21:14

It's interesting that most OS X users don't easily recognize lower as being the specific feature that's being sought. If I have a window blocking most of the screen:

  • I don't want to disturb its position, so move is useless.
  • it's blocking several windows I want to see, so switching to the all-window view and picking one doesn't help much
  • I still want to see part of the window, so minimizing it isn't helpful.

I want to lower it to be behind the other windows. In Unix/Linux, I can just keep typing at the parts of it I can see while leaving it in the back. I just leave the interesting parts of windows visible and interact with all of them without destroying how they're arranged. So easy.

OS X allegedly doesn't even support writing code for pushing a window to the back. Nor typing and mousing at partially hidden windows without using modifiers. Nor is it even remotely decent at leaving my windows where I left them through sleep, being moved, etc. If i kill a window, OS X raises a random number of other windows of the same type, forcing effort to restore order (there may be a setting for this, I'm looking). If i open a window from a window on one screen, the new window will appear on a screen chosen apparently at random instead of on the one the initiator window was on (also might have a strong, not sure).

Overall, OS X window management is abysmal compared to the *mix world - highly frustrating after working with the real thing


I think echoing the question is helpful. I havent found a way to lower a window yet and like the original poster states various other things arent a good substitute. The desired behavior is something like option or command + (left, center, or right) mouse anywhere on the window (or instead on the title bar) and the window moves to the lowest (most behind) in the window stacking order, thereby exposing the next window. Pressing again pushes the next one to the back and so on- and with multiple (many) presses you rotate through the entire collection of windows on the screen- its exceptionally fast- say all 10 or 20 windows in in just a few seconds.. Unix window managers let you bind it (lower window is what its called) to most any key and mouse combination. Command left mouse would be a likely choice for many who use it (something you press all the time- thousands of times a day).

I have found that it appears it can be done in code NSWindowLevel (cocoa routines) but I have found no mention of it in any (macos) utility yet. Next I need to look into the different window managers. Switching window managers on a unix box is definitely doable- but some assemby is definitely required. I'm a bit uneasy about jamming in a new window manager here to see what happens. But perhaps its fine.


You can run FVWM as your window manager for X11 apps and have this behavior.

For OS X apps, you can move and resize them without the mouse, using just the keyboard, using 3rd party apps (link, link).

I'm not aware of any other techniques to raise or lower.


I have not used JiTouch but it claims to have a "move/resize" mode that is based on just the trackpad. If you have a desktop this will work with the external trackpad.

  • It does. I use it. But be warned the gesture is not customizable for this particular feature and the gesture they have chosen is kind of hit or miss. It takes a bit of practice to get the hang of it. Hopefully this will be optimized once they get out of beta.
    – John
    Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 22:10

Based on this video, you want to use BetterTouchTool.

  • Thanks - unfortunately BTT doesn't activate until mouse-up; I'm looking for mouse-down. I'll clarify the question.
    – Reid
    Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 16:56

I suggest you to try Afloat. In 10.9 it is working with finder if it is reloaded after afloat.

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