How to merge all windows on your Mac with one keystroke

I’ve got a secret to confess: the more I use my Macbook Air the more I freggin’ love it.

One of the newest features in Mac OS X Mavericks and Yosemite is something called Merge All Windows.  It does exactly what you would expect it to.  You can instantly merge all your open windows with a single click.  I’m going to show you how to pull this off but there’s an even smarter way using custom shortcuts.

Anyone with the supposition that Macs lack features should reframe their opinions.  The next time your surly PC lover bashes OS X for having a dearth of features, hurl this one at him because currently there is nothing tantamount to it in Windows 8.1 or Windows 10.

Chizzeck it out.

Let’s say you’ve been working like a dog all night.  Your pupils a dilated.  Your frontal cortex is aching.  And your stomach is eating itself because you skipped lunch and dinner to bang out a report for your boss.

Your boss tells you he needs the document before midnight and you stepped up to the challenge with alacrity.

  • Your fingers are tapping faster than Fred Astair’s feet.
  • Your mind is solving problems faster than Richard Feynman
  • and you’ve got more adrenaline surging through your body than you can handle

You are kicking butt.

You’ve been using Google like a champ and are well ahead of your goals.

No one is more industrious than you and you’re convinced when you finish this project, a promotion will be warranted. Everything is good… except for one little thing:

Your amiable disposition just eroded because all the Finder windows on your screen became a ponderous mess.

Mac OS X multiple Finder windowsSo what are you going to do?

Instead of pressing Command + Tab to sift through the stack or manually clicking each window, you can select any Finder window, click the menu item of the same name and choose Merge All Windows.

This works great but it’s a bit nettlesome to click the Window menu every time you want to merge them all.  That’s why I’m going to show you how to create a Merge All Windows shortcut so you can instantly consolidate your messy screen into one tidy tabbed Finder window.

Mac OS X Merge All WindowsThe screenshot above shows that I’ve assigned Command + m to the Merge All Windows action.  You can set it to whatever you want but I think Command + m makes the most sense for a merge.

By the way,iIf you accidentally assign an existing keyboard shortcut to your Merge All Windows action, Yosemite just brazenly steals the shortcut from its original owner.

Here’s how to setup the Merge All Windows shortcut:

Press Command + Space and type keyboard to open the Keyboard settings in your System Preferences.

Mac OS X with Spotlight and the Keyboard app

Hit up the Shortcuts tab and choose App Shortcuts from the left pane.

Click the little plus sign ( + ) in the right pane to create the shortcut.  Mac OS X App Shortcuts

Now we get to name our shortcut and assign the ninja keystrokes for banging together all your Finder windows.

From the Application dropdown box scroll down and select Finder.

Then in the Menu Title box name it “Merge All Windows”.  Click in the Keyboard Shortcut box and press the keys you want to use for your shortcut.

When you’re done with that click Add.

Mac OS X merge all windows shortcutNow whenever you press Command + m in a Finder window, you can turn this crap…

Mac OS X messy screen

into this beauty in less than a second.

Notice all the cute tabs running along the top of the window.  Microsoft Windows can only dream of doing that.

Mac OS X merged windows

So tabbed browsing comes to the Finder.  It looks like your web browser isn’t the only one getting all the attention these days.  I wonder if Microsoft will consider adding something like this to File Explorer?

The Mac is back and isn’t just for Starbucks sipping sybarites who use Adobe Photoshop and Coda to create web pages.  Nope, it’s back and read for use by the masses – including ordinary people just like you.  You don’t need to drive a Volkswagen Beetle to love your Mac.

So don’t let your tendentious tech friends beat up our Mac with stupid jokes.  For example, the next time they lampoon your Mac like this…

What’s the best way to accelerate a Mac? Answer : 9.81 m/s2

You can quip:

What’s the difference between a virus and Windows? Viruses rarely fail

haha then you can tease him about not having a Merge All File Explorer windows on his Windows 8.1 box and watch him frown.

Yeah, take that!

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Posted in Apple, Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite Tagged with: ,
  • Bok

    Maybe I’m missing something. Doesn’t the Windows taskbar handle all that?

    • Hey Bok, sort of. In Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 related windows are grouped in a single taskbar button. In this sense, it’s similar to the “Merge All Windows” function in Mac OS X Mavericks; however, I still haven’t found a way to consolidate all open File Explorer windows into clickable tabs.

  • lingtalfi

    Thanks a lot, great time saver here

  • Thanks for sharing this.
    The CMD+M rocks!