Show Desktop brings the only good PC feature to Mac OS X

Show Desktop is a small OS X application that will hide all applications and shows the desktop when clicked. It can run in the menu bar or the dock depending on your preference. Furthermore, shift-clicking on the icon will show all applications for quick access. Show Desktop can also be configured with an exclusion list for more precise user control.

You can configure Show Desktop to work exactly the way you want it to, toggle the visibility of any application from the Dock menu, and Show Desktop can be displayed in the Dock or the menu bar (Show Desktop is on the left).

Key Features Include:

Show Desktop hides all applications and minimizes Finder windows for an unobstructed view of your desktop.

Show Desktop has an exclusion list so if you don’t want your favorite applications hidden, just add it to the list.

You want this app – it’s a timesaver. More info and download link here.


  1. I disagree. The whole idea of OS X is to get away from the old desktop metaphor. The way that the system is set up now, there is no reason that you should ever need to even see your desktop. All files and applications are available through the finder.

  2. All files have always been available via Finder. Desktop still works for some users.

    But, OS X has this little app’s main feature — cmd-option click on Finder in Dock brings up desktop & hides all other running apps. Cmd-option click on any app in dock brings that app up and hides all others – built in.

  3. NOt tru that it’s the only good feature. I use Win2KPro at work and something I like is the resize handles on all edges of the windows. I’d like this feature (or at least have it in all corners) in OS-X.

  4. rebg, thanks for pointing out the cmd-option click trick. I disagree with Nelson Reilley – in fact I use the desktop all the time, and find it a great productivity enhancer. I usually switch to the finder and hit cmd-option-H to hide others, but the mouse trick is better.

  5. WTF? This finally brings this feature to the Mac?

    Who’s smoking what? THC affects your memory, guys. Lay off the weed.

    Drop this into Script Editor and put it in your Scripts folder.

    on run
    tell application “Finder”
    set visible of every process whose name is not “Finder” to false
    set collapsed of every window to “true”
    end tell
    end run

    Use that script with Apple’s ScriptMenu menu bar addition, modified to also fit your needs, and you can do much more than this “exclusive Windows feature”. Also: No extra system overhead with third-party stuffs involved. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />


  6. Here’s a tip that will make the contents of the desktop available at all times, no matter how many apps are open. Go to your user folder, drag the desktop folder to the dock. Now when you want to get to any file on the desktop, it’s as close as the dock!

  7. Desktop shmeshtop. The desktop is no place to store ANYTHING. Come on guys, those days are over. Nelson Reilly’s got it right. Although maybe he meant the finder through the dock, not just the finder. Somebody high up must agree or else the little check boxes to opt out on displaying the hard drive etc. on the desktop wouldn’t be there.

  8. You can achieve the same results with two mouse clicks without installing any software:

    – cmd-option-click on the Finder in the Dock (or hold down command and option while switching to the Finder if it is in the background) — this hides all applications except the Finder. (The same modifier works when switching to any application, essentially doing the equivalent of “Hide Others” from the application menu.)

    – option-click in the “minimize” box of any Finder window — this minimizes all open Finder windows. (The same modifier works to minimize or close all of a particular application’s windows.)

  9. Actually there were a few PC features provided by Mac OSX that I was glad to see. Right button clicking is a very handy option. Why Apple doesn’t release two button mice with a scroll bar is beyond my comprehension. They should have been providing that before the release of OSX, explaining that will be useful for the upcoming OS. Then again, many business decisions made by Apple don’t always make sense.
    And it was nice for Uncle Steve to give is a native screensaver. Especally now I can create my own slide shows. Although I still miss Alias/Wavefronts screensaver created on Maya. Nothing is as psychadelic as that.
    The initial problem with OSX was that it was difficult to manage application access. No more Launcher, and the dock is too small and limited to be of any use. Best to have it display active applications and documents and not much else. I wish the Cmnd-Tab toggle feature would work with active Documents. Maybe have Cmnt-Tab be for switching between Apps, and have Opt-Tab be able to switch between Docs. Some very cheap, decent third part extensions have been written. Right now I am using LaunchBar which does for my Macs what I wish someone would do for my room/finances/life. Allow me to not have to organize or clean anything, just Cmnd-Spacebar and a bar drops down from the upper right hand corner, type in the first few letters or the application, website, folder you want to open, hit return and then it’s open. Pretty cool in my book. I can be purchased with some other apps in a suite called. Ten for X(10). Another Windows / OS9 feature included in this pack is called WindowShade X. Without it, when you double click on the upper part of a window or click Cmnd H, it automatically sends the app/doc to the Dock. Installed it allows you to either do that, “roll up” that window (remember that feature?) or even render that window partially or fully transparent. Lots of nifty stuff.

  10. Meh.

    I’m over WindowShade. I want screen real estate, not little title bars all over the frickin’ place. Even “minimize in place” is better than WindowShade. Why? How wide is your average window? 400 pixels? 600 pixels? 800? Okay, you’d rather have 22x($WINDOW_WIDTH) wastes of space scattered all over the place? Me, personally, I’d rather have little icons in one consolidated place (made even easier by icon badges–WindowShade won’t tell you what window belongs to what app) than all that waste of screen space brought on by WindowShade.

    Not only that, but I don’t need to install “haxies” (come on, dammit, they’re hacks, admit it) into my system. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    Yay Dock, boo WindowShade.


Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.