Do you file things on your Desktop? If you do then you probably find yourself frequently wanting to clear the screen so you can see the desktop.

Alternatively, you may want to quickly hide what you are working on (or not working on as the case may be). If that sounds like you then a quick way to hide what’s on your screen might sound attractive. We also show you how to hide the windows for a specific app.

Luckily you can clear the screen on your Mac quickly and easily so that you can get to the desktop with a number of different shortcuts, we’ll explain how below.

Shortcuts to view the Mac desktop

  1. Modern Macs use the following keyboard shortcut to reveal the desktop. Press Command–Mission Control (this is usually F3, you’ll see three small squares on the key).
  2. Older Macs may still have the F11 key assigned to Show Desktop, on newer Macs this key is usually assigned to the reduce volume control though.
  3. If your keyboard doesn’t already have a key assigned to Show Desktop, or you’d like to assign a different key, go to System Preferences > Mission Control, or press Alt/Option and the F3 key (which is the key for Mission Control). Here you can assign a key to Show Desktop. In our case we have assigned F13.
  4. You can also assign a mouse button (we assigned Mouse Button 3 which is the small button in the middle of our Dell mouse).

Read this article for more Mac keyboard shortcuts.

Use Hot Corners to quickly reveal the desktop

You can also assign a Hot Corner so that if you drag your curser to the corner of the screen it will clear open windows from your Desktop so you can see it.

  1. From Mission Control Preferences click on the Hot Corners button.
  2. Here you can choose what will happen when you drag your mouse to a particular corner.
  3. Choose the corner most appropriate and click on the drop down box to assign the required action. For example, dragging your mouse to your top left corner could trigger Show Desktop.

Tip: If you have multiple screens avoid assigning the corners where the two screens connect or every time you try to move to the second screen you will trigger a Hot Corner.

How to hide only the windows for one application

If you want to hide only the windows for one app it is possible.

  1. Select a window for the app in question
  2. Press Command-H and all the windows relating to that app will disappear
  3. To get the windows relating to that app back on the screen you will need to click its icon in the Dock

We explain how to see all open windows on Mac at once here and we also have this tutorial on using Full Screen mode