graphic showing Stage Manager on a laptop

Tiny Tip — Easy Way to Bring in Windows to the Foreground with Stage Manager

Last December, my buddy Ron and I had a chat for the NosillaCast on why we both love Stage Manager on the Mac. In the last ten months, my love for Stage Manager has not dwindled a bit. Even with my devotion, there was one thing that still felt clumsy.

Let’s say I’m writing an email to someone and I want to add an attachment. With Mail in the foreground of Stage Manager, I can get to the Finder in two different ways. I can Command-Tab to it, or I can click on a Finder Window in the stacks on the left.

If there’s a stack with just a Finder window open, that window will pop into visibility and the Mail window will go into a stack. While I can drag the item from the Finder, now I don’t have the Mail app visible to drag it into. In order to get both apps visible at the same time, I have to have one app visible, and then click and drag the second one onscreen. That’s dandy if the Finder window is the only thing in a stack, or if it’s the top thing in a stack. But sometimes the Finder window is in a stack with another app, so I have to drag the first app into visibility, then drag Finder into visibility, and finally hide that second app again. It’s a glorious example of faffing about.

At this point, if you’re not already a fan of Stage Manager, I may have convinced you to never try it! But please bear with me on the tiny tip that solves this problem.

I was listening to the HomeKit Insider podcast from the fine folks at Apple Insider, hosted by Andrew Ohara and Stephen Robles, and I heard one of the gentlemen briefly mention a better way of moving windows around when using Stage Manager.

He said that you can hold down Shift-Command while clicking on an app in the stack, and that app will immediately join the current main window. It’s awesome. No more dragging in and out and Command-Tabbing around. I can’t believe how much more efficient Stage Manager is with this tiny trick.

I’ve been using the drag-and-drop problem to illustrate the value of this Shift-Command-Click trick for Stage Manager, but remember that there are a lot of times you just want to see two apps at the same time. It rocks for that too.

Sometimes you have more than one application open in a stack. Let’s use our Mail example, and you need a Finder window, but it’s in a stack with Safari and you can see it’s actually behind Safari. If you can get your cursor onto the edge of that hidden Finder window when you hit Shift-Command, just that Finder window will come forward. Sometimes it’s tricky to get just that window but most of the time it’s successful.

In September of this year, I explained how I use Yoink with Stage Manager. It solves the drag-and-drop problem and I’m still a fan, but it doesn’t solve the problem of bringing up a stacked application window, and it requires buying and installing a $9 app.

I’m gleefully happy about Shift-Command-Click in a stack to make my Stage Manager experience even happier.

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