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10.6: Change how Exposé windows are sorted System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintThis little hint is hidden away in a video tip (Exposé Basics) on Apple's Exposé page, but strangely, isn't covered in the built-in Exposé help.

While in Exposé's All Windows mode (F3 or F9), pressing Command-1 will sort the windows alphabetically based on window name; pressing Command-2 will sort them by application name. Doing the same in Exposé's Application Windows mode will sort the windows alphabetically (obviously, sorting by application won't work in this mode).

[robg adds: Command-1 works as described in the video, but I'm uncertain as to how things are being arranged with Command-2 -- it doesn't seem to be alphabetical by program name on my Mac. I pressed Command-2, and wound up with this sort order (going left-to-right, three apps per row): Path Finder, Preview, Activity Monitor, Firefox, Terminal, System Preferences. I couldn't reconcile this order to either the order of the apps in the Dock, nor their order in the Command-Tab switcher. Anyone have any insight into the Command-2 sort order, or is my machine just behaving oddly?]
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10.6: Change how Exposé windows are sorted | 18 comments | Create New Account
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10.6: Change how Exposé windows are sorted
Authored by: sorahn on Oct 22, '09 08:05:20AM

Cmd + 2 appears to just group by application, but there's no discernible sorting for the applications.

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--Carpe Noctem--



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10.6: Change how Exposé windows are sorted
Authored by: robg on Oct 22, '09 08:14:35AM

Ah, you're right -- so it's not sorting windows by application, it's *grouping* windows by application, but then sorting the overall layout by some unknown criteria.

Thanks for figuring that out.

-rob.



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10.6: Change how Exposé windows are sorted
Authored by: arch_bishop on Oct 22, '09 08:17:15AM

Looks to me like, it's grouping by application. Then sorting those applications by PID.



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10.6: Change how Exposé windows are sorted
Authored by: sorahn on Oct 22, '09 08:26:39AM

It's not PID... I opened a bunch of apps (just in order down my dock) Checked the PIDs in activity monitor, and then tried it, and they were in a different order. And actually, Activity Monitor moved to the front of the CMD + 2 list when i did that.

---
--Carpe Noctem--



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10.6: Change how Exposé windows are sorted
Authored by: Superboy on Oct 22, '09 08:19:26AM

Slightly off-topic, but the OS X Hints RSS feed doesn't seem to be showing the é in Exposé properly, it just shows up as a diamond with a ? in. That's on 10.6.1 and Safari 4.0.3. I think it may be something to do with the Geeklog upgrade? :)



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10.6: Change how Exposé windows are sorted
Authored by: robg on Oct 22, '09 08:25:19AM

Yes, there's an issue with the feed and accented characters. Not sure when it'll be resolved, but it's on the list.

On a related subject, if anyone's a wizard with PHP, MySQL, character sets, and RSS feeds, I'd love to talk to you for a bit :).

-rob.



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10.6: Change how Exposé windows are sorted
Authored by: aariq on Oct 22, '09 08:19:26AM

Maybe command-2 is the order in which they were launched? That seems to be it for me, but maybe it's just a coincidence.



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10.6: Change how Exposé windows are sorted
Authored by: adaniel87 on Oct 22, '09 09:02:12AM

Here's my guess for Cmd+2: it seems to sort based on Apple software first, then third-party. For me, when I have Safari, Finder, Terminal, and Adium running, Cmd+2 puts them in the order of Finder, Safari, Terminal, then Adium.



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10.6: Change how Exposé windows are sorted
Authored by: adaniel87 on Oct 22, '09 09:04:04AM

Strike that - just found a combination of apps that broke that. I'm starting to get really curious about the algorithm this is using...



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10.6: Change how Exposé windows are sorted
Authored by: naderk on Oct 22, '09 09:59:09AM

if it goes by the same rules as the finder, then cmd-2 sorts the windows by "date", in this case by launch order — methinks…. needs further testing, which involves rebooting etc (no time for _that_ much osxhints dedication right now)



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10.6: Change how Exposé windows are sorted
Authored by: lihtox on Oct 22, '09 11:24:52AM

Maybe it just sorts the applications in such a way that the windows will fit properly on the screen, using some sort of packing algorithm? I never noticed any particular order to the usual Exposé display either.



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10.6: Change how Exposé windows are sorted
Authored by: asmeurer on Oct 22, '09 12:23:59PM

Nice hint. There doesn't seem to be a way to go back to the original ordering, though, except to re-activate Exposé.

As for the order of the applications, it must have something to do with PID or the order that it was opened in, because if you open an application and do it, then close and reopen it, it will go in a different place.



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10.6: Change how Exposé windows are sorted
Authored by: ethan4 on Oct 22, '09 06:33:44PM

Was trying out this hint and found something worth adding, hit (comand + `).

I like this!



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10.6: Change how Exposé windows are sorted
Authored by: everydaveb on Oct 22, '09 07:01:44PM

Neat. Repeated use of command and ` cycles through the open apps' windows.



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10.6: Change how Exposé windows are sorted
Authored by: adaniel87 on Oct 22, '09 07:13:20PM

Yeah, that's an awesome find! I think that's actually cooler than the sorting that using Cmd+1 or 2. It's like a really high-tech app switcher or something. Way cool and super useful, in my opinion.



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10.6: Change how Exposé windows are sorted
Authored by: theilgaard on Oct 23, '09 12:21:03AM

This must be the same as hitting the tab-key. That could be done in 10.5 as well.



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10.6: Change how Exposé windows are sorted
Authored by: sorahn on Oct 23, '09 06:53:09AM

You don't need the command key. ` and tab just cycle opposite directions through open apps in expose.

---
--Carpe Noctem--



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10.6: Change how Exposé windows are sorted
Authored by: steveaburns on Oct 27, '09 07:13:48PM

Also noticed Shift Tab does the same thing as `



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