Bringing all windows belonging to an application to the front at once

I tend to have 15-20 applications running, and many of them have 4-5 open windows each. When I click on a window belonging to an application different from the current one, I want all of the new application’s windows to move to the top of the stack, just like they did pre-OS X. (And, I should add, just like happens when using Command-Tab in the application switcher.)

When I was still running Mojave I used a feature of the fine (but discontinued) utility Drag Thing to accomplish this. Now that that’s no longer an option for me, I’m going crazy without an easy way to do what I want.

Does anyone know of a utility, AppleScript or code snippet to do what I need? I’ve spent hours Googling and couldn’t come up with anything that works reliably.

Yes. John Siracusa’s Front & Center. See

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Another solution is to have multiple desktops with apps that have nothing to do with each other assigned to different desktops. Also have a few desktops with no apps assigned for scratch work. Use a’ swipe between desktops’ mouse or trackpad gesture to move between them. Note that the gesture is misleading labelled ‘Swipe between full-screen apps’ in Big Sur System Preferences.

A few things you can do that don’t involve any new software. The first two do (almost) what you want. The other two may be useful, for similar tasks but are not the same.

  • Use the dock. If you click on an app’s icon in the Dock, all of its windows will be brought to the top. One side effect (which may or may not be a big deal for you) is that if the app doesn’t have any windows open, this will usually cause it to open a new window or create a new document.

  • Use the CMD-TAB shortcut. When you select an app with CMD-TAB, all of its windows are brought to the top.

  • Use Mission Control. Activate it with one of the system gestures (swipe-up with four fingers, use the Mission Control key on Apple keyboards or a keyboard shortcut you configured). You will see all the windows on your desktop, grouped by application. Clicking on one will bring that window to the top (but won’t bring the rest of the app’s windows with it).

  • Use App Exposé (aka Application Windows). Activate it with one of the system gestures (swipe-down with four fingers, press the Mission Control key while holding CTRL or a keyboard shortcut you configured). You will see all of the windows belonging to the current app. Select one to bring it to the top.

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Also - not quite what you are asking for, but perhaps useful. Many apps have a Window > Bring All to Front menu option, which brings all the windows for that app to the front.

I’ve added a key shortcut for that, using System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > App Shortcuts > + > All Applications). I chose ctrl-alt-shift-cmd-F, which doesn’t seem to conflict with anything else on my system.

I use this fairly often, particularly with the Finder I think, eg when I’m wanting to drag from one window to another.

If you do this, note it’s worth mapping both “Bring All to Front” and “Bring All To Front” - note the difference in caps - sadly, apps aren’t consistent with this and the spelling needs to exactly match the menu title for this to work.

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Keyboard Maestro has an action to bring all of an application’s windows to the front. I have a macro that says:

  • When Finder activates
  • Bring Application Windows to Front

That way, whenever I switch to the Finder by clicking on the desktop or anything else, all of its windows come forward, which is what I want for file management.