A Beginner’s Guide to the Red, Yellow and Green Window Buttons

If you are new to Mac, then the uses for the red, yellow and green window buttons at the top left corner of every Mac window may not be obvious. The red button closes the window. The yellow button minimizes the window, placing it in the Dock. The green button can either take the window into full screen mode, or maximize the window to its logical size.

Comments: 17 Responses to “A Beginner’s Guide to the Red, Yellow and Green Window Buttons”

    Joel
    2 years ago

    I didn’t know about option-green, but you left out the use of click-and-hold-green (allows you to put two apps side-by-side in “half-full-screen” mode).

    robert Sigafoos
    2 years ago

    Also hold down the Shift key and press Yellow button. Hold Shift key and open window in the Dock. Neat animation.

    Steve
    2 years ago

    Using Sierra .6 and the option key does not work on any of the three buttons. Perhaps there’s a preference setting?

    2 years ago

    Steve: Which app? No preference setting I can think of.

    Steve
    2 years ago

    Gary, I guess I thought you misunderstood. From the video you suggested almost any app. However I had email, Safari open. Maybe I should listen to the video again.
    thanks

    Jay Grosse
    2 years ago

    Why does the yellow button become grayed out (not usable) when the window is maximized?

    2 years ago

    Jay: You mean when you go full screen with the app? I guess because it doesn’t make sense to put a full screen window in the Dock, as then there would be nothing left for that screen.

    Alan Davis
    2 years ago

    Option red only closes one window?

    2 years ago

    Alan: It should close all the windows, but in the same app. So if you have two TextEdit window open and a a Safari window open, and Option+click on a red button in one of the TextEdit windows, it will close those two, but not the Safari window.

    Jay Grosse
    2 years ago

    Gary, thank you for your response but I don’t understand your answer to my question. In MS Windows I minimize windows all the time directly from full screen mode to get them out of the way for a while. To do this on my Mac I have to reduce the window first and only then can I minimize it. It would sure be handy to be able to minimize a window from full screen by just clicking on the yellow button. This is not possible because the yellow button is grayed out. Why?

    2 years ago

    Jay: As you can guess, I don’t use Windows much. But I’m thinking that by “full screen” on Windows, you mean a window that is the size of the desktop. But on Mac, when you use Full Screen Mode, you are creating a second desktop that is only that app, no desktop background behind it, no desktop files, etc. You don’t minimize this desktop, you simply leave it. See https://macmost.com/a-beginners-guide-to-mission-control.html

    Jay Grosse
    2 years ago

    OK, that helps. I guess I need to used to using Mission Control. Thanks for the quick response.

    Lanne West
    2 years ago

    The three buttons I see are not colored at all … they are all grey with an “x”, a “-“, or an expand arrow. How can I change these buttons to be red, yellow and green? Your help will be appreciated. Thanks, Gary.

    2 years ago

    Lanne: Are they that way in all apps, including the Finder? Also, which version of macOS are you using?

    Lanne West
    2 years ago

    In response to your question, the answer is yes … all three buttons are grey in all apps, including the Finder. I’m using MacOS Sierra (10.12.6).

    2 years ago

    Lanne: Do the buttons work? If so, the perhaps you have just changed your appearance setting? Go to System Preferences, General, Appearance and switch from Graphite back to the default Blue.

    Lanne West
    2 years ago

    Yes, all of the grey buttons work … AND, you are correct. I had at some point in the past changed the appearance in Settings from the default blue to graphite. Thank you so much for pointing this out to me. Now, the buttons are back to the default red, yellow and green. Thanks again, Gary. I am very appreciative of your help and expertise.

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