Jaime Gago Condensing Information Systems From the Vapor Of Data


AppleScript to create a “ShowDesktop” shortcut

When I’m on Os X I often miss the “show desktop” shortcut icon you can easily get on Windows. applescriptYes, there is the expose version but it doesn’t really work the same. My Google-fu showed few solutions (like clicking a visible piece of your desktop while holding option+command down) but none that I liked so here is my input.

Before loading additional software on my computer I like to try and find a way to use what’s shipped-in. This took me directly to AppleScript a pretty simple scripting language for Apple environments (doh!).

Once in AppleScript I found a way to have it working via GUI scripting and “System Events” calls. Of course if I knew Cocoa I’d probably come with a much snappier result through the NSEvent library, but I don’t...

Anyway here is the code, if anybody reading this needs more info just use the comments.


tell application "Finder"
end tell
tell application "System Events"
    set quit delay to 0
    keystroke "h" using {command down, option down}
    keystroke "m" using {command down, option down}
end tell


-Supposedly for GUI scripting you need to “Enable access for assistive devices” (System Preferences>Universal Access): In my case while running 10.6.2 it works without, not sure why...

-keystroke "h" using {command down, option down} can be replaced by [set visible of every process whose visible = true and name ≠ "Finder" to false] but don’t get fooled it still is a GUI command going through the “Systems Events” app.

-keystroke "m" using {command down, option down} can be replaced by [set the collapsed of windows to true] but the script behaves differently,  i.e. on my system it minimizes windows one by one instead of all at once.

-Although I didn’t try very hard I couldn’t find out how to send a “visible = false” or “keystroke h using command down” to the finder after all other applications have been hidden hence my “minimize all” command.

Here are some references and tools for Apple Scripts.

Finder Scripting Manual (PDF)

AppleScript @ macautomatation.com

KeyCode (can be useful for GUI scripting if you use “keycode”)

Apple Training Series: Apple Script 1-2-3

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  1. Tremendous things here. I am very satisfied to look your article. Thanks so much and I am taking a look forward to touch you. Will you please drop me a mail?

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