How to Resize a Window That is Too Big or Off Screen in Mac OS

Jul 5, 2010 - 70 Comments

Finder There are times when you will find a windows sizing controls have been rendered inaccessible, the most likely cause is from changing the Mac’s resolution by hooking it up and then disconnecting it from an external display, however I have also seen poorly written javascripts resize windows to outrageous proportions as well. Additionally, sometimes a window just opens largely off screen, making it impossible to access without some creative attempts to moving the window back onto the primary display in Mac OS X.

If you encounter a window on your Mac that is too big to manually drag or resize, try one of these techniques, and you will be able to move it back onto the screen again.

Resizing Windows That Are Off Screen in Mac OS X

We’ll share three different tricks that work to bring an off screen window back on screen again on the Mac:

  • The first method you should try is to click the green button in the window titlebar, this will resize the window to fit to the available screen resolution. Of course, this is assuming you have access to the green zoom button.
  • If you can’t access the green resize button because it is off screen, just click on the window you want resized and then navigate to the Window menu and pull down to ‘Zoom’. This will automatically resize the active window to fit on the screen.
  • Finally, another option is to grab any portion of the window you can and hold down OPTION+SHIFT keys and drag, which will resize the window in any direction

Another option is to temporarily switch the display resolution to smaller than you’d typically use, since that resizes onscreen windows to fit the new screen resolution. This is possible from the  Apple menu > System Preferences > Display section of settings.

resize window off screen mac

The Window menu is available in virtually every Mac OS X application and will always be accessible for resizing and ‘zooming’ windows to fit onto the available resolution.

These tricks work to move off screen windows in all versions of MacOS and Mac OS X, regardless of what the Mac is running, whether it’s macOS Mojave, macOS High Sierra, MacOS Sierra, Mac OS X El Capitan, Yosemite, Mavericks, Mountain Lion, Snow Leopard, or whatever else.

“Help! There’s a window on my Mac that is too big to resize, it’s hanging off the screen! How do I fix this?” – This is the phone call that spawned this post. I set a relative up with a dual-screen Mac setup recently and they love it, well, until they disconnected their MacBook Pro from the external display to find that a browser window sized at 1650×1080 was hanging way off the smaller resolution internal display running at 1280×800. The green resize buttons were inaccessible as well as the drag-to-resize portion of the window itself. I told them about the Zoom trick and they were quite happy with such an easy fix. Problem solved!

Know of another method to move off screen windows back onto the screen again on Mac OS X? Let us know in the comments!


Related articles:

Posted by: Manish Patel in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Joshua says:

    I had similar issue with photoshop after disconnecting my external monitor. I couldn’t see any of the edges so I couldn’t resize. The zoom solution also didn’t work for me. What I did after trying to many things was changing my display resolution till I was able to find the top edge of my window and I just double clicked it and it resized the window to fix screen after which I changed the resolution back to the original and everything works fine now.

  2. Luke says:

    This was so helpful! cheers

  3. Maah says:

    In High Sierra version 10.13.6, zoom did not help, but you can reduce the screen using the control and command buttons at the same time then clicking on F.

  4. Gerry Rufman says:

    Thank you so much. you saved me

  5. Kathy says:

    I officially love you. Even though I did a big Homer Simpson face palm at the utter simplicity of the window zoom trick.

  6. Harry Dennery says:

    Thanks for the window zoom trick. But not attached to external monitor, excel file still opens in bottom right corner out of view by 99%. How do I correct that so I don’t have to use windows zoom every time

  7. Jason says:

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is such a silly thing, but “view-zoom” worked perfectly.

  8. Sally Mae says:


  9. W Everdell says:

    Oho. Option plus the green button shrank my Finder and Chrome windows and made them suddenly resizeable the old-fashioned way. Many thanks.

  10. Tim Waag says:

    None of these worked for me. Sigh.

  11. Shelley (Noble Design & Media) Noble says:

    Still helpful, even as 2017 dawns! Thank you!

  12. Joel Gustafsson says:

    I unplugged my second monitor. That forced Photoshop (in this case) to move to my bigger screen. I scaled down the window and reconnected the monitor again.

    • Charlie says:

      Thanks for this tip. My issue was in Photoshop Elements, where the Zoom option in the Window menu does not appear.

      I tried all the other solutions in this thread and more, but your suggestion to unplug the second monitor was the only one that worked.

      Thanks much!

  13. Issy Crocker says:

    thank you so much – simple ‘windows’ – ‘zoom’ fix for my oversized screen.

  14. AMY says:

    Here is another wrinkle. I was trying to print a document, and somehow the dialog print screen got very wide, and I cannot get to either side of the screen (cannot “look at document as a PDF” on the left, or “SAVE” on the right).
    The solutions posted work for webpages, but did not seem to work with an automatic dialog box.
    If there is a solution in this case that anyone is aware of, please do let me know :)

  15. Philippa says:

    Found the answer after some more internet searching, and it worked.
    “Proportional Window Resize
    In Lion (and El Capitan) you can now resize a window from any edge, not just the corner. It turns out that this works similarly to resizing objects in many graphics applications. For instance, holding the Option key while dragging an edge will also move the opposite edge. Also, holding Shift will move every edge except the one opposite to the selected edge.”
    I hope this works for those who are still having problems.

    • Susanne says:

      Thanks Phillipa, This just worked for me with Excel 2011, when the bottom edge disappeared out of sight, after migration to new macbook and upgrading to El Capitan. “Also, holding Shift will move every edge except the one opposite to the selected edge.”

  16. Adam Scott says:

    The problem I have is when I go to save an EXCEL document the options for New Folder and Save or Cancel are hanging off the bottom of my screen. I moved my dock to the right hand side of the page and tried to grab the bottom corner and drag it up but that doesn’t work. I can’t cancel the save or create a new folder. I’m having to force quit out of excel.

    Upgrading to El Capitan is one of the worst things I have ever done for my work productivity. I spend at least an hour a day the past week dealing with problems like this.

    I did upgrade Office yesterday (11-12) so I have the latest Office for Mac running.

    I’m sure there is a simple solution to this, but I don’t know what it is. I have wasted so much time just trying to save an excel file.


    • Philippa says:

      I am having the same problem with ‘save as’ for Word docs. The zoom button made the problem worse. Command M disappears everything into the dock.
      “eyedownloader says: July 18, 2015 at 7:35 pm
      On Mac OSX if all else fails – Click and Hold Option+Shift – Combines both to resize the window in all directions while maintaining the aspect ratio, from the center of the window outward” – Sorry, this doesn’t work.
      I too have updated to El Capitan – never had this problem with the earlier updates.
      I haven’t used an external display.

  17. Laura says:

    Thank you SO very much. This has been making things difficult for me for days and I have tried several potential solutions that were offered by others but none worked. This did immediately.

  18. IdeiasIntensas says:

    Solution to anyone using an external display:

    Press F3 and drag the window to the bigger screen.

    This solved our Photoshop issue (app window to big and locked on smaller screen, with the top bar – and the red+yellow+green buttons – hidden).

  19. Scoroncocolo says:

    I was having a hard time resizing the Chrome window in my new Mac. I could drag to resize left and right but Chrome was stuck to the top and bottom of the Mac’s desktop window so I couldn’t grab it. So I opened Script Editor in Applications and wrote and ran the following simple AppleScript:

    tell application “Google Chrome” to set the bounds of the front window to {368, 63, 2430, 1260}

    If your readers will copy that and paste it into Apple’s Script Editor and compile and run it their Chrome widow look and behave very nicely on their Mac’s desktop.

    I’m running Yosemite.

  20. Hannah says:

    Thanks, this was really helpful. Macs are crazy sometimes :)

  21. teresa boardman says:

    Zoom trick doesn’t work for me at all just resizes window but controls on the bottom are still off the screen. Problem only exists in the chrome browser and had been a problem since I updated to the latest Mac operating system. I can usually get what I want by pressing enter or using the escape key but can not use all of the functions that are now unreachable below the bottom of my screen

    • Hannah says:

      I had the exact same problem, in Chrome. But zoom seems to have fixed it today, even though I’m sure we tried it already. Make sure the window is the one you have selected. good luck.

  22. Thilde says:

    Darryll: you just saved my life. I was watching a movie using an html cable and the popcorn time window was waaaaay too big for my screen! Nothing worked and I didn’t think this would either, but it did! Thank youuuuu!!!

  23. Darryll says:

    This by the far the easiest and most effective way:

    t1n0m3n says:
    August 6, 2014 at 10:28 am
    I have found that you can move the app window if you position the mouse over the edge to get the horizontal or vertical resize arrows. The trick is to move the mouse horizontally if you have the vertical resize arrows or vertically if you have the horizontal resize arrows. It is a bit tricky, but it works on Mavericks 10.9.x This trick does not work with the diagonal resize arrows. The trick works better if you get the resize arrows the furthest away from the window without turning back into a normal pointer. You can practice this trick on any window, off screen or not.

  24. Kate O'Hara says:

    Wow. One click on the green button and done! Magic. Thank you.

  25. Bill Colbert says:

    Not just a window, but my entire display is both too wide and too tall. Changing resolutions does not help. Any suggestions?

  26. Heather Allen says:

    Thank you SO much. For days the bottom of my photoshop window was off the screen so I couldn’t drag the bottom right corner up. On google searches the suggestions of how to fix this were infuriating – download this software, change all this gumpf in system preferences etc etc. I knew there had to be a simple solution other than pages of rubbish by ‘experts’.

    Then you just put it plain and simple ‘click the green button in the window title bar.’

    Perfect. Done. Thanks.

  27. dave says:

    i just had this happen when i moved photoshop from my external monitor to my mbp and I was going to try the above resize method but when i opened up system preferences > displays i just clicked the box for “mirror displays” thinking that’d work and it did ;)

  28. Sherman Bok says:

    Kudos! Thanks so much for the tip! Saved my life literally especially when I have a report deadline!

    Still works even after 3 years!

  29. Earl Fox says:

    Nothing works for me too – I’m trying to use Zoiper application and “Zoom” button aren’t available

    • Luke says:

      Hi :)

      Did you find a solution to this?

      • DJ says:

        So annoying when some one posts a “fix-all” solution, but won’t reply when it doesn’t fix-all!

        But I found that in Zoiper, if you click the white-space (maybe twice before it becomes the active window), you have to drag out the separate History, Contacts, Dial Pad, and Calls tabs, then you can do the same with the main window. Drag and drop the other windows back on top of the main window to merge them again.

  30. Nina says:

    No matter what I try, nothing will work! (This is the Garage Band screen that’s acting up by the way.) I have tried pushing the green button, and when I go to window and hit Minimize, it just makes the screen go down to the tool bar! I need to see the whole screen, because I can’t hit the record button or go to all of the effects!

  31. reg says:

    I have the same problem, I really HATE my mac, sorry! The same as Jordan has….. but, in my case I only have one program that does this, Adobe Camera Raw, does anyone have any ideas? Maybe the problem is in the Adobe program, not the mac?

  32. Jordan says:

    both the green button and zoom button are unavailable for this window, and the resolution won’t let me go any further than 1280×800 on my macbook. What am I supposed to do?

  33. kahli says:

    That helps on my mac but not my macbook. It doesnt let me go bigger than 1280×800 and the window is still cut off.

  34. dilgreen says:

    I have a tip for this. A colleague had changed screens, and was in the habit of having modal ‘windowshade’ dialog boxes (like the ‘attach’ dialog for mail) set at full screen. After switching screens, not only the re-size handle, but the ‘cancel’ and ‘choose file’ buttons were inaccessible too! no amount of green button clicking or window zooming did anything, until I performed the following actions:
    1. Open System Preferences>Displays
    2. change resolution to something small – 848×480
    3. click green button to zoom window – it still doesn’t fit
    4. change screen resolution to largest practical
    5. window is now small!
    (if necessary, try two clicks at stage 3, and green click at stage 5.)

    • dangeroustofu says:

      THANK YOU! Been looking everywhere- you had the ONLY solution that worked for me! I will remember this!!!!

    • meera says:

      you are a genius! also been looking at all sorts of remedies but only yours has worked. many thanks.

    • adamglad says:

      You are the BEST! thank you

    • Ricardo says:

      Great advice. Tks!!! The only solution available.

    • Lars Clausen says:

      Thanks for your tips, it led me to a solution for a really annoying window. For whatever reason, it was too large only at max resolution – if I tried it at a lower resolution, it would resize nicely, but then go back to overly large when I switched back to standard resolution.

      My final solution was to make the resolution small, then maximize the window with the green button, then change the resolution, then un-maximize it.

    • Paula says:

      That was life saver! Thank you!

  35. f1 says:

    Cinch is very nice app for it

  36. Jerry says:

    I have an mac Mini with a NEC monitor. The window of whatever application is running (Firefox, Word, etc) is HUGE. I have tried green button, Zoom, apple and the minus sign – nothing reduces the size of the window or gets all the material in on the screen (into) the window

    • Kris M says:

      Did you find a solution for this? I just bought a new Mac Mini and the dock and all menu bar items are stretched off the screen. I can not find a solution yet. Any luck for you?

  37. Shaf says:

    I believe you can also hold ⌥ and click the green + button.

    • Sholto says:

      This worked for me. Hold down option and click green + button in top left corner. Had unplugged from an external monitor and the Chrome tab was offscreen so I couldn’t resize from the bottom right corner.

      I clicked green + with option held down and tab magically resized itself.

      Thanks Shaf, you’re a legend!

  38. Julie says:

    Oh, this is a great tip; however, when those pesky Photoshop filters or adjustment windows are completely off-screen after disconnecting from an external display, there’s not even a window to click on. Is there a fix for that? So far, I’ve had to remember to move all the filter windows I’ve used during that session onto the smaller laptop screen before quitting PS, or else I won’t find some of them at all.

  39. diff says:

    I hold down Option + Shift then click the edge of the window and drag to resize edge of the window that is off screen or too big

    • eyedownloader says:

      On Mac OSX if all else fails – Click and Hold Option+Shift – Combines both to resize the window in all directions while maintaining the aspect ratio, from the center of the window outward

      • Randy says:

        Thank you! Option+Shift and resize edge of the window was exactly what I needed. Can’t believe this was so hard to find!

      • Kimmie says:

        You are my hero. Seriously. A five-year-old post, and you posted the simplest solution just this year. I was about ready to lose my mind. ;-)

        • WEHalstead says:

          I found on our iMac that the following can fix this:

          Hold Control key down and pull Scroll wheel of mouse down towards you to bring screen down to the way the screen should be.

      • Elizabeth Casteel says:

        I upgraded to El Cap and it own’t let me resize window with the option-shift either. It goes tall but won’t change width.

      • W Everdell says:

        Click and Hold Option+Shift did nothing for me (OS Sierra, updated as of 2017). The former method of resizing a screen, grabbing corners with the mouse and moving them, does nothing for me, except occasionally and at random it expands the window to full screen. I can’t help but think that the Silicon Valley oligopolists’ competition for users’ attention (eyeballs) is beginning to mean their software will actively prevent you from viewing more than one program on screen at a time, not without buying more than one computer.

    • Dave says:

      In OS X To bring off screen elements of a window back on screen in photoshop I double click on the bar at the top of the window and it will shrink the window to show the complete window.

    • Mikki Root Dillon says:

      THANK YOU for solving my too big vertically screen on Photoshop Elements screen! Hot Dog! Now to be able to actually work!!!

    • Blackduck says:

      Glad there is a comment section – all the above didn’t work for me or I knew it already (BTW, I know plenty of apps which don’t have a ‘Window’ menu).
      Shift + Option does the trick – something to remember! Been looking for that for a while now…Thx for your help!

Leave a Reply


Shop on and help support OSXDaily!

Subscribe to OSXDaily

Subscribe to RSS Subscribe to Twitter Feed Follow on Facebook Subscribe to eMail Updates

Tips & Tricks


iPhone / iPad



Shop on Amazon to help support this site