I'm new to using a Mac, and really would like some way to display all the running applications spread out in some way, so I can choose a running application and switch to one of its windows. Is there some easy way to do this?
Mac OS X has had this feature built in for a long time—originally, it was called Exposé and the feature provided fast access to any open window with a few keystrokes, and allowed you to temporarily hide all open windows, or scale all windows down so you can get an overview of all of them. The feature worked (and many people loved it) but we found it somewhat clumsy.
Starting with Lion (OS X 10.7) and then continuing in Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8) the feature is provided by an application named Mission Control. This application provides cleaner and simpler functionality than in previous versions of OS X. It displays all your virtual desktops, the Dashboard, and all the open windows for every running application. Once you’ve run Mission Control, click on any window to bring that window to the top, giving it focus. Mission Control makes it simple to select any window in any application.
Although you can run the Mission Control application like any other application, it’s simpler to map it to a keystroke and/or trackpad gesture. By default, it’s mapped to a three-finger upward swipe on the trackpad. You can alter this behavior, of course! Give Mission Control a try—you’re likely to be amazed at how simple it makes switching from one app or window to another.