Continuing from the previous How To Minimize A Window section; To maximize a window generally means to redisplay it from the dock, but it also means to resize it back (put it back) to its original largest size if it was previously resized. You will find yourself using a window's green coloured Maximize button when a window opens too small. A window can open too small for two basic reasons. Either your OS X settings and/or a particular application's settings are setup to open each window small. Or you, or someone else, had each window opened small (custom size) and then closed them small.
Regardless of how a window became small or minimized, at some point you might need it open at its maximum size. On a Windows computer to maximize a window, from its smaller/custom sized state or minimized state, means to make it as large as the desktop screen. However, on an Apple Mac computer maximize means to make the window as large as the application will naturally allow before you need to manually resize it. You can make a window as big as the entire computer screen, known as: in Full Computer Screen mode, but this is not maximising.
In this first example I'm going to show you how to redisplay the Safari web browser application window that has been minimize to the dock. Just like in the previous section (how to minimize a window); In this example I have ended up with five folder (FINDER) windows minimized to the dock - DOCUMENTS, DOWNLOADS, MOVIES, MUSIC and PICTURES - together with the Safari web browser application window and the Mail e-mail application window.
Fig 1.0 Five minimized folder (FINDER) windows - DOCUMENTS, DOWNLOADS, MOVIES, MUSIC and PICTURES.
To maximize the Safari web browser application window you first need to click on its docked icon (thumbnail / preview icon), located to the right of the DOWNLOADS Stack but before the Trashcan (Fig 1.1 below). Doing so will redisplay the Safari web browser application window back to the state it was in before you minimized it. In this example (Fig 1.2) it will be displayed as a small, custom sized, window (not maximized and not in full computer screen mode), just as I left it before minimising it to the dock.
If you look closely at the dock you will notice it has a dividing line, called a Separator, on it that divides the Applications on the left-side of it from the DOCUMENTS Stack and DOWNLOADS Stack on the right-side of it. A DOWNLOADS Stack is just a term used to mean "Downloaded Files That Are Stacked On Top Of One Another" and a DOCUMENTS Stack means "Document Files That Are Stacked On Top Of One Another". In reality it means whenever you click on the DOWNLOADS Stack icon or DOCUMENTS Stack icon a list of downloaded files or document files will appear as if those listed items were stacked up. Stacks are explained in a later section of this website.
Fig 1.1 Click on an application's dock icon to make its minimized window reappear and display content
Fig 1.2 The Safari web browser application window has reappeared, displaying at a custom size.
With the Safari web browser application window now being displayed the way I left it, in its Custom Size state (not in its Minimized (docked) state, not in its maximized (full desktop screen) state and not in its Full Computer Screen state), I now have the choice of maximising it to the maximum size the Safari application will allow or to the Full Computer Screen size.
To maximize the selected (active) window, which is the Safari web browser application window in this example, to the maximum size allowed by its application (i.e. Safari) simply click on its green maximize button located in its top-left corner. If the window is currently in its Custom Size state, clicking on the green maximize button will automatically maximize it (expand/stretch/resize it) to the maximum size allowed by its application.
Remember. The application you are using might not allow its window to be maximized to the full desktop screen size, for whatever reason(s), without you manually resizing the window first. Meaning, you might have to manually resize the window to the full size of the desktop screen so that when you minimize the window and then maximize it, only then will it maximize in Full Desktop Screen mode. Resizing a window is explained later, in the How To Re-Size A Window section.
Fig 1.3 Click on an application's green maximize button to make its window maximize (expand/resize)
To put the selected (active) window, which is the Safari web browser application window in this example, into Full Computer Screen mode simply click on its grey FULL SCREEN button located in its top-right corner. The selected window will then cover the entire computer screen.
Fig 1.4 Click on an application's grey FULL SCREEN button to make its window cover the whole computer screen
If you need to put the selected (active) window back to the state (size) you left it in, before you put it in Full Computer Screen mode, simply move the mouse pointer towards the top of the computer screen until the selected window's Menu Bar appears and then click on the blue RESTORE SCREEN button that is now available/visible. It is located in the top-right corner of the screen. The selected window will then be restored back to its previous size.
Fig 1.5 Click on an application's blue RESTORE SCREEN button to restore its window back to its previous size
If a window does not have a FULL SCREEN button on it, it means its application and therefore its displayed window contents cannot be viewed in Full Computer Screen mode. An example of this is the application called Contacts - Its window contents cannot be viewed in Full Computer Screen mode and cannot be maximized or manually resized so that its window contents covers the entire desktop screen; which some people may find annoying!!
Fig 1.6 Not all applications can have their window contents viewed in Full Computer Screen mode
Going back to the dock (taskbar) for a moment. When you click on the docked icon (thumbnail / preview icon) of a minimized (hidden) window (Fig 1.1 above) that minimized window then becomes visible again on the desktop (regardless of its size), as you would expect. However, what you should of noticed at this point is that the docked icon for that maximized (desktop visible) window has now disappeared from the dock; which is quite normal. This is the dock's way of telling you that the selected window is now in a maximized state (visible on the desktop) and not in a minimized state (hidden on the dock).
Fig 1.7 The Safari application window has been minimized to the dock
Fig 1.8 The docked icon belonging to the Safari application window (with Google on it) is being clicked on
Fig 1.9 Safari's docked icon (application window) has been removed - The Safari window has been maximized.
As you minimize and maximize windows their associated dock icons get moved around, and removed, according to the order in which they were added or removed from the dock. So in the above example; When the Safari web browser docked icon was removed, because I maximized the Safari web browser application window by clicking on its docked icon, all the other docked icons shuffled to the left. Meaning, if I was to then minimize the Safari web browser application window again (by clicking on its amber coloured MINImize button) its docked icon would be placed at the end of the other docked icons (to the very left of the Trashcan).
Fig 1.10 Safari docked icon (app window) has been minimized again and placed at the end of the dock
The just said is also true when minimising and maximising folder windows. Regardless of what you are minimising or maximising though; An application's "proper" docked icon (its docked icon to the left of the Separator Line and not its minimized window docked icon to the right of the DOWNLOADS Stack) will always keep a list of what windows/folders it has open for its own application, regardless if those opened windows/folders are minimized or maximized. In other words; In Fig 1.11 below I am clicking on the docked icon belonging to the PICTURES folder in order to maximize the PICTURES window (folder) whereas in Fig 1.12 I have right clicked on the docked icon belonging to the FINDER application in order to then select (left click on) the PICTURES menu-item, which in turn will maximize the PICTURES window (folder).
Fig 1.11 Clicking on the docked icon belonging to the PICTURES folder will maximize the PICTURES folder (window)
Fig 1.12 Right clicking on the FINDER docked icon makes FINDER bring up a list of its opened windows (folders)
The disadvantage of maximizing all your windows is that you can only view one window's contents at a time. Meaning, you will always be minimising windows/folders and switching between them. This is one reason why some people choose to re-size and/or move their windows when ever they need to so they can see more than one window's contents. However, their disadvantage is having to re-size and/or move each window into position more times than not. So the reality is; you will find yourself forever re-sizing, minimizing, maximizing and moving each window on a per needs basis.