Is it conceivable to create a macro to pin windows (not split screen)?

for example:

  • I may be writing an email and want to see a web page
  • I may be writing a report and want to see my calculator tape as I am writing.
    Please note that I use split windows all the time. I am specifically asking about pin window. It is a bit cumbersome to split windows for small tasks.
    thanks very much

I can recommend the app "Moom".
Since you can create the app window very fast (size & width) and then save these with a screenshot and call via a shortcut. Any later change to the windows .... just make a new screenshot and call under the same shortcut again.

Hi Ronald,

in case you are already using BetterTouchTool: it also provides some good window-placement/resizing functionality, not as sophisticated as Moom, but it may be enough, depending on your needs.

It's especially useful in conjunction with the TouchBar of the newer MBPs:

Hi Tom

These look very useful.
If you can and do not mind, will you share an export of them here?


Unfortunately I was unable to figure out how to copy selected settings to a new preset. So I exported the Default one: (28.0 KB)

Just delete the other stuff, it is not much.

– Tom


To get access to the window-resize buttons you have to open the group by tapping the icon.

What specifically do you mean by “Pin”.

Keyboard Maestro can resize and reposition windows in a wide variety of ways using the WINDOW function or SCREEN function or SCREENVISIBLE function.

@peternlewis @tom @JimmyHartington @appleianer

Thank you for all of your answers. I understand the KBM screen actions and already use Moom and SizeUp.

I did not express myself clearly and apologize. I should perhaps have said 'until further notice' keep on top

Yes, resizing windows is an option and I use it all the time to setup my workspace with certain apps (like Ulysses windows in Appleiner's example), but it's an overkill in some situations. Although widows can be modified, in certain circumstances it does not have the ease and flexibility of simply pinning / unpinning (ie keep on top) windows.

I know how useful it is because years ago, in Windows, I used it all the time.

Example: I am working in the KBM forum and want to make a few labels based on comments in the forum - I want to read the forum and make labels at the same time. In that situation, I find that resizing windows is too much. In Windows there used to be a small app which created a pin icon in the top right corner of each window. Simply clicked on the icon and that window stayed on top until one re-clicked (unpinned) on the pin icon.

There are many other situations: writing a letter and keeping my calculator app on top, being in Finder and keeping a drag and drop app on top.

Note that in all situations I describe, I am working in a 'major' app (Pages, Browser, etc) and simply want to keep a small window of a small app on top for a short amount of time. In that specific situation, I find that window resizing is simply an overkill.

thanks very much for giving my question some thought.


I got it now, I think: you are looking for a floating window, right?

There used to be Afloat, but it hasn’t been updated in the last 6 years or so.

I managed to compile it from the source (at Github) but didn’t manage to make the bundle work. (It seems it is supposed to work with EasySIMBL.)

You can also download a precompiled installer from Softonic. But the contained version is even older than the one from Github; furthermore the installer is not correctly code-signed and Softonic is not a trustworthy source, so I didn’t run the installer. Try it at your own risk if you want.

I also found Helium on the App Store. It works like a standalone web browser and it gives you a floating window, indeed.

This could be useful for you, maybe.

There is another app that I’m using from time to time: Screenfloat.

Basically it is only a screenshot tool. If you make a screenshot with Screenfloat the screenshot will automatically float above other windows. The UI of the app is pretty clever: if you hover with the mouse over your floating screenshot it automatically disappears. That is, the floating window is not getting in the way, like it usually happens with floating stuff.

Occasionally the app is surprisingly useful. But, since it only produces floating screenshots, it’s not exactly what you are looking for. But I would give it a try anyway.


There is another app: Fluid

With Fluid you can convert any web site or web application into a standalone Mac app.

For example you can convert the KM Forum site into an app that runs independently of Safari; you can place it in the Dock or do other nifty things with it.

I know, this is not of interest for you. But, once you have created an app out of, for example, the KM Forum site, go to the Appearance preferences of that app and select "Floating" as window level:

Voilà, your KM Forum is floating on top of all :wink:


If Screenfloat is a possible solution for you, I can recommend Snappy, which is free to use and also excellent.

I’m really frustrated that there’s no function or utility to keep windows floating/always-on-top on Mac :frowning:

Going to ask the Moom developer if s/he could integrate this since he has such a stellar app…

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This looks interesting too, thanks for the hint!

Judging by the abandoned Afloat and how it works (SIMBL) I have the suspicion that with newer systems it is no longer allowed to “inject” code to make any window of any app floating. But maybe someone who is more familiar with macOS app development has some insight? (e.g. @peternlewis)

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I didn’t ask Peter because I don’t want to push my luck and I already asked him a year or two ago :slight_smile:

I already emailed the Moom developer too!

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No, I didn’t mention Peter to ask him for a KM feature. I was mentioning him because macOS development is his business, and so maybe he knows if it is generally still possible to develop apps/extensions that make windows of an arbitrary app floating. Something I doubt.

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And, BTW, I detest floating windows. They are a PITA. Screenfloat is an exception because the window goes away when you go over it with the mouse.

But look at the macOS Help Viewer windows! (Fortunately there’s a UserDefaults pref to make them non-floating…) [1]

[1] defaults write DevMode -bool true

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No idea I’m afraid. I’m surprised that its ever been workable to convert a window into a floating window. It’s possible the Accessibility API allows it somehow.


From Moom developer:

The reason it’s gone is that Apple took away the ability of apps to modify other running apps’ actual code. While this means some features have vanished, it’s the right thing to do—no program should be able to modify another program’s code on the fly, and that’s how those apps used to work.

And that’s why you won’t see another “float” app unless Apple changes their setup to somehow provide that feature to all apps, instead of only allowing it within an app if the developer of that app supports it. So as much as we’d love to add this feature to Moom, it’s literally impossible to do.


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thanks very much Tom. Sorry for the delay.

Afloat: I am not smart enough, but thanks for the suggestion

Helium: there is something that I don’t understand and can’t find it on the web: is Helium a browser, or does it work for any window in any browser?

Screenfloat is a great suggestion and I bought it. As you suggested, I configured in transparency mode. The only problem is that in disappearing mode there does not seem to be any way to move the snapshot which is a real pain in the neck (I tried it writing emails while consulting a snapshot), and, in the disappearing mode, it is more complicated to close it (has to be done via the menu bar). Have you found a way to move it? We can’t expect any improvements. Last update is sep 2016.

Snappy as suggested below is very nice and complements screenfloat. It allows for annotations, email etc and is a simple alternative to snagit for quick snapshots, to be subsequently discarded

You are right. Fluid is GREAT. I have been using it for quite a while, for example to convert online dictionaries into apps.
thank you for your comment.

thank you for your comment. I downloaded snappy and it is great. Not as heavy as snagit.
great idea to right to the Moom developer.