Windows-Like Alt-Tab for Mac OS X

03 October 2004

Hitting Ctrl-F4 in Mac OS X will cycle through your non-minimized windows (including hidden applications). On a laptop, you'll need to hit fn as well. You can change the shortcut key in the keyboard shortcuts section of the keyboard and mouse system preferences.

I've been looking for this since I got my new iBook on Wednesday. It's not as useful as the Windows version because the switch occurs when you hit F4, not when you release the Ctrl key. Thus, you can't alternate between two windows; you have to cycle all the way around. But it's something. I'm hoping that Cmd-Tab and Exposé will merge so that I can hold Cmd and see live previews as I tab between windows.

BTW, you can use Cmd-Tab to switch between applications and Cmd-` (that's the backquote, on the key with the tilde to cycle through the windows within an application.


You linked to the sidebar stuff without leaving a place to comment, so I'll comment here. :)

A while ago, I had a vision of a new desktop. I generally try to track all of my projects at work in my Outlook 'Tasks' folder. So, I envisioned using the virtual desktop PowerToy (which is OK but not great) to devote one desktop to each open task (preferably preserved across sessions).

Each desktop would then have its own sidebar, within which would be docked an editable display of that desktop's relevant Outlook Task (since I like to update them frequently to document my progress). Any task-specific applications would then be run on the proper desktop, and any general-purpose applications would be marked 'sticky' to put them on all desktops.

I attempted to create this with the virtual desktop PowerToy and 'Desktop Sidebar.' Desktop Sidebar was not able to give me a different sidebar per desktop, and while it was able to list out my Outlook Tasks, it was not able to expand an individual task inside the sidebar. So, the experiment was a failure, and I gave up.

The article you linked to mentions that SmartBarXP is a lot better, so maybe I'll try again.

Posted by Paul.

Sorry about not allowing comments on the short posts. I'm currently using the comment flag to indicate whether or not something is a post or just a link.

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