Secrets of the Command-Tab Mac Application Switcher

Nov 17, 2009 - 12 Comments

command tab

Command-Tab in Mac OS X works really well as a quick application switcher and I use it all the time, but there’s more features available within the Command-Tab application switcher than just hitting Command+Tab itself. Once you’re in the application switcher you can try some of these other commands.

Command+Tab launches the Application Switcher. Continue holding down the Command key and then try the following buttons:

  • tab – move selection to the right in the app list
  • ` – move selection to the left
  • h – hide the selected application
  • q – quit the selected application
  • mouse scrollwheel – move the selection back and forth
  • left arrow – move selection to the left
  • right arrow – move selection to the right
  • up arrow – enter expose within the selected application
  • down arrow – enter expose within the selected application

Memorize these tips to master the Mac application switcher and speed up your workflow! (Note: the expose features appear to be Snow Leopard only)

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in 10.5, 10.6, How to, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks, Utilities

12 Comments

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  1. FroZnShiva says:

    If you tab in exposé you can quickly choose between applications with previewing them.

  2. Zack says:

    Actually, pressing ‘H’ toggles visibility. It can be used to unhide as well as hide.

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  4. Klaus says:

    great resource as alwasy. thx

  5. [...] This is just one of many cool tricks you can do with the Command+Tab application switcher. [...]

  6. Johannes says:

    Another way to move the selection to the left is “shitft + tab”. Its more common (imho) because many Tab actions can be reversed by holding down shift. Thanks for the tip, great page!

  7. Lzygenius says:

    If you select 1 it will do the same thing as selecting up or down, which is great for one-handed operation.

  8. [...] play a quick round or two while doing other things. Since it plays in full screen, you can use the Command+Tab application switcher to switch around to other applications, the game is lightweight enough that it’s not a drag [...]

  9. [...] is a great feature of Mac OS X, although I tend to use the Command+Tab application switcher for switching between [...]

  10. [...] here’s a nice post on the various ways to navigate with Application Switcher (cmd-tab): Secrets of the Command-Tab Mac Application Switcher | OS X [...]

  11. [...] Command+Tab application switcher gets a lot use by many Mac OS X power users, and by default it will include the Finder in the apps [...]

  12. [...] Did you know you can navigate around the iPad using only a keyboard, without touching the screen at all? It’s part of iOS Accessibility options, and using keyboard navigation makes the iPad feel a lot more like a traditional computer, even sharing some of the keyboard shortcuts that Macs have to do things like the ever useful Command+Tab app switcher. [...]

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