How to Switch Windows on Mac

Kyle Wood

Mac, Tutorials

Switching between windows on a Mac is a breeze once you know the right shortcuts. Whether you’re working on multiple applications or trying to find a specific window buried under others, this tutorial will guide you through the different methods of window switching on your Mac.

Using the Keyboard:

If you prefer using keyboard shortcuts, there are several options available to switch between windows quickly and efficiently. Here are some of the most commonly used shortcuts:

1. Command + Tab:

Command + Tab is a powerful shortcut that allows you to cycle through open applications.

Pressing and holding the Command key while tapping Tab will bring up a list of all currently open applications. Continue tapping Tab while holding down Command to cycle through the list, releasing both keys when you’ve selected the desired application.

2. Command + ` (backtick):

If you have multiple windows open within the same application, using Command + ` will cycle through each individual window. This is especially useful when working with multiple browser tabs or documents in applications like Microsoft Word or Pages.

3. Mission Control:

Mission Control, a feature introduced in OS X Lion, provides an overview of all your open windows and desktop spaces. To access Mission Control, press the F3 key on your keyboard or use a three-finger swipe upwards on your trackpad if enabled in System Preferences.

  • In Mission Control, all open windows appear as thumbnails at the top of the screen.
  • To switch between windows, click on the desired thumbnail.
  • You can also use gestures or keyboard shortcuts to navigate between spaces and full-screen applications.

Using the Trackpad:

If you prefer using gestures on your trackpad, macOS offers a range of options for switching between windows effortlessly.

1. Three-Finger Swipe:

A three-finger swipe left or right on your trackpad will switch between full-screen applications or desktop spaces. This gesture is especially handy if you tend to work in full-screen mode or utilize multiple desktop spaces.

2. Four-Finger Swipe:

A four-finger swipe left or right allows you to switch between open windows within the same application. For example, if you have multiple browser tabs open, swiping four fingers left or right will cycle through each tab.

Using Exposé:

Exposé is a Mac feature that enables you to view all open windows at once, making it easier to select the one you need quickly. Exposé with Trackpad Gestures:

If enabled in System Preferences under “Trackpad,” you can set up a gesture (such as a four-finger swipe downwards) to activate Exposé. Exposé with Keyboard Shortcut:

You can also access Exposé using the F9 key on your keyboard or by pressing Control + Up Arrow. This action will display all open windows for easy selection.

  • In Exposé view, click on the desired window to bring it forward.
  • You can also press the corresponding number key displayed above each window to switch directly.

Note: The availability of certain gestures and shortcuts may vary depending on your macOS version and trackpad settings. Make sure to check your System Preferences for specific options.

With these various methods at your disposal, switching between windows on your Mac becomes a seamless experience. Whether you prefer using keyboard shortcuts, trackpad gestures, or a combination of both, finding and navigating through open windows will no longer be a hassle. Master these techniques, boost your productivity, and take full advantage of the multitasking capabilities of your Mac!

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