How do I switch between different windows of the same program in OS X using keyboard
February 20, 2005 6:12 AM   Subscribe

How do I switch between different windows of the same program in OS X using the keyboard?

AppleKey+Tab cycles through different programs, but suppose I have a Firefox window open, plus its "Manage Bookmarks" window open, how do I switch between those two without having to hit F10, go to my trackpad, position the mouse over one of the windows and clicking?
posted by chill to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Cmd-~
posted by anathema at 6:18 AM on February 20, 2005

Response by poster: Brilliant, thanks.
posted by chill at 6:28 AM on February 20, 2005

Welcome to 'I've just got a Mac, where the hell are the keyboard shortcuts' thing (at least, that's what it sounds like). I've just spent the last three weeks going through the same thing with my Mac Mini.

You'll find it great fun after spending all weekend working on a Mac and then going back to work and spending time on a Windows machine. You'll probably spend all day trying to hit Cmd+Q to quit apps and Cmd+W to close app windows. It's even more fun if you live in the UK as the @ and " keys have been swapped over!

Hint: if you're looking for the # symbol, it's not marked on the keyboard, but it's ALT+3.
posted by TheDonF at 7:16 AM on February 20, 2005

Since the original question has already been answered: for windows, the shortcut key is Alt+F6.
posted by cameleon at 8:05 AM on February 20, 2005

Best answer: A few other OS-X keyboard shortcuts tips: The Apple List of shortcuts. The more complete Rixstep list. (That funny diagonal line icon is the Option key). Both contain the Cmd-` shortcut for switching between windows of the same app.

If you're looking for a nice keyboard-centric way to switch between all windows of all applications, I highly recommend Witch. There's a good review of it here from MacWorld.
posted by RecalcitrantYouth at 8:27 AM on February 20, 2005 [1 favorite]

And don't forget the handy (and oh-so-cool-looking) Exposé features... Pressing F9 shrinks all apps' open windows for you to pick from, F10 shows you just those of the current app, and F11 hides all apps to show you the desktop.

And Cmd-TAB lets you cycle between open apps.
posted by Robot Johnny at 8:34 AM on February 20, 2005

Oops -- now see in your question that you're familiat with Exposé already. Still uber-handy, tho!
posted by Robot Johnny at 8:36 AM on February 20, 2005

more tangental pile-on, but also notice that (with expose) if you hold [shift] key those things happen in slow... motion...

For no good reason that I can think of but "hey... that's kinda cool!"
posted by papercake at 9:09 AM on February 20, 2005

Response by poster: Your spot on TheDonF, I bought an iBook about 3 weeks and being the kind of user in Windows that does pretty much everything with the keyboard, it's been a pretty frustrating time! This question I asked here is I think the last thing that I hadn't figured out our found the solution elsewhere. And yes, I'm in the UK and use Windows at work so that @/" thing is pretty annoying.

I can recommend a great book that covers most things - The Missing Manual for Mac OS X. I note there is also one specifically for people switching from PC to Mac.

Thanks for the other tips folks.
posted by chill at 9:31 AM on February 20, 2005

Shift-3 is #--it is on the keyboard. Alt-3 is the pound sign (the english pound)
posted by amberglow at 9:58 AM on February 20, 2005

Response by poster: Maybe it is just a UK thing amberglow, but on my iBook, the symbol on the 3 key is £, and in order to use it, you hit alt-3 as you mentioned. With the other symbols on the number keys it is shift-n to use them. That's Apple's supposed usability for you.
posted by chill at 10:37 AM on February 20, 2005

If you want customise a bit more, uControl lets you remap keys, among other things (it's especially useful on a laptop).

Strange, Chill - Shift+3 gets me a £ on my UK iBook (Alt+3 being #, which is indeed unlabelled).
posted by jack_mo at 11:47 AM on February 20, 2005

Response by poster: You're right jack_mo, for some reason my keyboard was set to US English. Sorry for the slur, Apple!

I just installed Witch, it is perfect, I espcially like being able to switch to minimized programs.
posted by chill at 11:51 AM on February 20, 2005

When you say "alt," you mean "Option." Shift, Ctrl, Command, and Option are the modifier keys on Macs. Alt is listed for environments where you need Windows or Linux compatibility, like Virtual PC.

On the U.S., Canadian English, and Australian keyboards, £ is in fact Option-3.
posted by joeclark at 2:27 PM on February 20, 2005

Response by poster: It does actually have alt written on the key on my iBook, plus a meaningless symbol. I realise this is traditionally referered to as the "Option" key but presumably Apple are moving towards labelling it alt, as Option/Weird Symbol isn't exactly intuitive, especially to those of us coming from Windows world.
posted by chill at 3:15 PM on February 20, 2005

Note that Cmd-~ does not work in BBEdit Lite. (Well, it does, but it doesn't change windows.)
posted by oaf at 3:50 PM on February 20, 2005

i didn't know the keyboards were different--I have # above 3, and my key is alt/option together. sorry.

(it is weird tho--$ is shift-4--you'd think they'd have put it in the same place for £)
posted by amberglow at 10:40 AM on February 21, 2005

Cmd-~ works great in web-browsers to switch between windows (as shift-Cmd-Arrrow is great for moving between tabs in Safari), but as oaf pointed out, it doesn't work in all programs.

To the questioner ("chill"): Note that after hitting F10 in expose, you can use the arrow-keys to chose a window and then hit return to activate it. This will work anywhere (on a mac) and will keep you off the awful trackpad.
posted by nobody at 12:11 PM on February 22, 2005

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