How To Switch Windows with Your Keyboard

In Windows, when I press Alt-Tab, it switches me between all of my open web browser windows.

In Windows, when I press Alt-Tab, it switches me between all of my open web browser windows. However, when I press Command-Tab on the Mac, it switches me out of Safari and into a completely different application. How do I use the keyboard to switch between windows instead of applications?

As you’ve discovered, the Mac keyboard shortcut Command-Tab is used to switch between applications. To switch between windows of one application, you must first switch to that application, and then use Command- (tilde) to cycle through its open windows.


Witch takes application- and window-switching to a new level of awesome.

But don’t forget about Exposé (F9), which was designed to help you get to any window fast with either your mouse or your keyboard. It’s even better in Snow Leopard because it now shows your minimized windows too. You can customize Exposé to your liking in System Preferences > Exposé & Spaces.

And those aren’t the only ways to switch windows. You can always right-click an application’s Dock icon to select any of its open windows or look in the Window menu of any application. But for the ultimate option, we love the utility Witch ($19, manytricks.com), which gives you an unbelievable amount of control over switching windows on your Mac. Witch lets you assign keyboard shortcuts for virtually every conceivable application- and window-switching task you can dream of. You can cycle through all open windows in all open applications (even ones in other Spaces), add visual feedback when switching through open windows in your current application, switch between minimized windows, and much more.