Tips & Tricks: Working with Multiple Applications at Once

June 1, 2009 in How-To, Tips & Tricks by Bob Faulhaber

In Mac OS X, you can keep several applications and windows open at once. You can just single click the icon in the Dock, but there are also some shortcuts available to switch between these applications quickly and easily.

From within any application you can bring up a floating menu, like the one shown below and select the application you want to switch to with just a few keystrokes.


To open the Application Switcher, press and hold down the Command key, then hit the Tab key once, while continuing to hold the Command key. This will display the Switcher as shown above, with all your active applications.

To cycle through the icons from left to right, tap the Tab key. Remember to continue holding the Command key.

To cycle through the icons from right to left, while holding down the Command key, also hold down the Shift key and tap the Tab key.

Another way to select the application is to use your mouse. You don’t have to click, just hover over it to highlight.

When the application you want is highlighted, just let go of the keys and that application will come forward as the active application. Keep in mind, if there is no window currently open for that application it will look like nothing happened - but check the application menu to see what is active.