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How do I easily switch to an open folder on a Mac?

In Windows, which I'm used to using, I can see all my opened folders in my vertical taskbar, all I need to do to switch to another window is click on the folder in the task bar.

There's no taskbar on a Mac, and when I have a lot of folders opened, ie. lots of Finder windows, how can I switch between them?

The way I'm doing it is, I put expose on an active corner and switch that way. However that's still damn hard, because first I have to bring up expose, and then find my window. The folders are placed in a random position between opened apps, the folders are not in a list, and on a big screen I have to scan the whole screen in order to find the one I want... etc.

Is it really this hard just to switch to a different folder on a Mac?

Is there a taskbar solution on a Mac?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 0 down vote accepted

Using Finder:

Finder's built-in keyboard shortcut is Command-` (backtick). This will cycle through your open windows. Alternatively there is the Window menu (Thanks @David Rouse)

Using Exposé:

Depending on the keyboard you have you have a couple options. These are also modified in the Exposé preference pane in System Preferences. You can see a picture of the newer style keyboard layout at Gizmodo.

  • "Normal"/Older style Apple keyboards without the Exposé and Dashboard symbols on F3 and F4:
    • F9 will show all windows available from any application.
    • F10 will show all the windows available from the frontmost application only.
    • F11 will show your Desktop.
  • Newer style Apple keyboards with the Exposé and Dashboard symbols on F3 and F4
    • F3 will show all windows available from any application
    • Control-F3 will show all windows available from the frontmost application only.
    • Command-F3 will show your Desktop
    • Option-F3 will bring up the Exposé preference pane.
  • Or just set your hot corner action to "Application Windows" instead of "All Windows" if you prefer to mouse.

Using Witch:

If you're looking for something like the Command-Tab switcher but for windows instead of applications check out Witch. Version 3.0 was just released.

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Just a note, cmd-` works for every Mac application to cycle through windows, not just the Finder. –  khedron Apr 13 '10 at 22:42
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If you're running Snow Leopard, click-and-hold on the finder icon in the taskbar. It will Expose all of, and only, your finder windows. This works for any task, BTW.

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Great tip, is there any way to get the expose to happen faster? –  Charles Apr 11 '10 at 15:15
    
ALso is there any way to get expose to behave like a list, rather than a preview, so I don't have to drag my eyes across the full screen to see the items. –  Charles Apr 11 '10 at 15:37
    
I'm not aware of a way to do either. –  JRobert Apr 11 '10 at 20:53
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Actually, right click works well. Thanks. –  Charles Apr 13 '10 at 5:30
    
@charles if Finder is focused, you can Ctrl+F3 to Expose only the Finder. It works with whatever app is focused. –  Loïc Wolff Apr 13 '10 at 20:13
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Not exactly what you are asking for, but:

1) The Finder has a "Window" menu and a list by name of all of your open Finder windows will appear at the bottom of the menu. Unfortunately, two clicks instead of one -- but the names of the folders are less likely to be truncated.

2) If you have several folders that you normally switch between -- drag the folders to the Finder's sidebar under "Places." Then you can click to switch between folders (while only keeping one window open), drag items between folders, etc. A nice side benefit is that these folders will also appear in open and save dialog boxes.

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You can hit Apple+` (backtick/accent and tilde key) to switch between that applications windows.

To switch between applications you can hit Apple+Tab which will cycle through applications.

In response to your edit, there isn't a reason I can think of to ever want a task bar like Windows. Learn to use your keyboard and you'll never even need to click on applications in the dock.

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Thanks, great tip, still, what if you're not on a folder. Also toggling through folders is still not quite ideal, or very speedy at all. –  Charles Apr 11 '10 at 2:44
    
What do you mean, not on a folder? You mean on Finder? Updated answer. –  Josh K Apr 11 '10 at 3:23
    
@josh: i think you mean "backtick"; "accent" might be a proper term too so i left both in. the kbd tags make it a little easier to see. –  quack quixote Apr 11 '10 at 4:07
    
I use apple tab and alt tab all the time. But seriously you're not suggesting to go from chrome to a specific finder window I need to first apple tab to it and then apple tilde to the folder whereas I could just click on one item on a taskbar? –  Charles Apr 11 '10 at 4:12
    
If you have so many Finder folders open you can't just Apple+Tab to it then the task bar isn't going to help anyways. I'm 100% faster then any other mouse tied Windows user. Not to sound condescending, but the keyboard is the way to go on this. –  Josh K Apr 11 '10 at 5:27
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