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Is there an alt-tab replacement for Windows 7 that works in the same manner as command-tab and command-tick (tilde) on OS X?

Requirements:

1. Completely keyboard-shortcut-based, no mouse action should be necessary.

2. 2 keyboard shortcuts with the following behavior:

a.) alt+tab: cycles through open applications (NOT windows... applications, meaning even if i have 10 firefox windows open, I only want to see firefox once in the list that comes up when i hit this shortcut)

b.) alt+`: cycles through WINDOWS that are instances of the currently active application (meaning if firefox is my active window and i hit shortcut2, it will cycle through those 10 firefox windows, while ignoring any other windows from ANY other application).


Update 08:40 5/21: I tried out eidylon's suggestion, TopDesk. It doesn't provide any of the functionality described here. Other apps I've already tried:

  • VistaSwitcher
  • Switcher
  • Dexpot (awesome app, still using, but doesn't do what I want in this case... also looked for plugins but couldn't find one that does it)
  • UltraMon
  • Nvidia nView

update: Unfortunately I still haven't found a solution for this.

update: made this a community wiki in case anyone is ever able to find a solution for this.

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Not a solution, so here's a nifty tip: In the Mac OS X, you can press Command-Tilde (~) to switch between the windows of the currently open application. Third party software like Witch (manytricks.com/witch) can give your Mac a more Windows like window switching interface also. –  Kio Dane May 21 '10 at 14:03
    
Yes, I love that combo. As stated above, I can duplicate that functionality with VistaSwitcher, but not the command-tab behavior unfortunately. I edited the OP to be more clear on what functionality of OS X I'm trying to duplicate. –  Robert S Ciaccio May 21 '10 at 14:41
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The grass is always greener on the other side. I would love to have on Mac OS X the Cmd+Tab to behave as Alt+Tab on Windows. =( –  Sergio Acosta Jun 14 '10 at 8:27
    
I think there's some apps that will do that Sergio... Not positive but I remember seeing mention of one called "witch" or something that can be configured like that. –  Robert S Ciaccio Jun 17 '10 at 21:48
    
Have you tried in Dexpot the "Window catalog" ? –  harrymc Jul 3 '12 at 7:49
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14 Answers 14

Using AutoHotkey, you can get a Command-Tilde equivalent by mapping a shortcut to Alt+F6 (which switches windows of the current app, as Daniel Beck said).

I use the following simple script to do this (I map Alt+` (backquote), which is "!`" in AutoHotKey's syntax:

!`::
Send !{F6}
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Win+T cycles between the apps in the taskbar. Or press Win+T once and then use the left/right arrow keys to move between apps.

It's not quite the same behavior as Cmd+Tab because the Cmd+Tab list is dynamically updated to reflect the retrospective order in which the apps have been accessed, whilst the Windows taskbar order is manually controlled.

But its a matter of opinion as to whether that's a good thing or a bad thing.

I would also like to see a Cmd+Tab clone for Windows.

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Vista Switcher allows you to switch windows within an application. It even uses Alt+` for the hotkey to do so. Sadly it doesn't work the exact same as Command+Tab when pressing Alt+Tab. Instead it just behaves like regular Windows Alt+Tab.

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Thanks, this is what I've been using for quite awhile. It's really a great switcher, excepting that functionality you mentioned. I probably should contact the dev and request that feature. The only other thing abou VistaSwitcher is that it really slows down remote desktop. –  Robert S Ciaccio Sep 23 '11 at 0:21
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I happened to have written a script that does (almost) just the thing, using AutoHotkey. It's a lot closer than simply remapping ALT+` to ALT+F6.

http://www.autohotkey.com/board/topic/66588-cyclewindow/

If getting AutoHotkey set up with this code is too much overhead, just ask, and I will gladly post a lightweight compiled executable that will run in the background.

Otherwise, download cycleWindow.ahk and its dependency Thumbnail Lib.ahk, then execute the following AHK code to create your ALT+` hotkey:

#Include cycleWindow.ahk
!`::cycleCurrentWindow()

This switches windows of the same class, just like in Mac OS. However, Alt-Tab will still function as usual for Windows.

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This is I believe the only answer currently answering the question. Thanks much - as an AHK user, this works great :) –  enderland Apr 4 '13 at 21:34
    
@enderland Glad you like it! –  user1480704 May 17 '13 at 17:34
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I don't know if it fits your needs, but you could check these tips out: http://www.applesource.com.au/how-to/soa/How-to-Alt-tab-on-Mac-OS-X/0,2000451082,339287482,00.htm

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While this link is helpful for OS X, what I actually need is for some of the functionality discussed on that page to be available in Windows 7. –  Robert S Ciaccio May 21 '10 at 14:06
    
I'm sorry, I misread! –  BloodPhilia May 21 '10 at 14:19
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No problem, your answer showed me that I needed to clarify my OP. I edited and hopefully it makes more sense now :) –  Robert S Ciaccio May 21 '10 at 15:01
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Check out TopDesk from Otaku Software.

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This is more of a visual alt-tab replacement rather than a functional, behavioral replacement. Pretty cool for replicating expose though. –  Robert S Ciaccio May 21 '10 at 14:58
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Now, I know this method is mouse as opposed to keyboard, but it does replicate the same functionality somewhat (from what I can tell from your updated q, never used Mac myself), just a different means of getting to it. If you're not wedded to the idea of strict KB experience, it may help...

It will make it so clicking on the taskbar button in Win7 switch to the last active window of that app (switching applications) and clicking it repeatedly will cycle through the windows of that application in usage order.

For applications which do not open multiple documents as multiple taskbar buttons as say IE does (for example, FF without the secret switch on) you would still need to use CTRL-TAB as you said, but any app which actually opens tiles on the tasbar, this will work.

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That's a really cool trick. Still doesn't solve the fundamental issue though. Editing the OP to clarify some more. –  Robert S Ciaccio May 21 '10 at 17:50
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I don't know about the switching between open applications but if you do Ctrl+Tab you'll be able to switch between open windows of the same application. This works on Firefox, IE, Excel, Word, etc, etc.

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No, alt-tab in Windows switches between all open windows, not just windows of the same application. Do you mean ctrl-tab? –  Robert S Ciaccio May 21 '10 at 14:46
    
My bad, I did mean Ctrl+Tab. –  Hondalex May 21 '10 at 20:35
    
Doesn't Ctrl-Tab switch between Firefox tabs? –  Peter Jaric Aug 5 '10 at 15:59
    
Yes, and it also does in IE and any other app where you have something open within it. –  Hondalex Aug 5 '10 at 17:57
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You can use Alt+F6 to cycle through windows in a multi-window application. (untested, via @SansMouse). Should help with part of your question at least.

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You won't be able to do this (at least not without writing your own app) on Windows. Mac differentiates windows per-application, while Windows does not. This is why Alt+Tab and Alt+` are allowed. This is also why Expose supports current-app windows and all-windows modes of operation.

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There also isn't a simple rule for doing this, even based on title bar content, since apps tend to not follow a standard "content title - app title" vs "app title - content title". –  Andrew Scagnelli Aug 11 '10 at 18:02
    
unfortunately, sometimes the only answer is that there is no answer. –  Robert S Ciaccio Aug 12 '10 at 15:03
    
although I will point out that VistaSwitcher DOES know how to differentiate between windows per-application. So there must be some way of doing it (maybe not natively through a simple windows api). The thing that VistaSwitcher is lacking is an option to make alt-tab only switch applications and not all windows. So it has half the functionality I described... –  Robert S Ciaccio Oct 7 '10 at 0:02
    
Windows can tell what windows belong to what application—that's how on XP and Vista, it's able to group windows by application if the taskbar gets full. I think it does the same thing always on 7 as well, though I don't remember as clearly for that version. –  zpletan Sep 22 '11 at 17:45
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I found a solution! Follow the instructions here: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/16334/make-the-taskbar-buttons-switch-to-the-last-active-window-in-windows-7/

And, then if you press windows + # of what place the program is in the task bar, it will switch to the last window of that program. This works best for windows you've pinned to the task bar and therefore know what # they are. For example, windows + 3 switches between my two open chrome windows.

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Can you include the relevant parts of the answer here. Then if the link ever dies the answer is still useful. –  ChrisF Mar 20 '13 at 13:03
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Ohh... I was missing my Mac's ALT+` so much... But I have just found the Windows 7 equivalent: CTRL+F6

Google "CTRL F6" for more info.

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One more product to try : Alt-Tab Thingy, available for Windows XP, Vista & 7.

A short description is available here : Alt-Tab Thingy – Windows Task Switcher Alternative

image

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I'm not a Mac OS user, but have you tried Win+Tab? Significantly different than Alt+Tab and possibly to your liking.

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WinKey-Tab gives Flip3D, which is just a fancier Alt-Tab, on Vista and above. –  Andrew Scagnelli Aug 11 '10 at 17:54
    
correct, with a window-pane preview... yada yada –  Hardryv Aug 11 '10 at 22:31
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