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I want to cycle trough the windows of the currently active application on Mac OS X. Some applications respond to Ctrl + Tab but they all seem to do something else. I want to switch between the Entourage mainscreen and the message I am writing for instance. Is there a such a keyword shortcut?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 26 down vote accepted

Command + ` (the ~ key) works with many programs.

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OK, so I have to ask, how do you get the key effect? –  Gareth Simpson Jul 15 '09 at 9:15
The HTML tag "KBD" is allowed. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1777/… –  Stephen Jennings Jul 15 '09 at 9:30
This seems to work only in English keyboards ? I have a Japanese keyboard and the <kbd>Command</kbd> + <kbd>`</kbd> does nothing for me. I defined <kbd>Ctrl</kbd>+<kbd>Tab</kbd> in Settings > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts > Keyboard & Text input > Move focus to next window –  nacho4d Oct 6 '11 at 4:58

There is a piece of shareware called Witch that emulates Windows alt+tab. It shows all windows in all applications, sorted by application. It costs €9.95.

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Also Optimal Layout which is in the App Store –  Mark Jun 28 '11 at 21:22

Depends on the application but most of them support:

  • Command + Shift + [

  • Command + Shift + ]

for switching between tabs.

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this, but no Shift for me. –  user1190 Feb 12 '13 at 17:15
Without shift it goes back and forward in a browser. –  LeakyCode Feb 17 '13 at 21:30

It depends on your settings. Default settings depend on your locale.

See System Preferences -> Keyboard and Mouse -> Keyboard Shortcuts to see what the keys are on your system for e.g. "Move focus to next window in active application"

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Thought I'll consolidate the various responses for this:

  1. To switch focus between windows in the current application, use CMD + ` combination (like multiple ppt files opened)
  2. To switch between applications use CMD + TAB combination
  3. To switch between tabs within an application (like Chrome), use CMD + Shift + [ (OR) CMD + Shift + ]
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Use CMD + `. It switches focus between windows in the current application. To switch between applications use CMD + TAB.

Not quite the same as Windows' switching between all active windows, but close enough once you get used to the distinction.

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