Previous questions have asked "how can I efficiently switch between windows, not applications, in OS X"? (Switching windows on OS X, Switch between windows on Mac OS X? and others). The most recommended suggestions seem to be:
- Use some combo of cmd-tab and cmd-~.
- Use Expose, and possibly Spaces
- Use Witch
I spent the money on Witch, and have been using it for a few weeks; it's ok, but it is sometimes slow to respond, sometimes buggy on window order, crashes my system if I disable and re-enable it too many times, and doesn't work properly with X11 apps.
The built-in cmd-tab and cmd-~ are ok, but still bring an entire application to the forefront. I find a very common workflow I use is to bounce back and forth between two windows (for example, a browser window and a Thunderbird email in progress), when both apps (the browser and email software) have multiple windows open. I can use Cmd-Tab to get back and forth between apps, but whenever I switch to an app, ALL windows from that app pop up. That suddenly fills my screen with irrelevant data and windows, and often drops those other windows in front of the single window from the other app that I was using and would conveniently like to keep viewing even though it isn't in focus.
Expose seems to be the preferred "OS X natural way," but I can't seem to get myself to use it efficiently. I hit F9, and see 10 windows; I then need to squint, try to find the window I want, then use the mouse or the cursor keys to navigate to the one I want. Given the number of power users who say they use Expose, I must be missing the boat here.
My goal is not to make this a repeat of previous questions. I'm not asking "what are my alternatives?" (unless I've missed one above!) Rather, I'm asking: what are you, OS X power users, actually doing to handle the use case I described above? Another common use case for me is having multiple Excel spreadsheets open and multiple browser windows open, and I'm rapidly switching back and forth between one spreadsheet in particular and one browser window. Every time I Cmd-Tab, all spreadsheets or all browser windows appear: I don't want to see the ones I'm not working with, and they tend to hide the windows from the alternative app that I don't have in focus but I'd like to at least eyeball. Can you describe what your workflow is like, and how you rapidly and thoughtlessly switch between windows from apps that have multiple windows open?