I often use the Cmd+Tab shortcut to switch between different applications (for example: Xcode and Google Chrome), but is there a shortcut to switch between different windows of the same application (for example, from one window in Google Chrome, to another)?

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  • Thank you for the answers so far (and for moving the question to the correct forum). I found the "backtick key", but the "command + backtick" command didn't work. I forgot to mention my computer is a Macbook with a "japanese keys layout" : the backtick is located on the top of the "@" key, to the immediate right of the "P" key. To type a backtick I have to press "shift+@" so I tried "Command+Shift+@" but it didn't work. I think there might be a way to enable some shortcuts on a japanese Mac but I cannot find how. – wip Jun 19 '11 at 15:23
  • You don't have "instances of the same application". You have windows. – Daniel Beck Jun 20 '11 at 6:34
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    There is a duplicate of this QA on Ask Different, which also includes other keyboard language layouts - for info apple.stackexchange.com/questions/193937/… – Tetsujin Jan 1 '18 at 15:18

The default shortcut is Cmd` (that's a backtick).

You can always change that shortcut if the given one does not work out for you. Go to System Preferences → Keyboard → Keyboard Shortcuts.

Here, assign a custom combination to

  • Keyboard » Move focus to next window (under OS X 10.9 and above)

    Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Keyboard » Move focus to the next window in application (until OS X 10.8)

    Keyboard Shortcuts

This will allow you to toggle between the open windows of any application.


Cmd` works only if all windows are on the same workspace (comment @thias)

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    Not only you can change the keyboard shortcut, but the dialog will give the most correct answer for the OP and hishers keyboard locale. For example + < is the system default in Finnish locale that I'm using and "command backtick" answers wouldn't work. – Jari Keinänen Jun 20 '11 at 12:16
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    I wish I understand what Apple was thinking there. The same justification used for making all the other shortcuts configurable could be used to toward making that one configurable as well. – BHSPitMonkey Mar 12 '13 at 6:41
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    is there anything that works between different workspaces (cmd+backtick works only if all windows are on the same workspace) – thias May 5 '13 at 13:36
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    I don't think your answer works for the latest versions of Mac OS X. I'm using 10.9.3 myself with norwegian keyboard layout. I'm not able to add new shortcuts under Keyboard. I can under App shortcuts, however that does not work with the given text «Move focus to the next window in application». – Andreas Åkre Solberg Jun 30 '14 at 12:07
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    @DanDascalescu exactly! Apparently you have to cmd' + tab let off the keys and then cmd' + ``` to cycle through each instance of your choice. This is crazy. – TR3B Dec 24 '16 at 16:16

command backtick

+ `

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    Yes, on a US keyboard. On my non-US-keyboard it is not so obvious, since backtick is located on a combined 'accent' key. So to get a backtick I need to press Shift-accent. So switching to the next window is Cmd-Shift-Accent. Now, how do I switch to the previous window? Cmd-Shift-Shift-Accent? – Vidar Ramdal Mar 3 '16 at 9:30
  • @VidarRamdal Even if you had an US keyboard, it wouldn't be possible to move to the previous window, because (as you can see in the settings by yourself) there is no shortcut for "move to previous window". – winklerrr Sep 7 '16 at 20:10
  • Help me please: the second key What is (Right Side of P letter, Right Side of 0 "Zero")? – chepe lucho Sep 12 '16 at 22:15

This is what I found on my default US english keyboard setting.

  1. Toggle between Different Apps -> Command + Tab

  2. Toggle between Same App in Same Workspace -> Command + `

  3. Toggle between Same App across different Workspace:

    1. View same App windows across All Workspaces -> Control + Down Arrow
    2. Then select with arrow keys or click the app window you want.
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    Yes. This should be on top. This concept of windows vs apps vs workspaces is confusing. – Peter Feb 10 '16 at 14:42
  • For #3, after cntrl + down you can hit tab to toggle applications, then use arrow keys to select the window you want. – OIS Jul 20 '17 at 15:21

So I have found that sometimes certain applications do not want to cycle through the different open windows using Cmd+Tab or Cmd+' - VMware is one example, especially when one of the windows has been minimized to the dock. So what I have found is using expose to view all windows helps - there is a mouse gesture for this which is a four finger clinch I think - or F3.
Then you can select which window you want to view.

Hope this helps!


I'm on Mavericks and I was looking for a keyboard shortcut to quickly switch between tabs in Chrome. Cmd +` didn't work for me, although I made sure it was correctly setup in System Preferences → Keyboard → Keyboard Shortcuts. What I found is that Ctrl + Tab works! So for me it's Cmd + Tab to switch between applications, and Ctrl + Tab to switch between the same application's windows, try this if other suggested solutions don't work.

  • I'm on Yosemite and Ctrl + tab was only one working for me, thank you for that. But it doesn't seem to work for terminal instances.... Still trying to find out what to do there. – eis Oct 2 '15 at 8:12
  • Can update 4 years later; I think newer MacOS' use control + tab now. Seems more intuitive. – Aryaman Dec 11 '18 at 16:50

On my Macbook Air, with OSX Lion, to switch application windows:



Funnily enough, the option 'Move focus to next window in application' has gone from System Prefs → Keyboard → Keyboard and text input. I just played around with various keys until I found the right one!

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    "Move focus to next window in application" was just renamed to "Move focus to next window" in Lion. ⌘F6? What locale or keyboard layout do you use? – Lri Oct 28 '11 at 5:39
  • Hooooooorayyyy thank you! I couldn't do this in Mountain Lion. It turns out I thought it didn't work, because I had the same key bound to the two window switch shortcuts, and even though the first one was disabled (un-checked), it prevented the other one from working. – user30033 Sep 16 '12 at 15:50

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