On OS X, if I cmd-tab between applications without a window open (say, Chrome after I've closed all current windows), I will be able to switch to that application but no new window will open; to open a new one, I will thus have to press cmd-n or something of that sort.

I can accomplish all of the above by using the cmd-opt-tab shortcut, which will open a new window if there isn't one, but that is much harder to press. So the question is:

How can I make this the default behavior?

  • 1
    An older (unsupported) OS X application, LiteSwitch X, had an option that would allow this. – Chauncey Garrett Apr 17 '12 at 15:59
  • You've already found the easiest workaround – I don't believe there's anything better. Maybe Witch does it? Haven't tried it yet. – slhck Apr 17 '12 at 19:32

The app Hyperswitch (in development) replicates the functionality I lost with the abandonment of LiteSwitch X and will open new windows if none are open while switching to an app via CMD-TAB.

  • I would call closed applications without window, zombie apps, and it is insane when Alt+Tab brings up a zombie app – dashesy Mar 20 '13 at 6:15
  • Depends on the load time of the application... – Chauncey Garrett May 1 '13 at 17:56
  • Additionally, if I use a program often and close several open files before opening new ones, I don't want to have to find the application in my dock, search for in my application launcher / spotlight, etc. CMD-TAB is (for me) often the easiest way to get to a new window. – Chauncey Garrett May 1 '13 at 18:20

Third party software is probably the only way to make it a default.

But, in case you don't know it, there is a way to open a hidden app, aka an app with no open windows in the task switcher:

  • cmd-tab, to bring up task switcher
  • tab, to select the app
  • roll finger from 'cmd' to 'option'

It is a bit of a tricky finger move, but it does work. Sadly, the fact that the window isn't obviously hidden while in the task switcher does mean the user needs to keep track of which apps have windows and which don't....

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