This question applies to both Windows and Mac OS X because I intend to use my mouse (Logitech G700) with both of them.

The idea is I want one of my configurations to use two of my buttons to switch applications. However binding them to Alt/Cmd+Tab and Shift+Alt/Cmd+Tab is not good because the former functions as a toggle, and the latter cycles (in an unpredictable order). What I want is to move through my open applications in a circular buffer order.

Do either of these OS's provide any keyboard shortcut that accomplishes this?

I could live with just Alt/Cmd+Tab set to one button, but it limits me to being able to switch between only two programs.

2 Answers 2


For Windows if you have Aero you can do Win+Tab however it is just the same thing as Alt Tab but with fancier switching.

and the latter cycles (in an unpredictable order). What I want is to move through my open applications in a circular buffer order.

It is a predictable order and it is a circular buffer, however it is a sorted Circular buffer. The sort order is the order last accessed.

As for other methods of switching referencing this KB article

  • CTRL+TAB: Switch to the next child window of a Multiple Document Interface (MDI) program
  • ALT+F6: Switch between multiple windows in the same program (for example, when the Notepad Find dialog box is displayed, ALT+F6 switches between the Find dialog box and the main Notepad window)
  • CTRL+Win+TAB: Moves focus from Start, to the Quick Launch toolbar, to the system tray (use RIGHT ARROW or LEFT ARROW to move focus to items on the Quick Launch toolbar and the system tray)
  • Win+TAB: Cycle through taskbar buttons

For Mac commands you will need to ask somone else.

  • I didn't know about Alt+F6 or Ctrl+Win+Tab. Thanks. I guess there's no counterpart to Alt+Shift+Tab to go the other direction in the circular buffer? That's what I would need to be able to quickly switch between 3 apps. Using the keyboard lets you hold down the Alt to go one further to hit the third app but with a mouse button alone this can't be done.
    – Steven Lu
    Jun 22, 2012 at 3:44
  • minimum windows version?
    – n611x007
    Nov 5, 2012 at 7:35
  • @naxa The bottom of the Knowledge base article I link to shows the versions of windows that support these commands, it appears to be windows 95 to Windows 7. It does not list windows 8 (or Win 98) so some of the commands may not work on all windows versions. Check the list to see if you system is listed. Nov 5, 2012 at 14:48
  • Alt+F6 doesn't work on my Notepad or Notepad++
    – phuclv
    Feb 4, 2019 at 9:48

You can use Windows+numeric keys to select the task and if there are multiple instances of a single app you can easily swicth with the arrow keys with holding the key combination I told you.

Like if you press the Windows+2 it will switch to the second open app in the list of taskbar.

  • This is neat too. Though not useful for binding to a single mouse button.
    – Steven Lu
    Jun 22, 2012 at 14:05
  • @StevenLu why you want to bind it with mouse button? If you want to do that then only AutoHotKey will help you regarding this.
    – avirk
    Jun 22, 2012 at 14:07
  • I guess the title of my question is inconsistent with my end goal. I actually have even more constraints than I indicated because the Logitech software doesn't even work on the Mac so I need to use the same bindings on both systems. Since Alt+Tab on a Mac does nothing (It's Cmd+Tab to switch apps, and there isn't even a way to specify Cmd in Setpoint) I'm pretty much just screwed.
    – Steven Lu
    Jun 22, 2012 at 14:16
  • No you can't use same bindings for the both OS as Windows and Mac have big difference. AHK script doesn't support the Mac otherwise it was very easy.
    – avirk
    Jun 22, 2012 at 14:19
  • Is it possible to display number on the application icon on the task-bar? When I run more than 5 applications, it's not easy to figure out which number to press.
    – Nick
    Jan 9, 2015 at 10:23

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