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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock Desktop
Don't know if this is known: If one holds down Command and presses tab, a transparent dock with big icons of running apps appears in the middle of the screen with holding the tab key the cursor runs thru all active apps unless one let go! Nice!


[robg adds: If that's all there was to it, it probably wouldn't be hint-worthy. But this new application switcher has some extra tricks hidden up its sleeve. While still holding Command down, Tab to any given application in the list, then hit H. The highlighted application will hide. Hit Q instead, and it will quit (assuming there are no unsaved changes). It was reported in some builds that M also minimized the app, but that seems to have vanished in the final release. Pressing Shift and then Tab (while still holding the Command key, of course) will cycle backwards amongst the open applications.

Also, if you have the mouse in the switcher area (the shaded portion of the screen), simply drag the mouse left and right to scroll amongst apps.

The presence of the switcher (which looks a lot like Lite Switch X from Proteron!) is a boon for those of us who keep the dock hidden -- no longer does it come to the foreground when you use Command-Tab. Only the switcher pops into view.]
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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock | 49 comments | Create New Account
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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: aranor on Oct 25, '03 12:20:35AM

Erm, the Cmd-H and Cmd-Q tidbits were also present in the 10.2-and-earlier incarnation using the dock.



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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: parakleta on Oct 25, '03 10:37:15AM

Is there anyway to fix these bindings. I use a Dvorak layout, and it requires me to press the qwerty keys to get the desired results.

and something off topic - how do I leave a comment rather than a reply..?



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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: robg on Oct 25, '03 10:44:13AM

Click the "reply" button in the bar just below the story.

-rob.



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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: parakleta on Oct 25, '03 11:26:37AM

: smacks forehead :

I was looking for a link, not a rendered button.

hehe...

sorry.



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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: simpgeek on Oct 29, '03 09:31:02PM

It works differently now. You can hit command-tab, keep holding command and hit H or Q then keep hitting tab, cycle though all apps hidding or quitting any you please.



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LiteSwitch
Authored by: frankko on Oct 25, '03 12:29:45AM

It does look at lot like LiteSwitch, doesn't it?

While there hasn't been an official update for Panther, the current version of LiteSwitch works fine, completely over-riding OS X's built-in "homage", let's call it. (LiteSwitch Lite?)

A lot of the key commands mentioned in this hint apply to LiteSwitch, too, although to back-cycle in LS, all you have to hit is cmd+shift, not cmd+shift+tab. And don't forget f,f to Force Quit and f,r to Force Relaunch.



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LiteSwitch
Authored by: aranor on Oct 26, '03 01:08:23AM

I'm pretty sure the cmd-shift to cycle back thing worked for the Dock in Jaguar. I'm surprised it's not available in Panther.



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LiteSwitch
Authored by: greener on Oct 27, '03 08:32:40AM

the Cmd-Shift functionality was available in early builds of Panther



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LiteSwitch
Authored by: babbage on Oct 27, '03 11:40:03AM

Every version of OSX has had cmd+tab to switch forward, and cmd+shift+tab to switch backwards. The Panther behavior is similar to the Jaguar behavior, but with a different visual interface, but the keystroke hasn't changed since even the Public Beta.

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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: bluehz on Oct 25, '03 12:44:31AM

Has anyone found a pref for this - it is a pretty good replacement for LiteSwitch (which no longer functions properly in Jaguar, at least teh version I have) but I would like to be able to make the icons smaller. They are HUGE and obtrusive!



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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: tvh13 on Oct 25, '03 01:05:49AM

I have been using Launchbar for some time now. It offers this app and a lot more. One feature that I like is that hitting command-space will bring up the last app used so you can switch back and forth between two apps very quickly. There is a lot more to Launchbar check it out.



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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: aranor on Oct 26, '03 01:09:53AM

Erm, cmd-tab defaults to the last application you were using, so you can press Cmd-tab to switch to the last application. Press it again to switch back.

And if you press it fast enough, the switcher never even comes up, so it's nice and fast.



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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: jcrossley on Oct 25, '03 03:12:14AM

I also find that when the "active apps" are showing, the scroll wheel on my mouse will move the selection, even if the cursor is not on the dark gray oval.



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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: Dale Sorel on Oct 25, '03 03:17:34AM

Nice tip...works for me as well.



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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: markf21 on Oct 25, '03 07:49:43AM

If you have a multi-function mouse with a clickable scroll wheel you can activate the cmd-tab function as well and scroll through your active apps. Pretty cool.



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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: TvE on Oct 25, '03 05:26:47AM

It's nice - but I'd still go for LiteSwitch due to all the other exra features - especially the "A" for hide OTHER app's

I have had no problems with LiteSwitch 2.0 in Panther.

Ohh - I am also a heavy user of LaunchBar (3.2.12 is the latest and is also working in panther.

While we're at it my third favorite 3rd party thing is Cee Pee You (shows the current CPU usage-% in the menu without a large CPU load :) is also working in Panther



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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: clabough on Oct 25, '03 06:08:34AM

you can also, in general, Cmd+Option+H to hide all other apps



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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: clabough on Oct 25, '03 05:51:50AM

You can also just use the arrow keys to move it.



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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: clabough on Oct 25, '03 06:05:24AM

Oh yeah and instead of using Cmd+Shift+Tab to go to the left you can do Cmd +~. And Home and End will put you at the far left or far right.



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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: elmimmo on Oct 26, '03 03:58:07PM

Well Apple ever consider that THERE IS NO ~ KEY IN NON-US KEYBOARDS!!! (well, in Spanish ones at least)



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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: babbage on Oct 27, '03 12:01:29PM
I bought my iBook from a Spaniard, so it's got the Spanish keyboard. The ~ key gets used A LOT by me in the command line (it's a shortcut for your home directory, and you basically can't write Perl without using the tilde), so I had to hunt around to find it. On the Spanish iBook keyboard, there is a key next to the left [shift] key labelled [ < / > ] (that is, the < less than and > greater than characters, with < over >). I'm using the US keyboard layout, and it treats this key as a ~ instead of a < or > (those characters are over by the right [shift] key, like on a US keyboard). This may be more cumbersome than helpful, but if you need to produce that character on a Spanish (portable) keyboard, it may make sense to go into the International settings in System Preferences, and turn on the USA keyboard mapping in addition to Spanish. You'll end up with a menubar icon with the Spanish or American flag, and can toggle between them. In the US keyboard layout, the ~ should be either with the [ < / > ] key on a portable (you may have to hit [shift] as well, I forget at the moment), or it may be the almost-top left key on the keyboard, under the [esc] key, on a desktop keyboard -- or at least, that's the position of the key in the USA. Hope this helps...

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DO NOT LEAVE IT IS NOT REAL


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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: el bid on Oct 25, '03 06:56:23AM

Excellent hint, thanks.

Using Shift-Tab to move backwards through the list while also having to hold down Command is a bit of a finger-twister. Happily, on my UK keyboard at least, the key immediately above Tab doubles as Shift-Tab in this context

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el bid



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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: el bid on Oct 25, '03 06:59:07AM

>(which looks a lot like Lite Switch X from Proteron!)

But of course Proteron cribbed it directly from Windows XP. :-)

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el bid



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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: gvitale on Nov 04, '03 06:44:01AM

It was there already in '95



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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: flognoth on Oct 25, '03 02:00:37PM

Does anyone know a way to change the keystroke from cmd-tab to option-tab? I'm a fan of Keyboard Maestro and Lightswitch. I'm also used to that key combination and it would be nice to change it to option for panther's built in Application Switcher.



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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: M2 on Oct 26, '03 10:14:33AM

I use KM too... and I had used PullTab in the past to override the Command-Tab of the Dock Application Switcher. The author recently released an update for Panther - http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/11060 - it requires APE from Unsanity, but it currently works just fine.

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Tabbing order?
Authored by: EvanE on Oct 25, '03 02:07:03PM

Does this stick with the Dock's (effectively arbitrary) tabbing order, or does it adopt the far-more-useful convention of both LiteSwitch X and <shudder>Windoze</shudder> whereby the tabbing order is determined by the which app was most recently used?

So far, as a registered user of LiteSwitch X, and a non-Panther user (I'm saving up to buy a G5), what y'all have told me seems to point to two conclusions:

1) Apple owes Proteron some royalties.
2) I'll probably keep on using LiteSwitch X when I make the (highly-anticipated) switch to Panther, as it offers everything Apple's new Cmd-Tabbing does, and a little bit more).

Evan Evanson



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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: benfsmith on Oct 25, '03 06:04:41PM

FWIW, the guy who wrote Lite Switch X for Proteron was a student at BYU. He was hired after graduation this past year by Apple. He would never say exactly what he has been working on there, but I'm sure that this was his contribution.



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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: encro on Oct 26, '03 08:25:59AM

There seems to be a lack of truth in your post.

Proteron posted an open letter to Apple regarding 3rd Party idea theft:

http://www.proteron.com/liteswitchx/openmemo.php

IMO, I disagree with Samuel Caughron (Proteron) on his comments regarding LiteSwitch in contrast tosomething like Karelia's Watson.

Where Sherlock's focus was changed completely to emulate a revolutionary solution already available from Karelia. Something like LiteSwitch did not require much imagination given the similarity to a function that has been on Windows for quite a while.

Should Microsoft sue Proteron for stealing ideas that advantage the competion? Ok, being a bit silly on that point.

The point is Mac OS X is still such a new OS that is too close to natural progression for Proteron to be disapointed with for using a similar feature.



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Proteron's still #1
Authored by: Thom on Oct 26, '03 04:53:50PM

How long did I have to wait for Panther to come out while not having the app switching power that I was accustomed to?

I had LiteSwitch for OS 9 back in the day. I thought it was a pretty nice implementation of Windows' app-switching behavior -- and would like to point out that while the concept may have originated with Microsoft, these guys still had to code it from scratch. They've done a lot of hard work and added many features since that original Classic version.

After a brief affair with Keyboard Maestro (the 'launch favorite apps' feature was nice, until I switched to using LaunchBar), I went back to Proteron's version because it was the most powerful and well thought-out. And still is... I'll continue to use it in Panther too.



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OT: BYU
Authored by: terceiro on Oct 26, '03 11:40:20AM

A Mac user at BYU? The horror! Cecil will put a stop to that... ;)

On topic: I don't think Apple owes Proteron any money. It's not like they swiped the code... and even Proteron doesn't say as much. So they _look_ the same -- that's not the same thing as a blatant swipe.

However, if they put in, for example, the nifty fast-app-launch of LaunchBar (of which there is no existing precedent in the OS) without credit, that would be another thing. That would be bad.



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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: jimhoyt on Oct 25, '03 06:52:02PM

This gets even better!

The "list" seems to be kept, left to right, in the order of most to least-recently-used application. The highlighted item is the second from the left so quickly pressing Command-Tab repeatedly will switch back and forth between the last-used applications.

Do it quickly and the list doesn't even show up. Now THAT'S thoughtful. :-)



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10.3: How do I switch apps AND HIDE the background apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: ButchAnton on Oct 25, '03 06:57:51PM

Does anybody know how to automagically hide the other apps when you switch to a new one (sort of like holding down option when switching under some other switching methods in the past)? I'd prefer to not have to use an extra modifier in addition to command-tab if possible (i.e. hiding the other apps should be the default behavior).



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10.3: How do I switch apps AND HIDE the background apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: TvE on Oct 26, '03 03:45:41PM

With LiteSwitch you just hit the "A" key when you have tabbed to the app you want in front



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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: lowmagnet on Oct 25, '03 07:31:35PM

Interesting, even though it doesn't use the keyboard mapping currently in use. I use a Dvorak keyboard configuration, and the application switcher fails to respect this.



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10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
Authored by: ricardob on Oct 25, '03 10:12:06PM
You may also want to try a free app I made a while ago, it is called FreeHotkeys and it switches to whatever app you type the first letter of its name. Like option-command-m switches to Mail. option-command-e to Excel, and so on. You can also run a script instead and do whatever you want.

http://macshareware.net/modules.php?name=Downloads&d_op=viewdownloaddetails&lid=39&ttitle=FreeHotKeys

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does task switcher act as a drag target?
Authored by: garbanzito on Oct 25, '03 11:33:39PM

one of LiteSwitch's best stealth features is that one can start dragging a file (or snippet), activate LiteSwitch with command-tab, then drop the dragged item onto any of the application icons.. i use this fairly often and i really like it (particluarly since i don't use Dock at all)

so, since i haven't installed Panther yet, if this drag feature is included in Panther's switcher, consider this post an auxilliary hint.. if it isn't in Panther's switcher, consider this one more reason to use LiteSwitch instead



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does task switcher act as a drag target?
Authored by: aranor on Oct 26, '03 01:13:18AM

If you try to drag to an icon, you get the symbol meaning the drag won't work, even if the application would accept it. And letting go on the application cancels the drag and switches to that app.



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does task switcher act as a drag target?
Authored by: garbanzito on Oct 26, '03 11:57:58AM

okay so that's a major knock against Apple's implementation.. i'll stick with LiteSwitch



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does task switcher act as a drag target?
Authored by: mithras on Oct 27, '03 12:44:44AM

you almost got it.

do this:
drag
command-tab
drag on top of the target app (which selects it)
let go of command tab (keep mouse button down)
then release the drag over the target app's window

works fine!

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Listen To My iTunes Library (6500+ songs, iTunes 4 required)



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does task switcher act as a drag target?
Authored by: akinspe on Oct 27, '03 10:48:27AM
Ahh. But what I think he meant was.. i.e.

  • Take a text file/image file, etc. Start Dragging it
  • Hold down cmd-tab to bring up list of apps
  • Drop the file onto the app icon, thus opening it.
  • As far as I can tell, you cannot do that. Would be nice though.

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    Does task switcher act as a drag target?
    Authored by: MJCube on Mar 01, '10 02:37:44PM

    I just discovered this works in 10.5. Iím submitting a new hint about it.



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    10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
    Authored by: kmunoz on Oct 27, '03 07:26:44PM

    The big problem for me is that I use the Dvorak keyboard layout, and the switcher doesn't recognize the remapped command keys. Most of Panther, just like Jaguar, recognizes them just fine. There are only two places where it's weird: the Dock hiding toggle is opt-cmd-E (which in Dvorak is the D key) - is this the same for everyone? - and with the switcher, the hiding key is D (which in Dvorak is the H key).



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    10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
    Authored by: stewby on Oct 27, '03 11:12:06PM

    Yes, d and ' are the hide and quit for Dvorak; I've already submitted feedback to Apple about it (but the more the merrier). They have something of a history of this... In Jaguar (I haven't checked in panther) many of the accessibilty keys, like the Command + and Command - to do screen zooming also failed to recognize Dvorak. I wonder if this affects all non-US keyboards?



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    Disabling this floating window app switcher?
    Authored by: bobinabottle on Nov 04, '03 01:26:06AM

    Does anyone know how to change it so you can use the dock as the app switcher in panther?

    The way this floating window thing works pisses me off, i much preferred using the dock through command-tab and also for them to be in the right order (as in the dock) not in order of levels.

    Anyone know of a way to do this?



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    Focus Follows mouse in the Switcher
    Authored by: Diggory on Nov 25, '03 06:11:34AM

    I've just noticed something with the new App Switcher - you can select apps in the list with the mouse! Try it out - Hold Command - press tab - then keep the Command button held down - the focus of the switching thing follows your mouse.

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    monkeyfood software - http://www.monkeyfood.com



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    Bug - ignores keyboard mapping
    Authored by: elmer-12 on Nov 25, '03 09:13:19AM

    There is a bug in this - if I use Dvorak keyboard mapping/layout, then Q should be activated by pressing the key marked X. For example, pressing Cmd-X as labeled quits the current application. In Cmd-Tab switching this is not the case. Q is still activated by pressing the key marked Q. No surprise - Speech Commands and a few other obscure keyboard shortcuts have this same problem.



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    10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
    Authored by: starwxrwx on Jan 16, '04 07:27:03AM

    can you change the size of the icons? theyre huge and scary!

    this app really needs a preferences pane - size of icons, hot keys, on/off etc would be great



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    10.3: Switch apps without showing or using the dock
    Authored by: NeutronMonk on Jan 16, '04 08:50:29AM

    Command-tilde (~, the key above tab on U.S. keyboards) cycles backwards- no need to use shift-command-tab.



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