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Switch between applications, windows or tabs quickly thanks to keyboard shortcuts

If you’re one of those who doesn’t keep numerous applications, windows and tabs open, you’ll probably feel comfortable switching and moving between them at a moment’s notice. But if not then the keyboard shortcuts are your salvation. Whether your first contact with a computer was on a Mac or you’re from a Windows environment, you’ll already know some of the basics. We’ll go through them all today and hopefully, newcomers will find them useful.

  • Switching between applications. In OS X the key combination Command + Tab allows us to switch between the different open applications. As, or almost, as in Windows with its Alt + Tab, we can switch from one to another quickly. If we also keep the Shift key (Command + Shift + Tab) the advance instead of being from left to right will be from right to left.
  • Switching between windows of the same application. OS X includes two keyboard shortcuts that allow us to switch between windows. Unlike in Windows, when we press Command + Tab we move from one application to another but not from window to window and app to app as in Microsoft’s system. To have a shortcut to switch between windows we must go to System Preferences, Keyboard and Quick Functions. There we’ll see how in the Keyboard section we’ll find two options: If we double click on the key combination we’ll be able to set the one we like the most. Now if you have several windows of Finder, Safari or any other application you can quickly switch from one to the other without having to lift your hands from the keyboard.
  • Switching between tabs. Both in the new Finder of OS X Mavericks and in browsers mainly, we often open several tabs. Whether it’s two, 5 or 20, it’s faster to use a key combination than to move the mouse pointer, click, etc. Inside the menu Window of Finder, Safari, Chrome,… you can find the shortcut assigning to Show the next tab or Show the previous tab. If you don’t like it or you want to unify them all, from System Preferences you can do it. Adding the new shortcut as we have explained many times.
  • Enabling full keyboard access. When we are in a dialog box with its two traditional buttons: Cancel and Accept; in OS X you will have noticed that the one selected by default is accept. If we press enter we press it and that’s it. But if we want to cancel we have two options: the first and basic one is pressing the ESC key; the second one is enabling All controls. This option is found in System Preferences, Keyboard, Quick Functions; it allows us to use the Tab key to move the keyboard focus point between only text fields and lists or all the controls. If we check All controls we can in these dialog boxes and other parts of the system and applications, move through all the options. Once we have the one we want, we only need to press space and the button will be pressed. All without having to use the mouse again.

Trucos y consejos para Recordatorios en OS X

Switch between applications, windows or tabs quickly thanks to keyboard shortcuts
Switch between applications, windows or tabs quickly thanks to keyboard shortcuts

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As you can see, these are the basics. Small details that those who have just arrived at OS X may not know, so if a family member or friend buys a new Mac, you already know. Here are some of the basics they should know. Of course there’s more, but we’ll take it from there.

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