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Is there a faster way to switch between currently-open applications on the Mac than using cmd+Tab/cmd+Shift+Tab?

I tend to have a lot of different apps open at a time and I have to keep switching between three-to-four of these apps all the time. And having to repeatedly hit cmd+tab,tab,tab seems like a waste of keystrokes. It would be nice if there was a faster way to achieve this application-switching.

This does not have to be built-in Mac functionality. I'd like to know about any app that does this job better.

PS: I'm running Mavericks
PPS: I'm looking for a keyboard shortcut and not a mouse-related solution.

Thanks! :)

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You can use KeyRemap4MacBook to for example turn the right option into an extra modifier key for opening applications:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<root>
  <vkopenurldef>
    <name>KeyCode::VK_OPEN_URL_FINDER</name>
    <url>file:///System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app</url>
  </vkopenurldef>
  <vkopenurldef>
    <name>KeyCode::VK_OPEN_URL_SAFARI</name>
    <url>file:///Applications/Safari.app</url>
  </vkopenurldef>
  <item>
    <name>test</name>
    <identifier>test</identifier>
    <autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::OPTION_R, KeyCode::VK_MODIFIER_EXTRA1</autogen>
    <autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::F, ModifierFlag::EXTRA1, KeyCode::VK_OPEN_URL_FINDER</autogen>
    <autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::S, ModifierFlag::EXTRA1, KeyCode::VK_OPEN_URL_SAFARI</autogen>
  </item>
</root>

See http://osxnotes.net/keyremap4macbook.html for more examples.

If you have bought the Powerpack for Alfred 2, you can use workflows like this:

Hotkeys have a short delay by default, but you can reduce it by changing the trigger behavior:

  • I love this idea and I think this is the fastest for me given that I know I have just 4-5 applications that I regularly switch between. Thank you! – keithxm23 Mar 11 '14 at 12:57
3

This is a really old question but just thought I would add to it anyway!

I use apptivate.

Really simple toolbar app that can open/switch to almost anything with custom keyboard shortcuts.

  • and it is free! – dwightk Sep 25 '15 at 15:07
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Here is a personnal suggestion : Use the power of Mission control.

I link to a mouse button (lateral wheel click) show All Windows / show application windows . With that shortcut it's realy fast to just from one Window/App to another.


Edit: Didn't saw your PPS. But Mission control is still a nice way to handle multiple apps/windows !

Other possibility, you could link a keyboard shortcut to an automator service which would switch to a particular app.

  • Thanks for the suggestion Matthieu. Do you have any examples for the automator-service you suggest? – keithxm23 Mar 6 '14 at 14:25
  • I switch using command-1, command-2, etc; and have particular apps on particular desktops (and told Mavericks not to rearrange the desktops). – GEdgar Mar 7 '14 at 14:44
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Give a try to QuickSilver, which lets you switch to or open apps and various other things through keyboard only.

  • Ah yes. I use Alfred but hadn't thought about using the launcher to instead switch to an already launched application. (Silly me!). On an average it's actually more key-strokes than cmd+tabbing but at least do not have to look at the screen to check if I've to tab left and right or count the number of tabs I've to make. I guess this is the quickest way yet. Thanks Edouard! :) – keithxm23 Mar 6 '14 at 15:28

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