As far as I can tell, Command-backtick (⌘-`) behaviour in OSX 10.9 works as follows:

Given a stack of windows for the current application 1 2 3 4 5 6 in order of most to least recently used:

  • Do it once: switch to window 2 (for the current application).
  • Do it again: switch to window 3.

However, if you click on window 2 before doing Command-` for the second time, window 1 gets the focus instead of window 3.

This behaviour differs from that of Command-Tab, which seems to always work as though the new application's current window had been clicked on, unless you hold Command in between presses of Tab. While you continue to hold Command, a little overlay window is displayed to give you a visual representation of which applications are available and are getting the focus.

Is there a way to make Command-` work in a manner similar to that of Command-Tab? I.E. so that the window stack will be reordered when, and only when, Command is released? I find it distracting to have to a) remember whether or not I've clicked on the window I'm looking at and b) scrunch a finger down to engage the Shift key.

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    I appreciate your detail of how command backtick works. it was very nice and soemthing i was looking for. im new to mac. – Noitidart Oct 18 '14 at 5:05
  • I don't know a solution but I wish I did- it drives me nuts to not be able to toggle back and forth between two windows. – Galax Jul 3 '16 at 21:23
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    Witch might do the trick, have you tried that? – Timothy Mueller-Harder Oct 3 '16 at 4:45
  • @Galax Use shift-command-` [⇧⌘`] to reverse back through the selection. – chriszanf Jan 14 '17 at 12:08
  • @chriszanf Yeah that works the same as Windows of course if going up and down a stack without releasing Command (Alt on Windows) The problem is that when command is released, and I read a page for a bit, I need to remember if I clicked on that window at all, as if I did the stack will be re-ordered ant Command-Tab will take me back to the last window, and if I didn't click Command-Tab will keep moving down the stack! – Galax Feb 12 '17 at 2:55

In MacOS 10.13 (High Sierra) I cannot get the Cmd-` to work at all unless the application itself has a menu command to cycle through windows. If it does, it probably uses that key code; if it doesn't have a key code but has a menu item, it's easy to add the key code in System->Keyboard->Shortcuts. If it does not have a menu for that, e.g. Safari, then I've found no way to cycle through windows. it does have a Next Tab command.

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Use Witch https://manytricks.com/witch/ as suggested by timothymh. Toggle between all application windows and forget about Command-backtick altogether.

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  • I ended up settling on contexts.co instead of Witch to workaround this awful OSX UI bug. – Galax Mar 26 '18 at 3:23
  • Unfortunately contexts.co seems to have been abandoned. – certainlyakey Jul 4 at 19:54

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