I am trying to do a screencast and I use + to move from browser to my IDE . During editing I need to remove all the screenshots of me moving from one app to another since that is distracting.

I was wondering if there is any utility I can buy or if there is a trick so that I can quickly move from my browser to my IDE.

Note that my browser and my IDE are of the same size while doing screencasting so they overlap each other. I just need a trick so that browser comes to the top just like that and when I need IDE to the top I can bring IDE to the top with some key combinations on my keyboard.

  • 3
    Just a thought: If the applications switches are a normal part of the workflow you are demonstrating, then it may be a good idea to leave in the usual app switching UI displays. It may be difficult for viewers to follow along if you are constantly “magically” switching between applications (i.e. switching without leaving the normal visual clues (clicking a Dock icon, seeing the Cmd-Tab UI, etc.) or at least hearing the narrator mention that they are about to switch applications). Jun 1 '11 at 8:02
  • I tried this and I found it to be distracting. Also the visual look between browser and IDE is different enough that no one gets confused. This is screencast so people know what's coming next like I am going to browser. Thanks.
    – user998
    Jun 1 '11 at 13:14
  • Related: [Can I create a shortcut to open a specific application on OS X? ](apple.stackexchange.com/questions/20010/…) Opening the application if it's already running will likely switch to it.
    – idbrii
    Feb 19 '19 at 23:09

If you press + quickly, you switch to the last app used and the icons don't show up.

To make sure it works, + to your browser. Then to your IDE. Then, quickly press the + shortcut. You'll immediately switch to the browser. Do the same again to immediately switch back.

Hope this does it for you.

  • +1 because if you press cmd+tab and release fast it doesn't show the app-switcher Jun 1 '11 at 8:18
  • cool trick. A few times in my screencast I need to switch between browser, IDE and terminal and in that case this trick did not work. I am going with DragThing.
    – user998
    Jun 1 '11 at 13:13

Just tested this and it works well. You will be able to launch each app with a keyboard shortcut of its own by using nothing more than two simple Automator Services, and the Built in keyboard shortcuts.

In this example I am using Preview and Safari.

Create to new Automator Services. Open Automator and choose 'Service'

First Service.

1,Add a 'Launch Application' action.

2, set the Actions application to 'Preview' by using the drop down in the action.

3, set Service receives to: 'no input' in 'Safari' (Do this by using the drop downs at the top.)

4, save the Service As Launch Preview

Second Service.

Use the menu file ->New. And again choose 'Service'

1,Add a 'Launch Application' action.

2, set the Actions application to 'Safari' by using the drop down in the action.

3, set Service receives to: 'no input' in 'Preview' (Do this by using the drop downs at the top.)

4, save the Service As Launch Safari

System Preferences

Now open System Preferences -> Keyboard. Go to the Tab:Keyboard Shortcuts

1, Select 'Services' in the left hand pane.

2, In the right hand pane, scroll down to the bottom where 'General' services should be.

You should see your two new services. 3, Double click the blank white space in front of the service name. (As far to the right as the pane allows you )

4,You should now have a text field where you can enter you hotkey for the service.

5,Once done for both service Make sure they are still both ticked and close System Preferences

Now when you are in one or the other app use the keyboard short cuts to switch apps.

Example of keys I used in my test:

While in Safari: crtl+alt+cmd +p t go to Preview

While in Preview: crtl+alt+cmd +s t go to Safari

p.s doing the two services this way will make sure that the hotkeys/keyboard shortcuts, only work when in the said applications. And will not be called when in a third application..


There are a number of utilities out there that can launch applications with a key combination. I use Butler, and I used to use DragThing, but there are quite a few out there. These utilities generally allow you to assign a key combination to launching anything. If this is an application and the application is already running, then they'll simply bring that application to the foreground.

  • DragThing did it. When I click on an app that app comes to foreground and becomes active.
    – user998
    Jun 1 '11 at 13:11

In BetterTouchTool, you can assign F1, F2 keys to switch between apps, or whichever series of keys you want.

For a more sophisticated example of how I use BetterTouchTool: I've change F1, F2 to be Google Chrome Tab 1, and Google Chrome Tab 2, respectively. And F11 and F12 to be Sublime Text Tab1, and Sublime Text Tab2, respectively.

You can assign key/key combinations to specific applications made by Script Editor, ie Applescripts.

Simple applescript to open Google Chrome Tab 1:

    tell application "System Events"
    tell application "Google Chrome" to activate
    keystroke "1" using {command down}
    end tell

Save the script as an application, and then link a shortkey in Bettertouchtool to box "Trigger Predefined Action", once the box opens, scroll down to "Controlling Other Applications" and click the arrow for "Open Application/File.."



If you really don't want to use +, instead try ctrl+F4 perhaps?


You can use +space to quickly find programs, but for quick switching you may want to check out BetterTouchTool.

See this page on superuser for more details.

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