Is there a way to switch between windows by typing a portion of the target window's name? (like doing Spotlight search but for windows)

I frequently have many windows open, and CMD-Tab & friends, and graphical utilities like Witch really don't cut it.

I am looking for something analogous to the Emacs iswitch.

https://github.com/nate-parrott/Flashlight apparently used to do this (and much more) in prior versions of OSX.

  • I'd be surprised if there isn't an Alfred workflow that lets you do this... maybe somebody can point you at one, or even write one for you ;) – calum_b Jun 1 '16 at 16:43

I tried grgarside's solution but his link timed out for me.

Ended up on Packal and found Swift Window Switcher

It only requires you to use it w name instead of window name and it also populates with Safari tabs. It, too, requires Accessibility permissions.

Still requires Alfred, which is paid, but it seems like the best solution I could find.

Alfred Searching for Chrome, returning this question as an open window


I was (am) looking for a simple, one-trick, open source solution. Still looking.

But I did find a closed-source app that does what I need: allows me to switch between windows by typing any part(s) of app and/or window name:


Not free. Not open source, has to be allowed to "control your computer" via Accessibility features.

I also tried Alfred; it cannot do this out of the box (but a workflow could probably be created).


Switch window by name

Alfred workflow to switch to a window by the name of the window title. Uses Alfred's adaptive searching engine to make filtering really quick as it learns which windows you usually switch to.

Usage: window <search window titles>

You need to add Alfred to the list of apps allowed to control your computer in System Preferences → Security & Privacy → Accessibility. If you don't, it fails silently.

Download: https://georgegarside.com/resources/SwitchWindowByName.alfredworkflow
One day, I'll have a proper webpage for these workflows. Apologies for the direct download.

I did have it loading icons for the apps, but defaults takes too long to get the app icon. For something that's fast, waiting 1 second for it to load the icons takes too long, hence the uniform icon. At least it has the app name underneath!

Known bug: if a window title has the word "window" in it, stuff breaks! I've already spent hours on this workflow, sorry!

  • ... this requires typing "window" every time. I could probably live with typing "w" as the command. Maybe. – Dmitri Jun 3 '16 at 3:31
  • @Dmitri The command is customisable to be ‘w’ or anything else, or you can use a hotkey. All these things are editable in the workflow. – grg Apr 5 '17 at 18:35

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