There's the shortcut Cmd+tab for switching between open applications. Then there's the shortcut Cmd+` for switching between open windows of the same application. But if I have the same application open in two different desktops, neither of these shortcuts are really applicable. Cmd+tab to an app with multiple simultaneous desktop instances just goes to the desktop for that app that you were most recently using. Cmd+` does nothing.

For instance, I have the terminal version of emacs in one desktop. Then I have another desktop with some terminals. How can I easily switch between these desktops using only my keyboard? The easiest way I see is to three-finger swipe up on the trackpad and use the trackpad to select the desired desktop.

I'm on Catalina, version 10.15.6.

  • 1
    You can assign Cmd-# to each Desktop. So, if you want to switch to the 3rd desktop space, you’d press Cmd-3. As for Terminal, look at iTerm2. It will automatically assign shortcuts to each open Tab and Window allowing you to select them from anywhere
    – Allan
    Sep 10, 2020 at 2:53

1 Answer 1


How can I easily switch between these desktops using only my keyboard?

Here is a screen shot of System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Mission Control for two Desktops.

As you can see, by default, you can use control-left-arrow or control-right-arrow

You can also check the checkboxes for additional options, e.g.:

  • Switch to Desktop 1
  • Switch to Desktop 2

Then you can use, e.g., ⌘1 or and the Desktop number for whichever you want to move to.

enter image description here

Terminal also assigns a keyboard shortcut for up to nine windows, e.g. ⌥⌘1 etc. up to ⌥⌘9

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