Microsoft

Quick Tip: Switch between application windows quickly

There's another quicker way to switch between windows of a specific application in Windows.

Chances are good that you already know that if you have multiple windows in a certain application open at the same time; you can hover over the icon on the taskbar and use the Live Thumbnails feature to see each window. However, there's another quicker way to switch between windows of a specific application - all you have to do is hold down [Ctrl] key as you click on the icon. Let's take a closer look.

Tip

As you know, with the Taskbar's Live Thumbnails feature, you just hover your mouse pointer over any button on the Taskbar and you'll see a thumbnail of that window's contents. If the application has several open windows, such as Windows/File Explorer, you'll see a thumbnail for each individual window, as shown in Figure A. When you see the thumbnail you are looking for, just click and its window will appear on the desktop ready for you to go to work.

Figure A

Fig A QTWS.png

The Live Thumbnails feature shows thumbnails of the open windows.

While using the Live Thumbnails feature access multiple windows in an application is a quick way to make the switch, using the Windows Switcher technique is a just bit quicker because it requires less mouse movement.

Returning to our Windows/File Explorer example, instead of hovering your mouse pointer over the taskbar icon, just hold down the [Ctrl] key as you click on the icon. Each time you click, one of the windows will come to the foreground, as shown in Figure B. When you see the one that you want, just release the [Ctrl] key.

Figure B

Fig B QTWS.png

As you cycle through all of the open windows, each window appears on the screen in a stacked formation.

As you can see, as you cycle through all of the open windows, each window appears on the screen in a stacked formation.

While I have used Windows/File Explorer in my example, this technique work in any application that has multiple windows open at the same time and is displayed on the Taskbar as a combined icon. This technique also works with certain tabbed user interface applications such as Internet Explorer.

You can use this technique in Windows 7 as well as Windows 8.

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About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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