Keyboard Shortcuts – Switching Applications

After the essential keyboard shortcuts (Command-C for copy, Command-X for cut, Command-V for paste, Command-S for save, Command-Shift-; to check spelling) this is the keyboard shortcut I use more than any other. It’s a trick for jumping quickly between active applications.

Hold down the Command and Tab key at the same time. You will see a large bar in the middle of your screen with all active applications. To jump between the foremost application, simply continue holding down the Command key while tapping the Tab key. This is a super fast way to hop between applications.

You can combine other shortcuts with tab-command. For example, you can use Tab-Command to quickly cut and paste text between applications (as long as they are running) such as TextEdit, Word, Pages, Mail, etc. Or, you can instantly quit applications by Shift-tabbing to the application you want to quit, then (without letting go of the command key) use the Command-Q shortcut. I use this combination all the time to quit applications.

Note that the Command key is found to the left of the spacebar on Mac keyboards. On laptops it’s often stamped with an Apple or an icon that looks like a little four-leafed clover.

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