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Switching between open applications

To work efficiently while studying online you need to be able to access more than one application at a time – your browser and your word processor, for instance. This article gives a brief overview of how to do this using keyboard shortcuts.

On a Windows PC

Hold down the Alt key and tap the Tab key. This will open a gallery of all your open applications. Whilst continuing to hold down the Alt key, you can tab to the application you want to go to or use the mouse to select the application. Using this keyboard shortcut is an efficient way of switching applications. You can of course also use the Task bar at the very bottom of your screen to go to a different application.

If you like using keyboard shortcuts you can find more in the official guide to Keyboard shortcuts in Windows.

On a Mac

Press the Command and Tab keys to bring up the floating app switcher. Here, you'll see all of the apps that you have open. While holding the Command key, press the Tab key to move forward through the list of open apps, one at a time. If you want to move back (left-side) in the list, press the Tilde key (to the left of the Z) while holding the Command key, or use the arrow keys to move through the apps. When you find the open app that you want to switch to, simply release the Command and Tab keys and the window will be in the foreground.

You can also jump to a particular window of an open app from the app switcher. When you have an app highlighted in the floating switcher, press the Up or Down arrow key. This will show you all open windows for the given app.

For all the Apple shortcuts, see this list of keyboard shortcuts on Apple's support site.

On Tablets

It's best to refer to your tablet's user guide for information on how to switch between open applications.

Last updated 2 years ago