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Home / Tips and Tricks / Control the Alt + Tab Switcher of Windows 10 with these tricks

Control the Alt + Tab Switcher of Windows 10 with these tricks



  Alt + Tab switch on a Windows 10 desktop.

Alt + Tab lets you switch between open windows, but there's more. The Alt + Tab switch has other useful but hidden shortcuts. These tips apply to both Windows 10 and Windows 7.

Using Alt + Tab by default is fairly straightforward. Just press Alt + Tab, hold down the Alt key, and then press the Tab key to scroll through the open windows. Release the Alt key when you see an outline around the desired window.

Alt + Tab in reverse direction

  Switching between windows with Alt + Tab on Windows 10.

Alt + Tab normally moves forward. left to right. If you miss the window you want, you no longer need to press the Tab key and scroll through the list again. This works, but is slow – especially if many windows are open.

Press Alt + Shift + Tab instead to navigate through the windows in reverse order. If you press Alt + Tab and move past the desired window, hold down the Shift key and tap the Tab key once to return to the left.

Select Windows using the arrow keys + Tab using the arrow keys. Press Alt + Tab to open the toggle and hold down the Alt key. Instead of pressing the Tab key, highlight the desired window with the arrow keys on your keyboard and release the Alt key, press Enter, or press the space bar.

Use mouse to switch and close Windows [19659009]   Click the red X to close a window in the Alt + Tab switch of Windows 10.

You can also use the mouse with the Alt + Tab switch. Press Alt + Tab, hold down the Alt key and click the window you want to switch to.

While using the mouse, you will notice a bonus: An "x" will appear in the upper right corner of a window as you hover over it. Click on the "x" to close an application window. This is a quick way to close many windows.

Alt + Tab to hold without Alt

The Alt + Tab toggle normally closes when you release the Alt key. However, if you want to press Alt + Tab without holding down the Alt key all the time, you can do so. Press Alt + Ctrl + Tab, then release all three buttons. The Alt + Tab switch remains open on your screen.

You can select the desired window using the Tab key, the arrow keys or the mouse. Press Enter or the Spacebar to move to your highlighted window.

Closing the Alt + Tab Switch Without Switching

You can close the Alt + Tab switch at any time by releasing the Alt key window you just selected. To close the Alt + Tab switch without switching windows, press the Esc key on your keyboard.

Enable the old Alt + Tab switcher

 Classic Gray Alt + Tab switcher under Windows 10.

Remember the old Windows XP-like Alt + Tab switcher ? There were no thumbnails for windows, only icons and window titles on a gray background. This Alt + Tab switch may still be displayed in Windows 10 for compatibility reasons when playing certain games.

You can also open the old Alt + Tab switch with a hidden keyboard shortcut. Hold down the left or right Alt key, tap and release the other Alt key on your keyboard, and then press the Tab key. The old switch is only displayed once. The next time you press Alt + Tab, the new default toggle switch for Alt + Tab will be displayed.

You can not use the mouse or the arrow keys with the classic toggle switch. However, it supports Ctrl + Shift + Tab to cycle through windows in reverse order, and you can press Esc to close it.

If you really love this old Alt + Tab switch – and we're not sure why you should – you can go back there by changing the AltTabSettings value in the Windows registry. It will always be displayed when you press Alt + Tab.

Switching Between Tabs Instead of Windows

 Switching between tabs with Ctrl + Tab in Google Chrome.

This is not an Alt + Tab keyboard trick, but it's so similar and important we need to include it. In almost every application with built-in tabs, you can use Ctrl + Tab to switch between tabs just as you would switch between windows with Alt + Tab. Hold down the Ctrl key and repeatedly press the Tab key to move to the right tab.

You can also change the tab keys in reverse order (from right to left) by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Tab. There are also many other keyboard shortcuts for working with tabs.

Using task view with Windows + tab

 Task view user interface on Windows 10

Okay, technically this is not an Alt + Tab shortcut, but listen to us. Windows + Tab is a similar keyboard shortcut to Alt + Tab. The Task View UI opens, providing a thumbnail view of your open windows and even multiple desktops on which you can arrange them. It also contains the Windows Timeline. You can disable it, however, if you prefer.

After pressing Windows + Tab, you can release both buttons and select a window with the mouse or the arrow keys. To move a window to another virtual desktop, hover the mouse over the desktop icon at the top of the screen.

This is the same interface that opens when you click the Task View button to the right of the Cortana icon on your taskbar. However, the keyboard shortcut may be more convenient.

This is at least more useful than the old Mirror 3D feature on Windows 7 and Vista. It felt more like a 3D technical demo on Windows than a useful window switch.

Install a replacement Alt + Tab switch

 Alt + Tab terminator on Windows 10.

You can also replace the built-in Windows Alt + Tab switch with a replacement for Alt + Tab of a third party. For example, NTWind's Free Alt + Tab Terminator provides a more powerful, customizable Alt + Tab switcher. It has a larger window preview and a built-in feature to stop flawed applications. If you are looking for something different, try it.

Alt + Tab Terminator is the successor of VistaSwitcher, which we have recommended in the past.


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