How to switch window within the same program in Mac OS X

Just find out how to switch window within the same program in Mac OS X. By default, you press Apple + Tab to switch window for different program (ex: switch from Firefox to Thunder and vise versa).

If you want to switch window within the same program (ex: I have 3 Firefox windows and want to switch among the 3 firefox windows), you can click on Window -> Select the Window name you want.


If you want to switch window within the same program using shortcut key, you can press Apple + ` key (` key is just located on top of Tab key).

Just hold Apple key and press ` key to change the application window.

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75 Responses to “How to switch window within the same program in Mac OS X”

  1. Tatevik says:

    Gooosh, finally – thank you so much!

  2. Glenn says:

    Command + `

  3. Glenn says:

    Apple + `

  4. speedyplod says:

    On an English keyboard in mountain leopard it would not work to switch between windows in Word (each document) but with schlomo’s help to get me started I solved it

    Open System preferences,
    go to keyboard settings,
    open shortcuts tab
    click on ‘keyboard and text input’ in left column
    in right column you have ‘Move focus to next window’ with a shortcut that is not on a UK keyboard
    Double click the shortcut key combo and set it to ‘⌘§’ being the equivalent key above the tab

  5. e. l. says:

    Tnx! Very Helpful

  6. tyomero says:

    Is there a way show the list of windows for the current app?

  7. Sony says:

    I have a shortcut key lefthand, and I just got a mac. Your “how to” is very useful for me. Thanks!!!

  8. fei says:

    Control + Tab will also do it

  9. Henrique P. Machado says:

    If you’re a Brazilian Portuguese user and is currently using a pt_BR keyboard layout you can use the combination Shift+Command+`

  10. surya says:

    this is what i was looking for…haha thanks =)

  11. Bkya says:

    I have been looking for this!
    Witch was a very good program but a little too expensive for what I needed.
    Thank you very much for this post, and :“To switch tabs in Firefox = Option + Command + Arrow Key (Left or Right)” is another great tip for me that is mentioned in a commenter on this post. 🙂

  12. Isabel says:

    Tks!!!! I am a key shortcut person and I was going crazy as I just started with mac….tks!!!

  13. Natalie says:

    Thanks!! This was driving me nuts. Thanks a lot for the command + ` button shortcut tip.

  14. ccc says:

    Thank you guys!

  15. TTT says:

    IT WORKED!!!!

    “To switch tabs in Firefox = Option + Command + Arrow Key (Left or Right)”

  16. Andrew says:

    For people on a Macbook Air in the UK it’s Apple + the button to the left of the z key.

  17. Jared says:

    Macbook Air OS X Lion

    To switch tabs in Firefox = Option + Command + Arrow Key (Left or Right)
    Option _ Command + Tab + Arrow Key (Left or Right)

    To switch Tabs in Safari = Shift + Option + Command + Arrow Key (Left or Right)

    It seems to me like some of the shortcut combinations aren’t uniform from program to program (none of the above combinations work with Netbeans 7.0.1 to switch between open files within that program).

    This is my first mac and while I can figure out some of the key combinations others still remain elusive. I hate using a mouse, track pad when not necessary, if I can find a keystroke combination I’ll use it instead as I find it to be faster.

  18. boblion says:

    Doesn’t work anymore in Lion. What’s the new shortcut?

  19. Carrie says:

    I’ve been looking for this information all day long (I almost burst into tears). As a new mac user, I feel it’s really a painful experience transition from windows to mac. Hopefully in the end, it’s worth it.

  20. asdf says:

    thank you so much i have guessing this shortcut for so long before i finally bothered to google it!

  21. John says:

    Wow you would think this would be easy to figure out on the easy to use mac. The shortcuts are really tough when switching from pc I find.

  22. Sandro says:

    Thanks a lot man!

  23. Anicia says:

    Thanks man, thanks!!!

  24. frans says:

    Thanks so much! It works!

  25. homero says:

    1 – command + TAB (then LEFT or RIGHT)
    2 – Then when the application you want is highlighted press UP or DOWN
    3 – An expose-like will be displayed but only with windows within the same application.

    Change tabs within an application
    control + tab (right)
    control + shift + tab (left)

  26. L H says:

    Brilliant. Apple are geniuses!

  27. Varun Mis says:

    thank you so much, it works!

  28. schlomo says:

    Didn’t work for me either (german snow leopard) but found the solution:
    (and probably the error..)

    Open System preferences,
    go to keyboard settings,
    open shortcuts tab
    there you can check and set the setting for your “Activate the previous open window in the frontmost application” (or something like that, i only know the german in exact: “Fokus zum nächsten Fenster …”

    From the apple support page about shortcuts ( ) the standard shortcut is Command-` (the Grave accent key–above Tab key on a US English keyboard layout) which is probably causing the problem. so with a german keyboard layout i suggest Command – ^ (the key above tab on GERMAN keyboard layout), or for users more coming over from the windows corner ctrl – tab


  29. ranza says:

    Man, is there something like a universal shortcut for switching many windows of the same app? I’m sick of tired of trying all the possible combinations every time.

  30. Francisco E. says:

    Pressing Apple + ` key works well to swithch windows if I am in Word or Excel, but it does not work for Acrobat. Anyone knows about this?

  31. stephen says:

    Thanks. 🙂

  32. Julien says:

    Hi all!

    To share my experience, I cannot reproduce this tip.
    Maybe because I’m in a MacBook keyboard.

    Anyway, I can do this using the Apple key + left or right arrow.
    The other benefit of this is that you can chose the way to switch (eg. forward, backward) if you have more than 2 windows.

    Hope this help!


  33. Sagar says:

    Thanks! was looking for this one.

  34. adfs says:


  35. Jijo says:

    Thanks! You made my life a tiny bit easier 🙂

  36. georgelucian says:

    press apple logo + tab …you will see it works

  37. shima says:

    somehow, it does not work for me. pressing Apple + ` key does not do anything. any thoughts?

  38. Ennesus says:

    @keith it work with google chrome,
    it only works for windows not for tabs
    you can switch between tabs with Ctrl + Tab

    Thanks for the short article, it was really helpfull

  39. Sergio says:

    I’ve been wondering how to do this for more than 3 years now, thanks a lot

  40. M-Ric says:

    Awesome tips, I’ve been thinking about this shortcut for more than a year and a half now. Google found this page and I bless you for that! My Apple user life is gonna take a new start 🙂 Many thanks!

  41. Keith says:

    wow. great tip. not so much a noob now. lol. but it dont seem to work with google crome!

  42. Hola says:

    Thanks man you saved me lots of time!

  43. carrie says:

    awesome tip; been wondering how to do this for years!

  44. zts says:

    This doesn’t work within Mail… Is there a workaround?

  45. Jonathan says:

    Great tip.

  46. scott says:

    Hi all,

    Yes (and no). If my current Firefox window has a Video embedded, e.g. YouTube, I am unable to Command-` to a different Firefox window. If there is no video in the current window, Command-` works just fine.

    Ideas on how to get rid of this ‘feature’?



  47. Abeel Joe says:

    Thanks a million – it makes life really easy for me. I was looking for it since last two months and was planning to change my Mac with a PC just because of this switching reason 🙂 – you made my day.


  48. Andreas says:

    HAHA! I feel like such a newbie! It suddenly dawned on me that when it says “double-click the shortcut”, it probably means the shortcut itself, and of course it does, silly me.

  49. Andreas says:

    I think I’ve experienced a similar problem, hildi; when I double-click the shortcut in order to customize it, nothing happens at all.
    My solution: select your shortcut of interest (e.g. “Move focus to next window …”) by clicking on it once, then hit “Return” (or “Enter” if you like), and voilà the customization box appears, and then all you need to do is to hold down your preferred new shortcut (e.g. Cmd+$ or Cmd+<).
    I don't know if I can explain why your command jumps to "Application Shortcuts", but I know this is what happens if you press the add-button (i.e. the "+" immediately below the right column). I can't tell from what you are writing if what you've done in order to change the shortcut is anything similar to this, but it's my best guess based on your screenshot…
    And when it comes to my double-clicking not working in this very particular instance, I have no clue. I could imagine that there are people out there with a sensible explanation.

  50. hildi says:

    (the link is a photo of how this looks on my screen – not spam :þ)

  51. hildi says:

    Hmm, tried Nikolai’s solution but it doesn’t seem to work at all – the command jumps to Application shortcuts and I don’t get the box to activate it. Got an Icelandic keyboard and OS 10.6

    Any ideas why this wouldn’t work?

  52. Vasi says:

    Thanks a bunch. This works on my mb pro.

  53. Jan says:

    Hm, this does not seem to work in Apple Mail (under Snow Leopard). Works in all other programs though, including Finder.

    Anyone having the same problem?? Ideas?

  54. Zinck says:

    Thank you so much!!! This was the one of only two things, I was pissed off at. The second the delete button, there you have to use a buggy addon, who crashes my mac.

  55. Christopher James Calo says:

    Anyone know how to switch between windows across all open applications? It doesn’t make much sense to me to have to first switch to the right application (Cmd + Tab) and then switch to the window I want (Cmd + `).

  56. min says:

    Thanks!! This is AWESOME

  57. Adam says:

    Nikolai’s advice did the trick – and saved me twenty bucks! (I almost bought Witch for this one reason.)

  58. Johannes says:

    The trick for changing the definition of the “Cycle through windows” is not perfect. I have a US physical keyboard layout and switch between US/Swedish. In US keyboard layout the Window Cycling works with Command+` (top left key, under escape), but when I switch to Swedish I have to press Shift+Option+Command+= (which is the key to the left of “delete”).

    I use OS X 10.6.2 and cannot change the default keyboard shortcut. And frankly, I don’t want to change this, I only want to duplicate it and add the Option+< definition for the Swedish layout (yes, this is what the key under escape becomes with US keyboard and Swedish keyboard layout), while still keeping the Option+` for the US layout. This way the switching is done the same no matter which layout is chosen.

    Anyone have any ideas?

  59. Jonny says:

    On a German layout use: ‘Cmd + <' or if you like to call 'Cmd' the 'Apple key': 'Apple key + <'. The '<' key is on the right of 'left shift' and left of 'y'.

    Have fun

  60. Tony says:

    I just recently bought a MacBook. The shortkey combination can be found in System Preferences-Hardware-Keyboard-Keyboard & Text Input-KeyboardShortcut. Like to switch between program: fn+control+F4; switch within same program: command+`

  61. Ji Yeon says:

    Was a great help. Thank you!!

  62. funkyjam says:

    Thank You. I have always meant to search for this shortcut and finally did. The answer was simple. I could have saved so much time of the past years! Happy to have it now. THANK YOU 🙂

  63. Dude, this is the most useful blogpost I’ve found for the past many weeks – thanks a bunch!
    Although the Cmd + ` didn’t work in my case (Danish keyboard setup is somewhat screwed), I follow Nikolai’s advice and changed it in the System Preferences to Cmd + $ so it’s right next to (over) Cmd + Tab – perfect!

  64. chua says:

    So far this is the only shortcut key i know to switch window.
    however, some application (like firefox) allow u to use Apple + #number to switch internal window or tab.
    eg. Apple + 1, Apple + 2

  65. Diana says:

    How do you go back to the way it was before? Is there a shortcut code for that?

  66. Nikolai says:

    For those who have problems because of an other than US keyboard layout, you can always change this shortcut in System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Keyboard Shortcuts -> Keyboard & Text Input -> “Move focus to next window in application” to what ever you want !

  67. Ruth says:

    I have been searching for this for months! Finally got the right search string to find you, I guess.

    Thank you SO MUCH; I knew there had to be one out there, but I kept looking in Add-Ons.

  68. Jeff says:

    Awesome! I have been looking for this for years! Not really searching that hard until today. Thank you!!!!!

  69. Martin says:

    I use two keyboard layouts, Swedish and English for writing mails and programming respectively. (The Swedish keyboard layout is an insult for anybody using [, ], { or } characters more frquently than letters, so I switch between layouts with Cmd-Space.) With US layout, the ` or ~ key is the key that says (the Swedish characters are printed on the keys). The funny thing is that in Swedish mode, the Cmd-` works! So I just had to try typing the equivalent of < key in US mode, and that worked! The mac has got this completely backwards.

  70. Martin says:

    This doesn’t work at all! All I get is a very, *very* annoying loud beep when I do this. If I have speakers attached it comes out through them at full blast. Ouch!

  71. .: cala :. says:

    this works on every program but preview, does anybody know what’s the combination of keys for that?

  72. Pedro says:

    It works for me with Apple key + ^ key (right to the P). I have a mac book air with spanish keyboard.

    I hope it would help.


  73. Bacon says:

    Thanks buddy but that didn’t really help me, since it’s a macbook pro I am on and the key right above the Tab key is a $.

    I tried with the respective ´ and ‘ and `keys and none of them worked… 🙁 any idea?

    Thanks in advance

  74. Matt says:

    God bless you for posting this! I’ve been working a lot in Firefox and getting really, really frustrated with having to use my mouse.

  75. Ken says:

    Great! I have been looking for this info for weeks. I have had a MacBook for a year, but I have not learned all the shortcuts yet. I was happy to have learned the Apple-tab shortcut last year. I never really liked Windows (TM). You rock.

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