What keyboard shortcut do I use to switch between windows on a Mac?

newrum October 25, 2012

I really need to find a way to switch between windows within the same program from the keyboard. For example I have two or more documents open in Word and have to copy-paste from one to another numerous times. So switching from one window to the other is really pain.

In Windows Alt+Tab does that but on a Mac, this combination only switches between programs, not windows. Do you know a keyboard shortcut for this? Thank you!

  1. Anish Parameshwaran
    February 9, 2013 at 5:05 am

    Switching between windows of the same app: Cmd+ ` (right above the Tab key)
    Switching between tabs in safari, chrome and other browsers: Ctrl+Tab

  2. Newrüm
    December 25, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    You should go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard shortcuts. On the left there is "Keyboard & Text Input". When you click that, you'll see "move focus to next window" line on the right. Click on the symbols and then change it as you wish :)

  3. Vivek Kumar Yadav
    December 16, 2012 at 5:52 am

    I had this exact issue when I first switched over, and to tell you the truth I almost kicked myself when I realised what the shortcut was.
    It’s Command+` (the tilde “~” key above Tab)

  4. Ramón García
    December 5, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Command + Tab

  5. Anonymous
    November 9, 2012 at 1:31 am

    With an experienced Apple tech, you might be able to change the response of the keys to the English language.
    In response to your question about changing windows within one program, I find that Cmd-tab brings up program options only. On the menu bar, under Window, you will see a list of the windows you have open. You might see numbers although I doubt it. If the numbers are there, you use Cmd-1 etc. Otherwise you can choose your window from the list. It's not the best work-around, but I would tend to have the windows open and overlapping so that I can simply choose a border with a touch/click. The cmd+ tilde is also an excellent answer and perhaps the simplest so have you tried the equivalent key on your keyboard bearing another symbol, or the tilde which appears to be next to the Z.

    • Newrüm
      December 25, 2012 at 7:31 pm

      Thanks for this idea Gillian! I changed keyboard shortcut and ta-daa it's done :)
      Thank you again.

  6. Adam Campbell
    November 3, 2012 at 10:10 pm


  7. Anonymous
    October 30, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Though we can use command + , or there is another option called parallel desktop which helps u to work on both the os together! :)
    Google it for further info!! cause i don't use mac!

  8. dawnthetech
    October 29, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    The command and tab key allows you to switch between windows on a Mac

  9. Bilal
    October 25, 2012 at 5:18 pm


  10. Aditya Roy
    October 25, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    ? + ~
    Command-` (the Grave accent key)

  11. Christoph
    October 25, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    I've always just used Control+Tab (and Control+Shift+Tab to go backwards). It's worked in every app I use on a regular basis. I'm tried Command+Tilde, but that doesn't work for me. Perhaps I don't have something configured correctly? Or configured oddly?

    • Newrüm
      October 26, 2012 at 6:56 pm

      But did that control+tab combination work for Word? I don't think so.

  12. Douglas Mutay
    October 25, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Command + `

    • Newrüm
      October 26, 2012 at 7:19 pm

      Thank you Douglas but that key doesn't have a place on my keyboard (it looks like this: http://image.cdn.sahibinden.com/photos/73/69/40/big_71736940ph9.jpg )

      • Carmen Qing
        November 23, 2012 at 7:55 am

        Seen from your picture, it's the left key besides the number "1". And it's the "~" key on Windows keyboard.

  13. Tim Brookes
    October 25, 2012 at 12:19 am

    I had this exact issue when I first switched over, and to tell you the truth I almost kicked myself when I realised what the shortcut was.

    It's Command+` (the tilde "~" key above Tab). It makes a lot of sense once you've used it a few times. Enjoy!


    • Newrüm
      October 25, 2012 at 7:57 am

      Tim thanks, I appreciate your answer:)
      But the problem is I don't have that symbol on my keyboard. I bought my Mac from Turkey, so the buttons are different and don't have a ` button (and “~” either).
      Do you know any more combinations?

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