Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

Tip of the Day: ALT+TAB

ALT+TAB

I’m often surprised by the number of people I run into who don’t realize that ALT+TAB is a quick way to see what programs are currently running, and switch between them.

In the past, ALT+TAB (hold down the ALT key and press the TAB key) would simply show you the icon and name of each running program as you repeatedly pressed TAB while holding down ALT. In recent versions of Windows, ALT+TAB brings up an array of live screen shots, with a selection box around one that moves through the array as you press TAB. (Hold down the Shift key — as in ALT+SHIFT+TAB — and you’ll move backwards through the list.)

In either case, when you release ALT+TAB, the program you left highlighted is brought to the front to become the active window.

The order of the running programs that ALT+TAB cycles through changes as you use it, with the most recent programs appearing at the beginning. What that means in practical terms is that regardless of when or how you start them, after you’ve brought two programs to the front using ALT+TAB, a single ALT+TAB lets you switch back and forth between the two quickly and easily.

You can also just use ALT+TAB to bring up the list of running programs, continue to hold the ALT key down, and use the mouse to click on the program you want active.

Next to Backspace, I think ALT+TAB might be my most frequently used keyboard key sequence. 🙂

Posted: May 15, 2019 in: Ask Leo! Tip of the Day,
Ask Leo! Tip of the Day - Public
This is a minor update to an article originally posted October 18, 2016
Shortlink: https://askleo.com/2262
Tagged: , , , , ,
« Previous post:
Next post: »

Search Tip of the Day!

New Here?

Let me suggest my collection of best and most important articles to get you started.

Of course I strongly recommend you search the site -- there's a ton of information just waiting for you.

Finally, if you just can't find what you're looking for, ask me!

Confident Computing

Confident Computing is the weekly newsletter from Ask Leo!. Each week I give you tools, tips, tricks, answers, and solutions to help you navigate today’s complex world of technology and do so in a way that protects your privacy, your time, and your money, and even help you better connect with the people around you.

The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet – FREE Edition

Subscribe for FREE today and claim your copy of The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet – FREE Edition. Culled from the articles published on Ask Leo! this FREE downloadable PDF will help you identify the most important steps you can take to keep your computer, and yourself, safe as you navigate today’s digital landscape.



My Privacy Pledge

Leo Who?

I'm Leo Notenboom and I've been playing with computers since I took a required programming class in 1976. I spent over 18 years as a software engineer at Microsoft, and after "retiring" in 2001 I started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place to help you find answers and become more confident using this amazing technology at our fingertips. More about Leo.

Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.