Switching Between Programs

In business, multitasking isn’t an option, it’s a requirement. Most of us have at least 3 programs open on our computers at once, and we bounce around between them throughout the day. Your email is open along with a web browser and a document or spreadsheet. The latest attachment from your partners in Europe or Japan is lingering down there in the taskbar from an email they sent you an hour ago.

Most people use their mouse to click on the programs on the taskbar and switch. But did you know there are better ways?

Hold down the Alt key and press and release the Tab key (Alt-Tab). A menu will appear listing all the programs you have open. Keep tapping the Tab key until you get to the program you want to switch to. When you do, release the Alt key that you’ve been holding down. To get back to the program you just left, repeat the process. You’ll notice that the last program you were in will now be the first one you get to when you tap the Tab key, so you can quickly jump between the two programs with a single press of Alt-Tab.

Want an even simpler one? Alt-Escape will switch to the next program in the list without the menu.

Are you using Windows Vista or Windows 7? If so, press the Windows Key (which is between Alt and Ctrl on most keyboards) and Tab (Win-Tab) to switch through open programs in a full screenshot of the Window.

Want to move between two spreadsheets within Excel or documents within Word? Use Ctrl-Tab to switch between tabs in a program, for example, if you have multiple Excel workbooks open at one time, Ctrl-Tab will switch between them.

Add the Shift key to Alt-Tab or Ctrl-Tab to move backwards. For example, if you are pressing Alt-Tab and pass the program you want to switch to, press Alt-Shift-Tab to move backwards to that program.

Feeling Overwhelmed? Try each of these individually. They really are a time saver once you get the hang of them!

Happy Thursday!

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