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Switch Between Applications

Mac OS X can juggle more than one running application at a time, but can you? Here are ways to switch between active programs.

  • Click an icon in the Dock to bring it forward.
  • Click an open document window to bring its application to the front.
  • Press Command-Tab to display running applications as a row of large icons in the middle of the screen. Continue pressing the Tab key until the application you want is highlighted, then release the keys to bring that application to the front.

    You can also keep the keys pressed to cycle through the icons. Or, after you press Command-Tab, move the pointer to select the program you want. Or (yes, there's one more), press the left and right arrow keys while the icons are visible.

Show and hide applications

As you open more applications, their windows overlap one another, leading to a visual mess. Any application can be hidden from view when you're not using it. From the application menu, choose Hide application name, or press Command-H. You can also choose the Hide command located on the contextual menu that appears when you Control-click an icon in the Dock.

The program continues to run in the background—it's just out of the way. You can quickly see if a program is running by looking for the white dot beside its icon in the Dock.

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