Six Second Tech is a weekly series of short how-to video tutorials to help you be more productive with your time and your technology.
How-to videos on YouTube are too long
Let’s say you need to find out how to zoom in on Snapchat, how to take a screenshot on a Mac, or how to turn off Twitter notifications. You might go straight to YouTube to search for these kinds of instructional videos. But tutorials and how-to videos on YouTube can often be anywhere from a couple of minutes to half an hour, or more!
What if you could consume this information much more quickly, in just a few seconds?
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In a previous Keyboard Kung Fu lesson we saw how easy it is to switch between open applications using Command-Tab. Sometimes though, an app is minimised or closed and can’t be tabbed to. That’s where this handy little manoeuvre comes in.
Command-Tab / Command-Option
Use the ⌘ tab / ⌘ ⌥ key combination to open an application that has been minimised or closed. These apps can be brought up by taking your finger off the tab key, moving it to the ⌥ key, and then removing your thumb from the ⌘ key.
Switching between open apps with the ⌘ tab, ⌘ ⌥ move.
In the image above I have already tried to switch to the Mail app but found that it is closed. So I have then used ⌘ tab to select the Mail app and then taken my middle finger off the tab key and put my index finger onto the ⌥ key. Then when I removed my thumb from the ⌘ key the Mail app popped up into the foreground.
This is perhaps the most useful keyboard shortcut you can learn, and it’s very simple.
Command-Tab = Switch to the next application
When you want to move to another application that you have already opened, instead of moving the mouse cursor down to the app’s icon on the tool bar, just hold down the ⌘ key and tap the tab key to bring up the panel displaying all open apps. While holding down the ⌘ key keep tapping that tab key until the desired application is selected and then let go of both keys.
Switch to another open application with Command-Tab
Command-Shift-Tab = Switch to the previous application
If you accidentally go past the app that you were looking for while tapping on the tab key then hold down the shift key (while still holding the ⌘ key down) and then tap the tab key again and the selector backwards to the previous application.