Alternative window switcher

Walter Jr.

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 10, 2014
8
0
I'm a new MacBook Pro user since a month and, well, so far I really like it.

My background is web developer with much Linux background. Funnily though, I've mostly/exclusively been using Windows as Desktop machines (albeit it usually was just my terminal gateway to various VMs/servers).

My biggest gripe with the default Window switcher: it only switches between applications and not windows. I know about CMD-` but I'm used to have a visual guide what exact windows are there (and a preview image of their content, etc.). As you can see, form this description, it's a typical Coming-From-Windows problem. I did already some research and tested various things and I understand that I've to do a few things The-Mac-Way but I'm not yet at the point of giving up.

The best software I've found so far is HyperSwitch ( http://bahoom.com/hyperswitch ). It works almost like I want it but on multi-screen setups it shows the Window-Switcher always on the active instead of the primary screen (I'm used to always automatically look at the primary screen when I hit CMD-Tab). I tried to contact the author on some other issue but I never received feedback.

In combination with Spectacle ( https://github.com/eczarny/spectacle ) I've an almost perfect mirroring of the Windows behavior which allows me to be very productive (e.g. using keys for maximizing windows or positioning them on the left/half of a screen).

Regarding the window switcher, it's important for me to have a visual feedback. Looking at some apple.stackexchange suggestions, there are a lot of tools but they all work in a way I don't want them. Some example question form there:
- http://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/9659/what-window-management-options-exist-for-os-x
- http://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/2718/best-app-to-switch-between-all-open-windows-alternatives-to-witch

Let me describe which switching between windows and not applications is more important for me: my usually work flow is having one ore more PhpStorm IDEs, three to six iTerm2 windows and three Firefox windows open. That's a lot and it's absolutely my use case that I often need to jump to a specific window and not first select the application and then choose the window. And, as I said, CMD-` isn't enough because I need to "see and choose" the windows.

If maybe someone is reading this having a similar path and know about my troubles, maybe you've some suggestion of other apps which could help here? Money isn't the issue; would gladly pay for a Window switcher which is more like the Windows one.
 

ssls6

macrumors 6502a
Feb 7, 2013
535
144
It's called Mission Control

Try sliding 4 fingers on the trackpad from bottom to top
 

Walter Jr.

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 10, 2014
8
0
I'm aware of it and it's great for overview when I've really many windows open, but for me it doesn't replace a Window switcher to quickly use CMD-Tabbing or something similar.

It seems I can only select windows with cursor keys, "`" and TAB switch between application.
 

campyguy

macrumors 68040
Mar 21, 2014
3,415
932
I used to feel your pain, but no longer. I've gotten into using Spaces and keeping my most-used apps in a single space. I used to use Proteron's LiteSwitch but that preference pane isn't supported any longer - I really, really miss that app switcher on steroids. :sniff:

The app you need to check out is Witch by Many Tricks, and either Moom by that developer (both are on the Mac App Store, and both have been around for about a decade or so) and Spectacle - Witch is a must-have for those with a need for window management, and I personally prefer Spectacle over Moom. I've read about but don't use Flexiglass for moving windows around, it's also on the Mac App Store.
 

chabig

macrumors 603
Sep 6, 2002
5,879
3,140
I'm aware of it and it's great for overview when I've really many windows open, but for me it doesn't replace a Window switcher...
That doesn't explain why Mission Control (four fingers up) and App Exposé (four fingers down) don't solve your problem.
 

Walter Jr.

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 10, 2014
8
0
I'm not necessarily working with a touchpad.

The other thing is: using CMD-Tab gives, at least for me, a predictive order (most recently used). My brain cannot parse the Mission Control screen (too big) quickly to decide which Window I'd need.

I guess the problem I had with HyperSwitch not working properly on Multi-Screen was only temporarily. Now that I rebootet my system, it suddenly worked as expected (Window-Switcher popup only appears one primary screen).

Maybe HyperSwitch already solved all my troubles anyway.

thanks
 

chabig

macrumors 603
Sep 6, 2002
5,879
3,140
Yes, mostly using a USB keyboard/bluetooth mouse and multiple external screens.
Ok. Makes sense. I have a suggestion and I hope you are open to it--purchase and try a Magic Trackpad. OS X is really designed for a trackpad any more. Sure, a mouse works but it's no longer the optimum pointing device.
 

Walter Jr.

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 10, 2014
8
0
To be honest, the trackpad looks really interesting! I love the touchpad, I really enjoy using it and once I started memoizing all the movements it's great.

However, back to mission control: I've many many many windows spread on three screens (two externals and the pro itself). Mission control shows each window on each screen. That is, one my place, almost 1.25m (or around 39.3 inches) which I'd have to look at and find my window.

So far, HyperSwitch actually seems the best for me. I don't have the initial problem anymore (don't know what I did expect rebooting the machine).

Now if the window previews of it would update more often, I guess I'd call it perfect.
 

chabig

macrumors 603
Sep 6, 2002
5,879
3,140
Maybe you'll like Application Exposé. Four fingers down shows the windows of the current application. You can tab from app to app, or command-tab to a particular app.
 

Walter Jr.

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 10, 2014
8
0
Maybe you'll like Application Exposé. Four fingers down shows the windows of the current application. You can tab from app to app, or command-tab to a particular app.
But it works no different than Mission Control to me: multiple windows of an app on multiple screens stay there. One great thing with CMD-Tab is that it shows all of them together (Apps, at least) and does not spread them.

However, I use Expose actually but not in a "quickly need to switch to other window" context.

thanks
 

illusionx

macrumors 6502
Jul 4, 2014
326
0
Brossard, QC
With the combination of spaces (now called desktops), exposé and mission control, you really don't need 3 monitors unless you need to display real time data that you need to access simultaneously while working on another screen.

Maybe that will simplify your life?
 

Bruno09

macrumors 68020
Aug 24, 2013
2,202
146
Far from here
I'm not necessarily working with a touchpad.
From your external keyboard, have you tested this :

Ctrl + up arrow = Mission Control
Ctrl + down arrow = Exposé
Ctrl + right/left arrows = switching between spaces

Switching between the windows of the same app : Cmd + `
 

Walter Jr.

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 10, 2014
8
0
With the combination of spaces (now called desktops), exposé and mission control, you really don't need 3 monitors unless you need to display real time data that you need to access simultaneously while working on another screen.

Maybe that will simplify your life?
Well, for development purpose I need those screens; I'm running multiple browser, multiple VMs, multiple Terminals, multiple IDEs... it's A LOT (and the Pro is really doing great; I'm very happy with that)
 
Last edited:

illusionx

macrumors 6502
Jul 4, 2014
326
0
Brossard, QC
Well, for development purpose I need those screens; I'm running multiple browser, multiple VMs, multiple Terminals, multiple IDEs... it's A LOT (and the Pro is really doing great; I'm very happy with that)

Co-worker is doing pretty well with multiple desktops and switching between is a breeze.

Like I said, that won't work if you need to maintain visibility on all your windows at all time.

But then, if you do, I am not quite sure why you have troubles locating your window app.

Also, with terminals, consider using tabs.
 

Walter Jr.

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 10, 2014
8
0
Update: I never needed to look further than HyperSwitch, actually:
  • CMD-Tab: shows all primary application windows, deterministic (last used) order
  • CMD-`: shows current application windows, deterministic (last used) order
It's perfect and has been ever since.

If it ever stops being updated I probably have to change my field of job.