macOS-like window switching on Windows with alt-`

Dedicated followers (and anyone making the switch from Mac to PC) – this Pi Day 2017 gift is just for you! A new day means a new free app for our favorite peeps on the internet. Meet Easy Window Switcher, our invisible window cycling utility that makes it ridiculously easy to jump between windows of the same application à la OS X with the alt` (alt-backtick) keyboard shortcut.

Easy Window Switcher (codename wincycle) imbues your Windows PC with the same superpowers that were once exclusively reserved for the ranks of Apple’s OS X users. With Easy Window Switcher, you don’t need to muck around with alt-tab trying to find the window you’re looking for amongst 40 or 50 others1 – just hold down the alt key and backtick away to your heart’s content. And moving backwards is as easy as 1, 2, 3 altshift` and done.

Easy Window Switcher is a crazy-fast and absolutely tiny little program that you’ll quickly learn to never live without. Just download and run the software and you’ll be on your way to (window switching) productivity nirvana. Easy Window Switcher takes up less than 800KiB of memory, automatically starts up when you log in, and requires no admin rights. Best of all, it’s completely free!

Download Easy Windows Switcher

  1. What? You really don’t have that many windows open at once? What are you doing here reading this post!? 

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  • 28 thoughts on “macOS-like window switching on Windows with alt-`

    1. I really like this, as I am definately someone who has many Word or Excel docs open at once that I need to toggle between.

      One issue though – on my Uk keyboard it’s the apostrophe (&39;) key, not the backtick (`) key that I need to use ( + Alt) to toggle.
      Is this intended?
      Is this just me?

    2. @mhmazen: no, this switches anything. I’m using it to switch between Chrome windows now.

      @Paul: this was designed with the US keyboard in mind. The idea is to use alt + the key above tab and to the left of the number 1. Is that the key that works for you?

    3. I (will) LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS. It was fantastic timing whilst I try to make my work Surface Pro act more like my Mac so my multitasking muscle memory doesn’t go to waste.

      I think the issue mhmazen may have been having was the programs inability to handle fullscreen windows for whatever reason. It works great when I haven’t maximized my windows, but as soon as I do it won’t cycle off the current window.

    4. @Chris you get the award of reporting the first confirmed bug. You win the internets for today.

      Stay tuned for an update!

      (Sidenote: I *knew* adding support for easily upgrading EWS was a good idea, even though I told myself “nah, won’t need it!” Good thing we did 🙂

    5. @Mahmoud – I suspected it should be the key above tab; but it is not the case for me on a UK keyboard (even though a Google Image search of the UK and US keyboard suggests these specific characters should be in the same place). It is the key to the right of the semi-colon [ ; ] key that initiates the switching.
      On a UK keyboard this is ‘ with @ as the alternate/upper character.
      Let me know if you need more details.

      Great tool by the way!

      @Chris kudos to you for the first confirmed bug! 😉

    6. @Paul: I’m a bit confused, which is the “‘ with @” key – the one that does the switching now, or the one that’s next to the number 1 (which is the one we would want to do the switching)?

      Is this your keyboard?

    7. @Mahmoud hopefully a can clarify.
      The image at shows the UK keyboard layout (compared to US).

      The key that window switches on my keyboard is two keys to the right of “L” (middle row of letters, to the right). On a UK keyboard this is an apostrophe.

      Info from Key Identification Tool below.
      Key to the left of the “1” in top left of keyboard.
      Keyboard Layout: 0x809
      Key Code: 0xDF

    8. @Paul: Thank you, the output of the key identification tool is exactly what we needed. It confirms that the wrong physical button was being used and gives us the info to make it work correctly 🙂

    9. Easy Window Switcher 1.0.1 has been released which fixes the bug that prevented switching between maximized windows and brings some optimizations. See the linked blog post for a download link and upgrade information.

      EWS 1.1 will be released very soon with support for non-US keyboards. If you want your keyboard layout to be supported in EWS 1.1, make sure to provide the information requested in the comments above/in the linked article.

    10. @Mahmoud, no I’m in Canada and today the key identifier only shows the 0x409 layout but no key code number. Strange.

    11. @Mahmoud, I shut off my system for a while and when I re-started it’s now showing 0xC0 for the key code. That’s an Australian code?

    12. I really liked how this worked on my old computer, but I’m having difficulties to make it run on startup on my new machine.
      Is there param to start the wincycle.exe without the prompt?
      In that case I could put it to startup as a shortcut with this param.

    13. I played with the registry a bit and seems like it worked. For some reason there was no entry for for wincycle.exe in ..Windows…Run
      I added it manually and then it was fine.

    14. @Milenko: if you run it and choose the “automatically start with Windows” option, it should set up the autostart for you. The entry is user-local, so make sure you are checking HKCU and not HKLM.

    15. @Mahmoud Al-Qudsi :

      Portuguese (Portugal) keyboards:
      Keyboard layout: 0x816
      Key Code: 0xDC

      Please ACK this comment 🙂

    16. Nice program. I have a question. When I cycle through Chrome windows, it only cycles through the windows that are not minimized. Shouldn’t it cycle through the minimized windows too?

    17. @David, there was an issue with the upload for the new version that was rectified last night. Kindly try again, and our apologies for the inconvenience.

      @Rick, no it is intended that minimized windows remain out of the workflow (this applies to all applications, not just Chrome).

    18. Is anyone able to get this working on Windows 11? I tried installing the program and using the key command but nothing happens.

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