November 7, 2009

Switch Between Programs

Switch Between Programs

Whenever you have two or more programs open at the same time, you want to be able to easily switch among them. You have several ways to switch among open programs, as discussed in the sections to follow.

Switching with taskbar buttons

As mentioned, almost every open program has a button on the taskbar. When you have multiple open programs, you have multiple taskbar buttons. To make any one particular program active, click its taskbar button. If you’re not sure which button is which, point to each button. You see the name and a miniature copy of the program that the button represents. You also see a full-size preview of the window, a new feature in Windows 7.

Switching with the keyboard

If you prefer the keyboard to the mouse, you can use Alt+Tab to switch among open windows. Hold down the Alt key and then press the Tab key. You see a thumbnail image for each open programm window. Keep the Alt key pressed down and keep pressing Tab until the name of the program you want to switch to appears above the icons. Then release the Alt key.

Switching with Flip 3D
If you’re using the Aero Glass interface in Windows 7, you can use Flip 3D to switch among windows. Hold down the WIN key and press Tab. The desktop darkens, and any program windows you have open appear in the three-dimensional view.

When you see the three-dimensional stack, you can click any window to bring that window to the top of the stack on your desktop. If your mouse has a wheel, you can cycle through windows by spinning the mouse wheel. If you use the keyboard, keep the WIN key held down and press the Tab key until the window you want is at the front of the stack. When you release WIN key, that same window will be on the top of the stack on the desktop. In Windows Vista, Flip 3D was accessible from the Quick Launch taskbar. That taskbar isn’t included in the Windows 7 interface, but you can create a shortcut for Flip 3D and pin it to the taskbar.

Here’s how:

1. Right-click the desktop and choose New -> Shortcut.

2. In the Type the Location of the Item text box, type c:\windows\system32\rundll32.exe DwmApi #105 and then click Next.

3. Name the shortcut Flip 3D and click Finish.

4. Right-click the shortcut and choose Properties.

5. Click the Shortcut tab of the item’s Properties dialog box and then click Change Icon.

6. Click Browse, and in the Windows\System32 folder, locate and select the file imageres.dll; then click Open.

7. Select the Flip 3D icon (or another icon of your choice) and click OK.

8. Click OK to close the Properties dialog box for the shortcut.

9. Drag the shortcut to the taskbar to pin it there. You can then delete the original shortcut from the desktop, if you prefer.

Whenever you want to use Flip 3D, just click the shortcut icon in the taskbar to display the open programs on the desktop, and click the window you want to use. You can also scroll with the mouse to cycle through the windows.

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