Dawn Bjork Buzbee
The Software Pro®
Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT)
Certified Microsoft Office 2010 Specialist (MOS 2010) Master Instructor
Certified Microsoft Office 2007 Specialist (MOS 2007) Master Instructor
Microsoft Certified Application Specialist (MCAS) Instructor
Certified Microsoft Office Expert
Certified Women's Business Enterprise (WBE)
WOSB (Women-Owned Small Business) Certified
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Keyboard shortcuts are great timesavers to manage, arrange, and to
switch between active windows in Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows
XP. Find out how to quickly switch between your open windows and active
programs with just a
Windows Flip (Alt + Tab)
For years, the keyboard combination of [Alt] + [Tab] has been
an easy switch between open windows without touching your mouse. When
you press [Tab] while holding down the [Alt] key, a
floating palette displays the icons of running programs. Keep holding
down the [Alt] key and each time you press [Tab] again,
you highlight the next icon. When you release the keys, the highlighted
program jumps to the front so you can work with it. This keyboard
shortcut works with all versions of Windows.
Tricks with Alt + Tab:
- Add [Shift] to move backward.
- Add the [Ctrl] key to lock the display, so you don’t have
to keep the [Alt] key held down. Just tab to the icon you
want, then press [Spacebar] or [Enter] to select the
- Here’s one of the handiest ways to use this shortcut: If you
just tap [Alt] + [Tab] without holding down the [Alt]
key, you get an effect that’s often even more useful. You jump back
and forth between the last two windows you’ve had open. It’s great
when, for example, you’re copying information from one window to
Windows Aero Flip 3D
This Windows trick works with Windows 7 or Windows Vista but not in
XP. If your computer can run Aero (the default interface with
see-through windows), you can use Flip 3D, a sort of 3D version of the
[Alt] + [Tab] shortcut. With this shortcut, Windows shrinks all
program windows so they all fit on the screen. You flip through them in
a stack of 3D screens to find the window you want.
To activate Flip 3D:
- Press the Windows Logo key + [Tab] to "Flip"
between the open windows.
(The Windows Logo key is usually between the [Ctrl] and [Alt] keys
at the left of the [Spacebar] and has a flying flag or Windows logo
on top. See link at end of these tips for a full handout of Windows
- If you keep your finger on the Windows Logo key, you will see a
3-dimensional display of your open windows.
- Next, navigate through the deck of windows with one of these
- Tap the [Tab] key repeatedly. Add the [Shift] key
to move backward through the stack. When the window you want is in
front, release the key. The 3-D stack vanishes, and the important
window appears before you at full size.
- Turn your mouse’s scroll wheel toward you. Roll it away to move
>>Grab your own copy
of Windows keyboard shortcuts
Persistent 3D Flip
Windows 7 also includes a variation of Aero Flip called Persistent
3D Flip. This is a handy shortcut which eliminates the need to keep
holding down keys.
To use Persistent 3D Flip:
- Press the Windows Logo key + [Ctrl] + [Tab] or
press the Flip 3D key (shown above) on your keyboard if it has one (with 3
layered rectangles/windows). Not surprising, you’ll find this key on
many Microsoft brand keyboards.
- Release the Windows Logo key and [Ctrl] and the Flip
choices stay in place.
- To flip through the open windows without having to hold down any
- Use the arrow keys, or
- Press [Tab] to navigate through each window, or
- Use your mouse’s scroll wheel.
- Press [Enter] or the [Esc] key to maximize the
Add these tips and shortcuts to your work with Windows.
© Dawn Bjork Buzbee, MCT, The Software Pro®
Dawn Bjork Buzbee
is The Software Pro®
and a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) as well as a certified Microsoft Office
Specialist (MOS) Master Instructor, certified Microsoft Applications Specialist
(MCAS) Instructor, and a certified Microsoft Office expert. Dawn shares smart
and easy ways to effectively use software through her work as a software
speaker, trainer, consultant, and author of 8 books.
This article and
more can be reprinted at no charge in your publications and website with
copyright and attribution.
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Double-click on a window title bar to
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