As a Mac Power User Wannabe™ I look for tools and utilities that speed up what I do a hundred times each day. Take switching between Mac apps. It’s Command-Tab, right?
What could be easier? Except for bouncing between Mail and Safari, switching windows gets complicated very fast. What we wannabe’s need is a smarter, faster, more efficient way to switch between apps and their respective windows. Is it Witch? Maybe.
Switching Is More Complicated Than It Seems
Switching from one open Safari browser tab to another is a simple click, right? Of course, you need to know what’s on each Safari tab first. That’s not so easy and results in more clicks to find what you want.
Switching from one Mac app to another with Command-Tab is easy, right?
Your hands never leave the keyboard, icons for each app pop up, move the arrow key to select which app you want. The Mac is just so easy to use. Except for those apps which have half a dozen windows open.
Exposé to the rescue, right? Not so fast. Exposé makes small versions of every app’s open window, but also creates a monolithic clutter if you have many open apps, each with multiple windows open.
How about Spaces? Personally, Spaces is more of a mental organizing tool than a feature that enhances efficiency. With a dozen open apps and open windows, who can remember which app is in which Spaces space.
Make Switching Easy Again
A simple act of switching gets complicated as the number of open apps increases, and the number of open windows for each app increases. Apple doesn’t provide an easy or efficient way to switch between all that openness.
Witch is a Mac System Preference Pane that’s both more effective at switching between anything, and easier to use than anything except Command-Tab. And it’s almost that easy.
First, Witch’s pop up window (use Command-Tab, if you prefer) displays all the apps and their respective open windows. There’s nothing new to learn (same Command-Tab key combo) but you get more information about what’s open in each app. Select the app’s page and you’re there.
Second, Witch realizes that you can’t tell much from the name of an app’s open window, so it gives you a pop up preview (works like Quick Look in the Finder). Every window of every app gets a pop up preview of the page’s contents. How? More command keys? Nope. Just select a window for two seconds and the preview is automatically popped up.
For Spaces users, Witch can see all apps in all spaces and each app’s corresponding open windows. The Witch app list will display the number of the Spaces window. One click and you’re there.
Command-Tab is easy to use, easy to remember, so Witch can use it, too.
But Witch’s switcher can be customized using one of five preset themes or create your own theme. Without getting all geeky, but recognizing the need for some Mac users to get their geek on, Witch can be customized for functions, too.
Keyboard shortcuts can be created to go from wherever you are on the Mac to nearly anywhere you need to be. Keyboard shortcuts also help you navigate Witch’s options without using the mouse.
Witch may be the easiest to use power tool I’ve installed on my Mac since DragThing. You don’t have to be experienced to use it. Install, click Command-Tab, watch the powerful way to move between open apps and their open windows. After that, the gentle learning curve moves quickly to more functions but only as you require.
Caveats? A few. Witch is a bit expensive considering it merely enhances a function already built in to your Mac. It’s that whole diminishing returns argument. For example, the Spaces function requires Snow Leopard, but other functions work on Leopard and PowerPC Macs. If you’re not yet a Mac power user, but you’re leaning that way, Witch helps you lean without falling.