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Mac Girl, getting comfy with keystrokes!

This afternoon, I was adding a few feeds to NetNewsWire that I had in FeedDemon on my laptop (I find that I check more frequently on my mac, so I was combining), and one of them was Adam Kalsey’s. I’ve been reading his blog for a long time because of Movable Type related things he has done in the past.

Anyhow, he pointed out: My Essential OSX apps list, and said "Quicksilver is absolutely amazing". I knew that much, I’ve been using QS to launch programs. But what I didn’t know was how many other things QS can do. He linked to Quicksilver: A Better OSX in Just 10 Minutes. What a helpful guide! I hadn’t thought about using it to switch between open apps, so that’s kinda handy. I also like some of the plugins - now I can calculate, see a little box when iTunes starts playing a song, search my bookmarks in various browsers, etc.

So then this got me thinking about the question for switching between apps. I’m used to doing alt+tab on my PC when I am swapping between apps that take up too much of the screen. Especially if they are two things I’m swapping between over and over like Photoshop and a HTML editor. Alt+tab does nothing noticeable in Tiger.

A google found me this blog post from a while back: Windows-like Alt-Tab for Mac OSX, which pointed out Ctrl-F4. That’s a bit harder of a keystroke to hit, but it does work somewhat (it doesn’t scroll through the open windows in a circle, just a straight line—like app1 -> app2 -> app3, then it stops instead of going back to app1 again). I lied, it does go in a circle, but it does NOT go back and forth between the last two used like Alt+tab does.

That site also points out Command+Tab, which pops up a little box like Alt+tab does. That goes between all MAXIMIZED applications. One box for each application rather than one box for each window of an application. So if you have say 5 safari windows opened and maximized, you’d use Command+tab to get to safari, and then another keystroke, Command+~ to go between the windows of that app. I like that a lot more than the other example.

Slacker Manager notes that tab F9 moves through Exposé’s windows. That works too. I do use Exposé currently to swap between windows using my mouse by hovering into the active screen corner (top left).

So I still have a windows keyboard, and I’m forever trying to remember which is which for the modifier keys. Here’s my equivalents: (written on keyboard == what apple calls it)

Ctrl == Control (^)
Alt  == Option (half X)
Windows key == Command (Apple key)
Shift == Shift (up arrow)

For what those symbols look like, see the image at Mac Guides: Keyboard shortcuts. One thing that is crappy is that the right-click key that is on some keyboards? it inserts junk. So when I’m posting in MarsEdit and acciently hit that key, it puts some extended character, and won’t post. So I have to paste into SubEthaEdit with "Show Invisible Characters" turned on to see where I hit it. Also, command is used in most cases where I was used to using Control (like Ctrl+C to copy now uses Command+C, so that’s twice as confusing!

I’m still trying to get used to Home and End not working how I expect, but when searching today, I was reminded of Command+Arrow to get to the beginning or end of the line. Maybe typing that will embed it in my head!

I could try and use some sort of a tool to switch it, but I’d rather be familiar enough to just DO it correctly when I go between computers. Same for Home/End - I could try hacking it, but I’d like to just get used to it. I’m tempted to just get a Mac keyboard! wink


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