Command-Tab is great…if you only ever have one window open in each of your applications. With more than one window, though, it's a hassle to find the one you want. Witch solves that problem by taking you directly to the window you want to reach.
If you work with a lot of open windows with similar names, sometimes it can be tough to keep them all straight. Witch solves that problem by providing a pop-up preview (optional) of every window in its panel. Just leave a window selected for two seconds, and the pop-up appears:
With a quick glance at a preview image, you can tell exactly which window it is you'd like to activate.
If you prefer, you can even opt to see shrunken versions of the preview images in place of the standard icons displayed in Witch's panel.
See into Spaces
Witch is fully Spaces-aware—it can see all windows in all Spaces, as long as you're running Mac OS X 10.6 or newer. (Witch relies on a Spaces-related framework that doesn't exist in 10.5.)
If you have Spaces enabled, Witch's Spaces support is automatically enabled as well, but it can be easily disabled in Witch's Preferences.
Witch identifies windows from other Spaces by drawing dashed frames around their icons:
Witch is a great addition to Spaces, as it gives you even more control over Mac OS X's virtual desktop feature.
(1) Due to limitations in Mac OS X, you must manually activate Witch in each Space one time before it will see all windows.
Change the look
If you don't like the default appearance of the Witch window switcher, you're in luck: it can be customized.
Changes made to the appearance tab take effect immediately, so you can quickly see the results of your handiwork.
The Appearance tab makes it simple to customize Witch to your liking. You can pick from one of five pre-made themes, or easily create your own.
And now, in Witch 3, you can save those themes as well!
Save Witch's appearance settings
In Witch 3, not only can you customize the appearance of the switching panel, you can save—and load—those customized appearance settings.
This means you no longer need to worry if you want to tweak your current appearance—just save it first, try your changes, and if you don't like them, select the saved settings to restore the old appearance.
You can also easily share themes with others by sending them an appearance file, and you can load files they send to you.
Witch 3 now lets you assign Command-Tab and Shift-Command-Tab (or Command-`) as the Witch activation keys. Set up in this manner, Witch replaces the Command-Tab application switcher.
Witch 3 also mimics some of the Command-Tab switcher's functionality. When you press H (hide) or Q (quit) with Witch active, the action occurs immediately, as it does with Command-Tab.
Witch adds more useful when-active keystrokes, too: M to minimize a window, Z to zoom it to full screen, and W to close it.
In addition, A and Shift-A will jump by application (instead of moving window-by-window), J and K will move the selection down and up (as in vi), T and B (or Home and End) will jump to the top or bottom of the panel.
Press F to show the currently-selected document in a Finder window. If you've got an app with no open windows selected, that app will be shown in a Finder window.
Press P (or Space Bar) to pop up a preview image, even when previews are disabled.
Finally, press Comma while the Witch panel is visible to open Witch's settings—just like in most any other Mac OS X application.
Details done right
As with other Many Tricks products, Witch's objective is to do its job well without getting in your way. To that end, Witch includes these niceties:
- Choose any of the first ten windows with a single keypress.
- Switch between only minimized windows or only non-minimized windows in all applications, or in only the frontmost application.
- Add a gradient to the selection background, and control its intensity and direction.
- Use document icons (when available) instead of application icons in the switcher panel.
- See application icon overlays when using document icons. These small badges tell you at a glance which app created which document.
- Limit the width of Witch's switcher panel, to help control excessively-long window titles, as found on many web sites.
- Specify applications and window titles that Witch should not list in the switcher.
- Sort Witch's switcher panel by application activity order (like Command-Tab does with applications), or by application name, or a few other ways to suit your needs.
There are simply too many additional features to list here; just download the free trial and test Witch for yourself to see what it's all about.
By default, Witch just enables a keyboard shortcut to switch between active windows. However, it can do much more...
Don't worry—Witch works just fine if you never even visit this screen. But if you do, you can unlock some real power, such as:
- Release all minimized windows via a global keyboard shortcut.
- Zoom the current window (i.e. click the green window button) using a keyboard shortcut.
- Close minimized windows without first releasing them.
By creating triggers for your most-used window management tasks, you can really make Witch work the way you do.
The Behavior tab provides tons of options to further customize your Witch experience.
- Set a delay (or no delay) before the Witch panel appears after activation. A brief delay allows you to fast-toggle between two windows without seeing the switching panel.
- Change window sort order.
- Add an entry for windowless and hidden applications to make it simple to activate them from the switcher panel.
- List windows and/or applications that you'd like Witch to ignore (i.e. not show in its switcher panel).
- Control Witch's behavior when using the zoom (Z), minimize (M), and close window (W) keys in the switcher panel.
With powers like these, it's no wonder we named it Witch!