Frequently Asked Question

How can I make Escape cancel out, as it did in Witch 3?
Last Updated 5 years ago

In prior versions of Witch, pressing Escape would dismiss the switcher window. In Witch 4, though, if you have Search enabled (as it is by default), then pressing Escape switches to search mode (a second press of Escape then dismisses the switcher panel). But as you can also jump to search by pressing S with the switcher visible, maybe you'd prefer to have the "cancel with one press" behavior for the Escape key.

There are two ways to do this. The simplest, if you never use Witch's search feature, is to just disable search. Do that by opening the Advanced tab of Witch's preferences, and unchecking the box labeled "Cycle through search for [ ] lists"—it's the second setting from the top on the Advanced screen. Obviously, you won't be able to use search after making this change.

If you still want to use Search, but have Escape cancel on one keypress, you need to modify a hidden preference. We've made hidden prefs a lot easier to work with in Witch 4; there's a built-in tool to set them, in fact. Give that article a quick read before proceeding.

Using the process from the linked FAQ, here are the the values you need to set to make Escape cancel on one press:

  • Scope: General
  • Setting: Show Search Field: Escape Key Triggers Search
  • Value: NO

Remember, there's no need to relaunch Witch or anything; the pref change takes effect immediately. Pressing Escape should now dismiss the Witch panel, and you'll have to press S to start a search.

To undo this change, just repeat the hidden pref setting, but change NO to YES.

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