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The keyboard key combination in Windows that brings an application to the foreground in lieu of using a mouse. Pressing Alt-Tab switches between all open applications in the Taskbar.

The Alt key is held down while the Tab key is pressed to cycle through the icons of all the windows. When the Tab key is released, the highlighted window is brought to the foreground.

The Mac Uses Command-Tab
In the Mac, Command-Tab is pressed in a similar manner; however, Command-Tab cycles between applications, not between multiple windows open within the application. To cycle between multiple windows within the application using the keyboard, Command-Tilde is used. See tilde.


(1) In mathematics, the tilde (~) stands for equivalence; for example, a ~ b means "a is equivalent to b" (not equal, but comparable). It also stands for approximation. Officially written as two tildes, one over the other, the single tilde has become acceptable; for example, ~100 means "approximately 100."

(2) In the Unix world, the popular Unix shells, except for the Bourne shell, support a home directory name substitution using the tilde (~). Also called a "squiggle" or "twiddle," the symbol is a prefix. For example, ~ jackson would refer to the "jackson" home directory. See shell and home directory.

(3) In Windows 95/98, the tilde (~) was used to maintain a short version of a long file or folder name for compatibility with Windows 3.1 and DOS. See Win Short file names.

(4) In Spanish, the tilde (~) turns the letter "n" into a "nyeh" sound such as in mañana; pronounced "mah-nyah-nah," which means "tomorrow" and "morning" (tomorrow morning is "mañana por la mañana"). In Portuguese, the tilde over the letters "a" and "o" adds a slight nasal sound to the syllable.

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