Although many applications now feature tabbed interfaces to make it easier to work with multiple instances of the same program, it is still quite common to find that you are running several titles at the same time. There are numerous ways to switch between open windows, from using buttons in the taskbar to using keyboard shortcuts to cycle through running programs. The Alt-Tab shortcuts has been around for some time, and pressing these keys simultaneously displays a list of open programs and windows complete with thumbnail previews for easy identification and selection. Vista introduced Flip 3D which made use of the Windows key in conjunction with the tab key to provide a three dimensional alternative with larger preview windows.

But neither method is perfect when it comes to distinguishing between programs, but another option exists in the form of Switcher. This handy utility creates new shortcuts (the Windows key and ` or Caps Lock by default) which provides a new way to switch between windows. Programs and windows are displayed as large preview windows in one of three customisable layouts which makes it easy to select the program you want to jump to. Animations enhance transitions between programs and the appearance of the tool can be customised in a variety of ways to suit your tastes.

When there are a large number of programs running at the same time, a search facility is on hand to make it quicker and easier to home in on the one you are looking for. Switcher is a simple tool with one aim in mind - to improve upon a built in feature of Windows, and this is something it achieves with style.

Verdict

An effective and attract way to switch between programs with a simple shortcut.