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Can I switch between individual figure windows with the Apple-Tab key combination in MATLAB?

On the Windows version of MATLAB, I can switch between undocked individual figure windows and the main MATLAB window using the Alt-Tab key combination. However, on the Macintosh version of MATLAB, I cannot switch between individual figure windows with the analogous Cmd-Tab key combination.

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5 Answers

Answer by MathWorks Support Team on 27 Jun 2009
 Accepted Answer

This is the correct behavior on Mac OS X. The Cmd-Tab key combination cycles through applications, not windows.
The ability to cycle through figure windows is a feature added in the Mac OS X version of MATLAB 7.2 (R2006a). To cycle through an application’s window layer (or individual windows), use the Cmd-~ key combination.
For previous product releases, you must use the Window menu and select the appropriate figure window.

  8 Comments

Hello,
Our development team is currently investigating this issue, and they believe it is related to a change in the Java software that MATLAB uses. Unfortunately, the only workarounds right now are to use Cmd+Shift+~ or to use a release previous to R2018a.
Thanks for letting us know about the workaround. Any updates on this?
is there a keyboard shortcut to toggle between figures in the Linux version of MATLAB 2018a? Thank you!

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Answer by Joseph MacGregor on 26 Jun 2018

I've also experienced this issue in R2018a on High Sierra and am interested in seeing Cmd+~ functionality restored. Thanks for letting us know that Cmd+Shift+~ still works, though.

  1 Comment

I'd like to add my weight to this request. Using cmd+~ was a powerful tool to cycle through open matlab windows on previous versions; cmd+shift+~ is not practical and I would greatly appreciate the old functionality being restored.

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Answer by Ruth Musgrave on 14 Nov 2018

Agree. This issue of not being able to cycle through figures is negatively affecting my workflow.

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Answer by James Van Zandt on 22 Feb 2019

I see <command> ~ fails with R2018b also (only toggling between two windows, not cycling among all windows). The workaround is considerably less convenient: It requires three keys instead of two, and cycles through the windows in the least convenient order. If I visit window 1 then 2 then 3, and want to return to 2, I can use <command> `. However, if I want to return to 1, I must use <shift><comand> ` and cycle through all the other windows first.
The default under MacOS (see system->preferences->keyboard->shortcuts->keyboard) is that <command> ` will "Move focus to next window". Please restore that configuration.

  1 Comment

I'd like to lend my voice to this issue as well - the loss of Cmd-~ focus behavior is extremely inconvenient. Is there a bug fix for this in the works?

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Answer by James Van Zandt on 19 Apr 2019

I have installed MATLAB R2019a, and find that <cmd> ` once again cycles among all open MATLAB windows, rather than just toggling between the last two. However, I've been unable to figure out its rule for the order.
To review: on the Mac, the OS maintains a stack of apps, and <cmd><tab> lets you pull an app to the top of the stack. <cmd><shift><tab> operates with the same stack, but starting at the bottom (i.e., the right end of the row of icons).
With Microsoft Office on the Mac, <cmd> ` cycles among windows in one order, and <cmd><shift> ` cycles among them in the opposite order. Unlike with <cmd> <tab>, it does not matter whether you hold <cmd> down between presses of `. The windows form a ring rather than a stack, and the keyboard combinations do not affect the order. The order can be changed by clicking on the windows. If you click on A then B then C then D, then <cmd><shift> ` will visit them in that order, and <cmd> ` will visit them in the opposite order. If you're on window A and want to toggle between A and B, first click on B to make it "next". Then <cmd> ` will go "back" to A, and <cmd><shift> ` will go "forward" to B.
With MATLAB R2019a, if you click on window A then B then C then D, then <cmd><shift> ` will visit them in that order. <cmd> ` will also visit each of the windows, but not necessarily in the opposite order. It seems to use a different ring, that is not affected by either clicks or keypresses. If you use one of these shortcuts to cycle through the windows and go too far, you cannot use the other shortcut to "back up". I've found no convenient way to toggle between windows.
I really wish <cmd> ` and <cmd><shift> ` implemented a stack of windows, so I could conveniently navigate among a subset of them, while keeping others available at need. Failing that, I think the Office scheme (which lets me "back up") or even the R2018b scheme (where <cmd> ` just toggles between the last two windows) look more useful than the R2019a scheme.

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