We’ve already discussed the Windows 8 Charms bar in a previous tech tip. Today we look at the Windows 8 “Switch List”. Similar to the Charms bar the Windows 8 Switch List is a navigation bar that only appears when it is activated. When it is activated your Switch List will be seen on the left hand side of the screen.
What does the Windows 8 Switch List do? Similar to the Alt + Tab keyboard shortcut that was available in Windows 7, the Switch List allows you toggle through any currently running Apps. Among the available options in the Windows 8 Switch List the ability to toggle to the desktop, since in this version of the operating system it is considered an App.
Activating The Switch List
Desktop / Laptop Users
For those of you using a conventional desktop or laptop computer you can access the Switch List one of two ways. On your keyboard you can activate the Switch List with the key combination Win + Tab (remember the Win key is typically located between your Ctrl and Alt keys in the lower left of your keyboard). Additionally you can use the Ctrl + Win + Tab combination to cycle between open Apps in the Switcher from the bottom up. Finally you can also activate the Switcher by moving your mouse cursor to the top left of your screen and simply dragging it down along the left edge of the screen.
Obviously features like this are built with touch devices in mind, so this is the simplest to explain. Just swipe your finger from the left edge of your device screen to the center and the Switch List will activate.
Please note that Switch List only toggles through Apps running in the Modern UI (These are applications that only run in your Start Screen environment). If you need to toggle through programs and windows running in the Desktop then there is still the trusty Alt + Tab key combo.