A keyboard-based window switcher
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README.md

The goal of Focii is to:

Make window switching a keyboard only affair, and let me get to any window (unless it's hidden), using a small number of keystrokes that I can easily remember.

You may find my blog post on Focii here:
Ditching the mouse for pure keyboard navigation

Find a window

The main keystroke is ctrl-;. This is a global key-binding that opens the main focii search window. In this window, you can enter a search term. It will then find a window that best matches that search term.

The search window looks like a small bar in the middle of the screen. If you have multiple screens, it's going to appear on the screen where your mouse cursor is. This may change.

And here's how it searches:

  • Among program names (e.g. chrome.exe, firefox.exe, winword.exe)
  • Among window titles (i.e. the text that's usually in the title bar)

And really that's it. The key thing to remember is that it is going to open the first correct match it finds. Note that is searches against program names (the name of the executable, for instance), and not the common name of the program (e.g. Microsoft Word).

Can I be more specific?

Actually you can. You can search amongst programs and their window title, at the same time. Meaning, for instance, you have 20 Microsoft Word windows open, and you want to find the one that is display the "readme.doc" file.

Then you can do this search query:

word!readme

And it's going to open the first document that is open is Microsoft Word. The assumption is that the program name "Word" matches "Microsoft Word" and not something like "Wordpad", for instance. If there is ambiguity, you just need to be more specific:

winword!readme 

Oops, it got it wrong, now what?

Focii gives you two methods to recourse if it gives you the wrong window. The first is to switch among windows that matches the search term, but was not the first match. The key-binding is:

win-;

The second method of recourse is for you to switch among windows of the same application, no matter what those windows are. They key-binding is:

alt-;

The exception to the alt-; is if the window is not a Windows (the operating system) recognized window. A good example are tabs (i.e. browser tabs, for instance). These tabs are implemented not in a way that Windows can trivially enumerate, and hence Focii doesn't switch among them. However, most applications that implements tabs allows you to switch easily among them anyway. A seemingly consistent standard is ctrl-tab.

Hence, I believe and hope that with these key combinations at your disposal, it becomes fairly quick and easy to get to the window you want, keyboard-style.

Auxillary utilities

Focii also gives you some other goodies, if you will.

Flashing current window

First of all, when you switch between windows, it flashes the active window. This gives you a visual cue where you are. In addition, if you lose track (since you're not using the mouse), hitting:

ctrl-alt-;

will flash the current active window.

Starting a program

In the spirit of a launcher, typing

!<program-name>

will have Focii search the start menu for a matching name, and start that process. Note that this is not window switching. I'd also like to say that this is not Focii's main aim, and hence may not be the most intelligent or advanced launching mechanism around ;)