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The Switcheroo - Changing Active Programs

Windows 95 and 98 allow you to use more than one program at a time.

Each open program has its own window on the computer screen, but if you are like me, you have one window maximized which fills the whole screen and hides the other open windows. Though hidden, the other windows are still there and the programs are active, ready to use. There is no need to quit the foreground program to see or use the other programs.

Look at the bottom of the screen. That's where most Windows users find the taskbar. It is the stripe of buttons and icons that shows what is active and immediately available on your computer. It also is where the Windows Start button is located.

Here, you see the pertinent section of my computer's taskbar. Notice that the button for FrontPage Express is shadowed to indicate that it is depressed and, therefore, the active window. Both Eudora Light (for email) and Microsoft Word are also running programs and are immediately available by using the mouse to click the button of the program that you want to use. The screen brings the selected program forward, at least partially covering the program window you were using before.

For those who aren't mouse lovers (Eek, it's a mouse!)

If you want to keep your fingers over your keyboard, you can also quickly switch among the active programs using keys instead of the mouse.

Hold down one of the Alt keys and tap the Esc (escape) key. The active program windows will cycle and alternately become the visible, top, active window. (If you keep an eye on the taskbar while you tap Alt-Escape, you will notice that the buttons change to indicate which program is your focus.)


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Personal Computer Education -
Algot Runeman
Permission granted to print and duplicate under the current Creative Commons Attribution license.
August 16, 1999