How to Change Alt+Tab Settings in Windows 11

This post shows students and new users steps to configure what the Alt + Tab shows in Windows 11. By default, the Alt + Tab lets you switch between open windows in Windows 11 and other versions of Windows.

Simply pressing the Alt+Tab keys on your keyboard while holding down the Alt key, and tapping on the Tab key scrolls through your open windows. When you see an outline around window you want, release the Alt key to select it.

That’s the most common way to use the Alt+Tab keys in Windows. Alt + Tab normally moves forward, from left to right. If you miss a windows, you’ll keep pressing the Alt key until you get back to the windows you want to select.

You can also use the Alt+Shift+Tab to move through the windows in reverse order, instead of from left to right.

In Windows 11, Microsoft added additional features to the Alt+Tab keys to open Microsoft Edge tabs as windows. You can now configure the Alt+Tab key to perform the following actions:

  • Open windows and all tabs in Microsoft Edge
  • Open windows and 5 most recent tabs in Microsoft Edge (default)
  • Open windows and 3 most recent tabs in Microsoft Edge
  • Open windows only

Below is how to configure the Alt+Tab keys in Windows 11.

How to choose what to show when the Alt+Tab keys are pressed in Windows 11

As mentioned above, by default, the Alt+Tab lets you switch between open windows in Windows 11 and other versions of Windows.

In Windows 11, you can choose what to show when you press the Alt+Tab keys, and below show you how to configure that settings.

Windows 11 has a centralized location for majority of its settings. From system configurations to creating new users and updating Windows, all can be done from the System Settings pane.

To get to System Settings, you can use the Windows key + i shortcut or click on Start ==> Settings as shown in the image below:

windows 11 start settings

Alternatively, you can use the search box on the taskbar and search for Settings. Then select to open it.

Windows Settings pane should look similar to the image below. In Windows Settings, click System, then on the right pane, and select the Multitasking tile to expand it.

windows 11 multitasking tile

On the Multitasking settings pane, select the tile for Alt + Tab tile, then using the drop-down option, choose what to show when you press the Alt + Tab keys on your keyboard.

You can select Alt+Tab to show:

  • Open windows and all tabs in Microsoft Edge
  • Open windows and 5 most recent tabs in Microsoft Edge (default)
  • Open windows and 3 most recent tabs in Microsoft Edge
  • Open windows only
windows 11 alt tab show windows

You can now exit the Settings app.

windows altandtab key

That should do it!

Conclusion:

This post showed you how to choose what to show when you press the Alt + Tab key on your keyboard in Windows 11. If you find any error above or have something to add, please use the comment form below.

7 Comments

  1. I just have a problem with the outline of windows when using alt+tab
    Often I sit and stare to be apple to see which window is now in scope.

  2. I’m with Emil. I came here hoping perhaps it would offer an answer.

    BTW, to Richard’s otherwise helpful post above, note that the feature for having alt-tab optionally show Edge tabs is not new to Windows 11. It was/is in Windows 10 (indeed, it’s enabled by default, IIRC, as it’s something I always turned off.)

  3. In switching among open windows with Alt+Tab, the black outline of the chosen window is too narrow to distinguish quickly and effectively. Can we either increase the width of the outline or make it a brighter color so it will stand out and make the choice more obvious?

  4. I work on 2 screens and losing the “auto snap” (for lack of a better term) means that now instead of instantly working in the other window, I get a screen and have to do another mouse click to get to the window I want to go to.
    In other words, this “upgrade” has lowered my efficiency.

    Is there any way to change the settings to what it was before?

  5. after latest update, alt+tab now uses it’s own order regardless of last used etc & there is noway to change it.
    typical ms fubar

  6. I fixed this alt+tab issue by updating registry, doing this:

    How to enable old ‘Alt + Tab’ shortcut using Registry
    To enable the legacy Alt + Tab shortcut style on Windows 10 or 11, use these steps:

    Open Start.
    Search for regedit and click the top result to open the Registry.
    Browse the following path:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer

    Right-click the Explorer (folder) key, select New, and click on DWORD (32-bit) Value.

    Name the key AltTabSettings and press Enter.
    Double-click the newly created DWORD and set the value from 0 to 1.

    Click the OK button.
    Restart your computer or kill explorer exe and run new explorer.exe
    voila

  7. Thank you so much! I had no idea and it was driving me nuts that Windows thought that Edge tabs were important enough to be shown by default with alt+tab.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.