Mouse Hover to Auto-Raise Window

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A great feature is window auto-raise. This way, you don't have to click the window to activate it, just hover mouse over it. This save you a lot clicks. However, it takes some time to get used to.

Microsoft Windows

To turn this on, go to “Control Panel”, then “Ease of Access Center”, then click “Make the mouse easier to use”, then checkbox “Activate a window by hovering over it with a mouse.”, click Save.

Linux

For linux, it depends on what window manager are you using. But, usually you can set it in the Window Manager preference pane.

linux auto focus panel screenshot 2012-11-17
Linux xfce auto-focus screenshot

On Linux, be sure to make the delay time around a second. Because, otherwise it's too sensitive.

What About Mac?

It's nearly impossible to set window auto-raise in OS X. See: 〔Settling the OS X focus-follows-mouse debate By Steve Yegge. @ steve-yegge.blogspot.com…

Push Mouse to Window Edge to Switch Windows

You can set your apps so that each touches a edge on the screen. This way, you just nudge your mouse to switch. This is much faster and convenient than 【Alt+Tab ↹】.

xah Linux desktop 2013-06-02
linux desktop screenshot.

The most frequently used app for me are: Emacs, Firefox, Chrome, terminal. Each's window has a visible area on screen, usually on one edge of the screen. So i just hover to it to activate.

Also, you should set up a key to switch window within the same app. For example, in terminal, you might have several terminal windows. Once you push mouse to activate a terminal, you can press the key to switch to other terminal windows.

Don't Move Mouse Needlessly

One problem is that if you moved your mouse carelessly, some background window pops to the front. You can quickly go back to your previous window by【Alt+Tab ↹】. However, it is especially annoying when the window you are working on is a small dialog that just popped up while you are moving the mouse. You can't switch back to the dialog because it's not a window or app.

So, you'll get into the habit of not moving the mouse needlessly. Leave hand off the mouse when not actually moving pointer.

Auto-raise is especially good if you are a trackball or trackpad user. Because trackball are less likely to move the pointer unnecessarily. For best trackball, see Best Trackball Mouse.

Single Key to Switch App

Sometimes you have too many apps/windows open but you only have 4 screen edge. So, i recommend: One Key to Switch to {Firefox, Emacs, Terminal}.

If you use a full sized keyboard with numberpad, the numberpad keys is best used to switch apps, tabs, window. For detail and how-to, see Computer Keyboard: Using Number Keypad as Function Keys.

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