Switch is a cross-platform open source application launcher

Switch is a cross-platform open source application launcher that is available for Windows and Mac devices. The application adds a new bar to the right or left screen border that users may show with a tap on the Alt-key. The bar displays a number of applications that may be run when it is displayed.

Switch is an Electron-based application which means that its size is quite large when compared to native applications. Interested users may download the latest version from the project’s GitHub website to install it on their devices.

The application displays a short tutorial on first start that highlights keyboard shortcuts and capabilities. If the system is configured to block outbound connections by default, you will notice that the app attempts to connect to the Internet. It is unclear why it does so but it can be blocked easily if a proper firewall or tool is used.

A tap on the Alt-key or AltGr-key displays the launcher on the screen.

switch launcher

It displays eight different spots for applications; none of these is configured by default. To assign an application to a spot click on the plus icon and select it using the local file browser.

The process may take a while as you may only use the file browser, e.g. File Explorer on Windows 10, to pick the program executable files. If you don’t know the location, you need to research it or browser standard locations such as the program folders to locate it.

Options to drag & drop shortcuts from the taskbar, desktop, or start menu, or any other location, would be handy but are not supported.

Once you have added applications you may start them with a tap on the Alt-key and a click on the icon. It is alternative possible to right-click and select “launch app” to start a program or use the keyboard shortcuts Alt-1 to Alt-8 to load them directly (the number specifies the spot in the launcher starting with 1 at the top and 8 at the bottom.

I always got a short notification when I tried to use the keyboard shortcuts to launch apps that prompted me to click on the notification to start the app.

The settings are bare bones at the time. You may disable the auto-hide option that hides the dock automatically and disable the maximize option that maximizes the app on switch.

switch application launcher

There is also an option to move the dock from the right area to the left area of the screen, to disable the AltGr-key, and to enable the intro again so that it is shown on the next start.

Closing Words

Switch is a handy program for Windows and Mac systems that has a few usability issues. Adding programs is not that comfortable but it is something that you won’t do too often. The lack of options to add or remove slots from the launcher and the issue that I experienced when using the keyboard shortcuts to launch applications immediately weight more heavily in my opinion.

It is also debatable whether an extra area to launch programs is really required when you could pin them all to the taskbar on Windows.

Last but not least, since it is Electron-based, it has quite the high requirement when it comes to memory usage. It used about 125 Megabytes on a Windows 10 64-bit test system.

Now You:Do you use application launchers? (via ITECHTICS)

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