If you have more than one OS X account on your Mac, or have a desktop computer such as an iMac that is setup with multiple users, the fast user switching feature in Mac OS X Lion can be very convenient. Not only does it allow you to quickly jump between different Mac OS X accounts, but it also enables multiple accounts to stay logged in, in a way. In today’s post, we will review how to setup fast user switching in OS X 10.7.

To get started, login to the OS X administrator account, or the account that you first setup when you purchased your Mac. After you are logged in, navigate the path Finder > Applications > System Preferences to open up the System Preferences pane.

10 7 System Preferences

From here, click on the Users & Groups icon. Once there, you may need to click the Lock icon and type your password in, to access the Users & Groups panel. After you have done so, click the Login Options button.

Unlock Users  Groups in 10 7 OS X

On the next screen, you can set individual preferences for several options, but for this tutorial, you will need to click to check the option Show fast user switching menu as. You can also select how you want your account to show up in fast user switching: Full Name, Short Name, or Icon.

Lion Fast User Switching

Upon selecting these options, you should now see your Full Name, Short Name, or Icon in the upper right corner of the main OS X navigation bar. Clicking on the fast user switching representation should present you with the following menu:

OS X Fast User Switchng Active

That’s all there is to it. Clicking the Login Window… link brings up the OS X login pane. Alternatively, if you have multiple OS X accounts on your Mac, they will show up also. Selecting any account will allow you to quickly switch to it, while still remaining logged in to the account you are using.