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The simple keyboard combination of Alt-Tab to switch between applications doesn't work.

I have followed this answer but it doesn't answer the question as I want to switch to another application, not display applications and then have to select it via the mouse as it defeats the purpose of the quick switch to the other application.

There is also mention of updating the Keyboard shortcut settings. My keyboard combination is set to the Alt-Tab in the shortcut section and it doesn't switch applications. Seems the setting is ignored as I changed it to another keyboard combo and it just doesn't switch applications.

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Are you using "gnome classic no effects"? – Seth Apr 18 '13 at 14:30
@seth No, just Gnome Classic – Meer Borg Apr 18 '13 at 22:43
up vote 17 down vote accepted

Seems Application Switching is turned of by default.

To activate it you need to run the following command


That will bring up CompizConfig Settings Manager.

  • Go to the Window Management section.
  • Check off ✔ Application Switcher.

Then the Alt+Tab will work.

Require installation of the compiz-plugins-extra package.

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For what it's worth, this option seems to be crashing my Gnome. I used mace's suggestion and activated the static application switcher, which now works beautifully. – Andrei Bârsan Aug 15 '14 at 15:23
How can this be done programmatically (i.e., a script) or on the command line? – gonzobrains Feb 3 '15 at 21:43
for Ubuntu 14 and up the package that contains ccsm is actually: compizconfig-settings-manager The compiz-plugins-extra is not required. – user464551 Oct 24 '15 at 15:20
It works. Still, once done, I realised having it disabled on my ubuntu desktop makes sense, since it looks so ugly. While "Super+W" is a good substitute for switching for windows – augusto Feb 6 at 11:42

The solution in Meer Borg's answer made my computer very slow.

I instead checked the:

✔ Static Application Switcher

That also solves this problem.

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yeahh this thing worked for me too – Tejas Ghalsasi May 29 '14 at 9:00

Using the Static Application Switcher made my Alt+Tab work, but Alt+Shift+Tab was somehow bound to a different application switcher, which meant that I could not go back and forth by keeping the Alt key down, and alternating between Tab and Shift+Tab.

I finally managed to get it working by removing Alt+Shift+Tab from switch-applications-backward:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.keybindings switch-applications-backward "['<Shift><Super>Tab']"

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