When I have multiple windows of an application opened e.g. Chrome main window and Incognito window, and I press Alt+Tab to switch between them, I see only one Chrome icon. I have to then press down key and then right (or left) to switch to the window I want.

How can I separate all opened windows and just press Tab again while pressing Alt key, like we used to in earlier versions of Ubuntu?


Go to Settings > Devices > Keyboard and scroll down the list of shortcuts. Alt+Tab will be the shortcut for Switch Applications.

What you want is to set Alt+Tab on Switch Windows instead, so click Switch Applications and press backspace to clear the shortcut for it. Click set. Then click Switch Windows and set Alt+Tab there instead. This will give you the desired function.

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    anyone know how to do this through terminal ? Trying to automate. – Anand Rockzz Jun 19 '18 at 23:52
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    Use the gsettings command. Key binds can be found at the path "org.gnome.desktop.wm.keybindings" – hiigaran Sep 9 '18 at 14:11
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    Works like a dream. – peter Jun 20 '19 at 18:15
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    thank you very much! – Luke Jan 8 '20 at 13:52
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    omg I wish I had thought to do this a long time ago. Thank you! – seanbreeden Jan 24 '20 at 23:57

It's very simple to solve your problem without change the native keybindings.

All you need to do is type Alt+` (backtick, the key above Tab) if you want switch between the same apps.

To switch different apps, Alt+Tab.

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    Developing muscle memory for a hard-to-reach keyboard shortcut is not simple, nor is switching between two windows of the same app since it involves two sets of keypress combinations as opposed to simply alt+tabbing between the two. – LinuxDisciple Mar 22 '19 at 9:54
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    The idea of ​​all developers about window management is very simple, typing alt + 'or Alt Tab. That's what I meant, and yes, it's very simple. I use this function for many many years, and all the devs that I know use this function. you can not rely on yourself to say this, if this function is still available, it is because it has been approved by the community. – Mauricio Paz May 14 '19 at 14:49
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    Does not answer the question that was asked. – WillC Jun 29 '19 at 11:10
  • On the other hand I would consider this as a better answer because once I integrate the new shortcut within me, it is applicable on any Ubuntu machine. And although this wasn't asked, it's related and broad enough to answer the intent. So thanks! – KalEl Jul 17 '19 at 18:12
  • thank you @KalEl! – Mauricio Paz Jul 25 '19 at 16:48

Graphically using dconf-editor

From : https://superuser.com/a/860001/718726 (pasted here because there is no equivalent answer in here)

  • Open dconf-editor
  • Go to org/gnome/desktop/wm/keybindings
  • Move the value '<Alt>Tab' from switch-applications to switch-windows
  • Optionally move '<Shift><Alt>Tab' from switch-applications-backward to switch-windows-backward
  • If you want switch-windows to work across desktops, not just in the current desktop, you can also uncheck org/gnome/shell/window-switcher/current-workspace-only (Courtesy of @CharlBotha)
  • Close dconf-editor
  • Press Alt+F2, then type r to restart Gnome.

The last step does not always appear to be necessary, but it should not hurt (especially since it does not close any of your running applications).

Equivalent using command-line (no need to install dconf-editor)

Run the following lines in your terminal:

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

If you want switch-windows to work across desktops, not just in the current desktop, you can also execute:

gsettings set org.gnome.shell.window-switcher current-workspace-only false

If you don't notice any change you can press Alt+F2, then type r to restart Gnome.


Install the gnome shell extension AlternateTab

  • now obsolete 2020 – pinoyyid Nov 3 '20 at 17:50

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