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?

  • The new behavior, like Mac, is terrible.
    – Nathan B
    Jan 26 at 12:23

4 Answers 4


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.

enter image description here

  • 2
    anyone know how to do this through terminal ? Trying to automate. Jun 19, 2018 at 23:52
  • 1
    Use the gsettings command. Key binds can be found at the path "org.gnome.desktop.wm.keybindings"
    – hiigaran
    Sep 9, 2018 at 14:11
  • 3
    Works like a dream. Jun 20, 2019 at 18:15
  • 1
    thank you very much!
    – Luke
    Jan 8, 2020 at 13:52
  • 2
    omg I wish I had thought to do this a long time ago. Thank you! Jan 24, 2020 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.

  • 5
    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. Mar 22, 2019 at 9:54
  • 2
    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. May 14, 2019 at 14:49
  • 1
    Does not answer the question that was asked.
    – WillC
    Jun 29, 2019 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, 2019 at 18:12
  • thank you @KalEl! Jul 25, 2019 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, 2020 at 17:50

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