For example, I ran Firefox and opened Askubuntu. Then opened some link in a new window. As a result, I have two windows of Firefox and one icon of Firefox on the launcher. I want to have an icon for each opened window.

How do I do?

  • 2
    If anyone has the Launchpad bug report for this issue, it would be great to have a link to it here. Nov 4, 2014 at 10:13
  • 10
    Very annoying that the top answers here are all apologizing for this misfeature rather than providing an answer.
    – jimrandomh
    Jun 19, 2015 at 16:32
  • Clearly this is a bug. Vote for it at the Launchpad Jan 5, 2018 at 13:14
  • 3
    The question was raised 6 years ago. I came here googling how to get rid of grouping windows in my task bar. Is there a solution after these 6 years?
    – Green
    Jan 20, 2018 at 20:08
  • You can use workspaces to get icon for each window on the launcher. Put each window to different workspace. To do that click Activities and drag each window to different workspace and icon for each window will appear on the launcher.
    – user570605
    Oct 8, 2018 at 20:12

6 Answers 6


This is by no means a solution to what is asked but may be helpful

Research shows there are a lot of people asking and wanting this feature that is being asked about. There is bound to be a working solution. Searching related questions here on Ask Ubuntu gives reference to gnome environment or others which may give useful building blocks for working it out for Unity. May be time to accept there is not an easy solution for ungrouping windows in Unity launcher icon.

"Alt and `" (Button above Tab) switches windows of app as does "Super and w" All credit to Jo-Erland Skinstad who answered this Ask Ubuntu question. Depending on the mouse (if any)being used any keyboard shortcuts can be easily mapped to one button whether it be on mouse or keyboard which would give one click to show open windows and then one more left click to select which would make window switching slightly easier. To remap keys look here or xboxdrv would be another option- "It is also possible for xboxdrv to read input data directly from an event device, this allows the use of the configurability of xboxdrv on regular PC joysticks, keyboards and mice and thus lets xboxdrv serve a similar purpose as joy2key. See the option --evdev below for more information." as long as hotkey is not part of shortcut. Sure is doable with a little research.

Additionally an Ubuntu Forums user has filed a request for what you ask using Brainstorm. Other Ask Ubuntu questions mentioning editing or making quicklist menu/icon for application may be possible for an advanced user but can only find working examples for gnome environment and not unity like shown here and they do not use Firefox as a working example. The Ubuntu Forums question that is referred to can be found here and the Brainstorm request/idea can be found here So go get voting!


  • 2
    Has brainstorm gone away?? How do we vote for the feature now?
    – mjaggard
    Aug 13, 2015 at 9:43

If you want a taskbar you could try tint2. works great for me.

Tint2 Website : https://gitlab.com/o9000/tint2

From Webupd8 : Tint2 is a lightweight panel/taskbar intentionally made for Openbox3, but should also work with other window managers such as Gnome.

enter image description here

You can install tint2 by issuing the command sudo apt-get install tint2 Then launch it through ALT+F2 and typing tint2

If you'd like to customize the position and the look and feel, there's an article on WebUpd8 with a GUI customizing tool here : http://www.webupd8.org/2009/09/how-to-install-and-configure-tint2.html

  • Will I still be able to have Unity at the same time? I want to keep the "dash home": the kind of start menu where I can search for applications as well as search for menu commands using single press on alt key.
    – qwertzguy
    Apr 10, 2013 at 13:19
  • Yeah it runs as a separate app in any Desktop Environment . You can try it out and see if it fancies your taste. Apr 10, 2013 at 14:33
  • 1
    Ok, so I tried it and it works well and is easy to configure using code.google.com/p/tintwizard/downloads/…. However I'm missing two important features: the ability to have shortcuts to launch apps and the middle click to duplicate an app. I can't seem to find a way to do it with tint.
    – qwertzguy
    Apr 10, 2013 at 14:58
  • So I think I will settle with avant window navigator (AWN) which has the option to ungroup windows and is very powerful and customizable.
    – qwertzguy
    Apr 10, 2013 at 14:59
  • AWN is a wise choice. Glad to see you found yourself an alternative :) Apr 10, 2013 at 15:10

UPDATE 2021:

As much as I love the fact that people complain to me instead of Unity (when it was actually Unity the one with the issue), times have changed.

I am actually with the people that want to give the user the option instead of the platform removing it, but we need to be up to date with this:

  1. Unity is gone. It is now managed by Gnome.
  2. We would need to ask gnome to provide us with an option like this
  3. This was only relevant basically 4+ years ago. And it was the best way Gnome+Unity try to handled this scenario.
  4. I tried programming my own custom solution with no luck at that moment. After which Ubuntu moved to Gnome so my energy to create the custom solution was removed.

So, 5 to 9 years ago there was no way of disabling it (Please read the end of the answer for more). The idea behind this was for cases where you needed to open not 2 Firefox Windows, or 4, but 10 or 20. Now imagine having the Unity Launcher with the common icons it has plus 10 to 20 firefox icons there. You would see 10-20 firefox icons, all the same, and would first have to guess which one takes you to the webpage you wanted to go. Secondly, if you wanted to close them you would have to go, one by one and start closing them manually.

So we have 3 issues:

  • If a user wants to open many windows of the same program.
  • If a user wishes to switch easily between all opened windows of the same program.
  • If a user wants to close many windows of the same program.

With this 3 issues an idea came to mind. Group them together in a single icon in the Launcher that represents the application in use and offer in a one right click solution, all the options needed to cover the rest of the issues.

Between 12.04 and the soon to be release 13.04, there has been much work put out to not only solve this 3 issues, but to help the end user work faster and easily, with just a minor learning curve. The end result (For 13.04 for example) is an icon that can deliver many windows of the same application and offers the possibility to change between them in an almost one click solution. Of course, the option to disable it was never added (Even on 16.10).

Some of this images can show you an example:


In this example, I have Nautilus opened 4 times, one Nautilus is left opened on a folder called Docs. Another is opened pointing to HOME. Yet another is opened showing the Documents folder. One last Nautilus window is opened on a movie I have. By right clicking on the Nautilus icon I can easily switch between them by simply clicking on them. The window will maximize and gain focus, leaving me with a Window I can start working immediately.

enter image description here


Here you can see the same example. Many Chrome Windows opened. Each with several tabs and each one showing the exact webpage where I left them:

enter image description here


Lastly, your example, Firefox. Here you can see several Firefox Windows opened. And each Window is shown when I right click on the Firefox launcher icon:

enter image description here

Not only can I manage several windows of the same app quickly, but if the need arises, I can close them all with the "Quit" option in the launcher icon's context menu. Saving me time in case I had 20 Firefox Windows opened.

I also felt the pain when I could not access my multiple windows in an easier manner, but after using this method, I found it was easier, quicker to search in, since I did not have to go through many launcher icons to guess which one is the one I was looking for, neither did I have to scroll down the Unity launcher between 20 Firefox Windows, 30 Chrome ones and 40 Nautilus ones just to get to the one I needed. Overall, it saved me time when I needed to find the correct one and work on it.

As you can see, it focused itself to be more productive to the end user, with just a slight touch in the learning curve.

Now, if you actually wanted to have the option to ungroup them, it would involve, downloading the Unity source and any dependencies related to it. Modifying the code so you could actually ungroup them, by default or as an option, compile this and install it on the system, making your Unity be able to ungroup them as you wish. But in this case, I would ask, is it better than the solution provided by the Unity Development Team?.

This of course is left to each person to decide on how they like to use their system. In my humble and honest opinion, I feel the change made by the Unity team, solves several issues I had on 11.10 or even on 12.04 related to this, and the way it works on 13.04 is much better than I anticipated.

Currently there is no straight and specially easy way of disabling this option. Now, with all of this said, I do stand with the rest of the comments below in that, there SHOULD be an option to disable this. The user should always have an option. I have searched over a span of 2 years for an easy option to disable this or at least a script, with no luck. If however, you read this and find and option that is easy to apply without breaking the system, please share it as it will benefit everyone.

  • 31
    a) This is not an answer to the question. b) In my humble and honest opinion the best option is always to let the user choose the behaviour they want! (So yeah, sure, have it the way it is as a default, but why not let users who are so inclined also ungroup the windows, perhaps even on an application by application basis?)
    – Tom
    Apr 7, 2015 at 10:52
  • 2
    There are actually four issues. 4) The user wishing to switch between all open windows regardless of which application they belong to. Failing to recognize this results in this situation. Oct 21, 2016 at 10:58
  • 3
    @LuisAlvarado The Alt-Tab implementation in Ubuntu does not do the job right there and then. It first navigates programs and then - if you hesitate - amongst windows of that program. This makes it unpredictable as time is involved in actual behavior and you need to look at the monitor while typing to ensure that you get what you want. This automatically makes the process slower! Were you involved with the design of this? Oct 22, 2016 at 10:02
  • 1
    the thing that annoys me most is that it always changes the sort order of the windows. It shows the last used on top. I am a developer and it drives me insane. I want things where I left them, not remember what was the 3rd most recent terminal or VS Code window I opened
    – Toolkit
    Aug 25, 2018 at 9:59
  • 1
    Maybe I'm willing to have 10 or 20 Firefox icons. As I type this on my Mac, I have 14 Chrome icons in my dock right now. I prefer it that way. This should be a user preference, as it is on Mac. Apr 5, 2019 at 5:18

I don't know if that's possible. However, each additional window of an application will add a new tick to the left side of that application's icon in the launcher (up to three ticks I believe). enter image description here

Clicking the icon will bring up a screen of all the open application windows for you to select which one you want. enter image description here

  • 4
    Thank you, James. I did not know that it is possible to click ticks. But I need a taskbar. For example, the same as in gnome 2. To see all the windows and switch between them with one click. Why is it impossible if I have free space on the launcher?
    – Dimitrijj
    Feb 19, 2012 at 8:45
  • 1
    @dimitrijj If you have Compiz and Ubuntu Tweak installed, go into Ubuntu Tweak and Select Compiz Settings. On Workplace Edge settings set one of the corners for "Show Windows" ( I have mine set for top left). Now, whenever you move the mouse to that corner it will show a screen with all open applications.
    – James
    Feb 19, 2012 at 17:38
  • 1
    thank you. I know it. Hotkey "super + w" give the same result.
    – Dimitrijj
    Feb 19, 2012 at 20:38

If you need a taskbar icon/item per opened window, then solution could be to use gnome classic or Xubuntu components, not unity. For example Xubuntu (Xfce) works pretty well this way. Solution for you would be to install Xfce and start Xfce session instead of unity session.

On the other hand you will lost a lot of unity functionalities via alt and master keys, lot of keyboard shortcuts, etc.

Additionally, if you follow this question: How can I install XFCE along side unity? , you will find how to install xfce and additionally, there should not be any conflict between unity and xfce, so you can configure a new xfce vertical panel (just tested on Xubuntu) which contain just icons not names of the opened windows ad place it to the right corner for example.

It is not exactly what you need, but I think Ubuntu launcher does not support such functionality - this is a real life.

  • 3
    The bounty seems to be for solutions within Unity.
    – user25656
    Apr 10, 2013 at 10:48
  • @vasa1 can you not run xfce4-panel from within Unity
    – Mateo
    Apr 12, 2013 at 2:15
  • @mateo_salta, the impression I have is that this answer is suggesting installing and logging into an Xfce session. I don't know what will happen if just xfce4-panel is installed instead of Xfce itself and then what happens when one tries to run xfce4-panel within a Unity session...
    – user25656
    Apr 12, 2013 at 2:24

Turning my comment into an answer:
I think I will settle with avant window navigator (AWN) which has the option to ungroup windows and is very powerful and customizable.

However it is not very stable (some window icons disappear after changing settings or relaunching and some of the launchers icons gets doubled when relaunching). Also it is not matching some windows correctly, such as eclipse and thus leaves a launcher icon at the same time as adding a task icon. Same for shortcuts to Virtual Box VMs.

If anyone knows a better alternative or if someone can tell me if patching unity for this would be a huge work or not, I would be glad to know ;)

  • 1
    "However it is not very stable" - that may be due to Ubuntu more than the software itself. I have found that components of Ubuntu Unity just crash and burn for seemingly no reason.
    – Underverse
    Mar 12, 2017 at 8:56

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .