In Ubuntu 16.04 I installed a Compiz plugin with an alternative alt-tab switcher that had the nifty feature that until I let go of the Alt key, it hid all other windows and showed only the one I was about to switch to. This is very useful when one has a bunch of open terminals that don't look all that different as thumbnailed previews.

After upgrading to Ubuntu 18.04 this can't be used anymore (save for explicitly switching back to Unity, which I'd rather avoid for unrelated reasons).

Does anyone know of a similar switcher I could install for the GNOME desktop?

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    I happen to use multiple monitors, but the question is not really specific to that. It would be the same with a single monitor and terminals placed in different positions (and/or different workspaces) on that. Mar 12, 2019 at 17:00

2 Answers 2


You can use the Coverflow Alt-Tab extension for GNOME shell. It's a

Replacement of Alt-Tab, iterates through windows in a cover-flow manner.

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Refer to this for installing and managing GNOME extensions: How do I install and manage GNOME Shell extensions?

Another alternative would be using the Alt+Esc combination. It doesn't show any overlay or provide anything fancy, it just switches to the next window and so on.

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    Looks better than the default behavior, but doesn't quite fit what I'm hoping for. I've become accustomed to distinguishing between my various terminals by their location on the monitors -- and showing half-sized previews all moved to the middle of the screen won't really support that habit. Mar 12, 2019 at 16:48
  • In this case, yo may want to look at the overview. Move your terminals to one workspace. Pressing <Super> will show them in a fixed order
    – vanadium
    Mar 12, 2019 at 16:52
  • @henning Also try the <Alt><Esc> combination, it just switches to the next window and so on.
    – pomsky
    Mar 12, 2019 at 16:54
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    @pomsky: Ah, sorry, I had it confused with alt-backtick. Yes, that's actually closer to what I want. Mar 12, 2019 at 17:26
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    And it does do the at least slightly fancy thing of displaying an orange border on the window it's about to switch to. I'll be looking for ways to configure it to be more conspicuous, but I think I can live with that. I'll leave the question open for a day or so in case someone can point to something fancier. Mar 12, 2019 at 17:45

If you like the old panel/taskbar style interface where you can always see what the title of your windows are and you can identify windows by their fixed locations on the taskbar you can try the gnome dash to panel extension.

If you use multiple workspaces, you can customize is in the software center after installing gnome-tweak-tool

I had to tweak it A LOT to adjust the padding, hide unnecessary buttons, ungroup applications, isolate workspaces etc, but I found that in the end it was far more productive than trying to hunt for the right terminal among a sea of identical terminal previews that rearrange themselves continuously.

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