After installing Ubuntu 19.04, ALT+TAB no longer groups windows under the same application. Instead it cycles through all windows irrespective of which app it belongs to. In Ubuntu 18.10 it worked differently (and better in my opinion) such that ALT+TAB switched between apps, and ALT+| (key above TAB) switched between windows of the same app. How can I achieve this setup in 19.04?

NOTE: ALT+| still cycles through windows of the same app, but I cannot use ALT+TAB first to select the app from the shorter list of apps (compared to the list of windows), so then ALT+TAB loses much of its power if you have many windows open.


3 Answers 3


According to the release notes for Ubuntu 19.04, Alt+Tab behaves differently than before:

alt-tab handling now switches windows by default. Switching applications by default can be done with super-tab

The image below illustrates what Alt+Tab does:


And Super+Tab switches between applications with each application's windows available below:


The following image shows the default "switch" options in Settings > Devices > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Navigation:

Default keyboard options for switching windows/applications

  • @pomsky I added an image of the relevant part of the screen. I'll now see if I can change anything there from the built-in GUI (without resorting to gsettings or dconf-editor).
    – DK Bose
    Commented Apr 20, 2019 at 2:00
  • @pomsky looks like I'm not the best person to check that out because I don't remember what Ubuntu 18.10 did in this regard. I'm mostly on Kubuntu where I have 1 Alt+Tab to list applications with Tab to move to the relevant application (keeping Alt pressed all the while) > then 2, with Alt still pressed using the "`" key to tab between windows of the same application. See askubuntu.com/questions/1134083/…
    – DK Bose
    Commented Apr 20, 2019 at 2:16
  • What you described is also the behaviour in GNOME in older releases and what OP is trying to achieve I believe. In the settings window (as in your screenshot) can't you switch the combinations for 'Switch applications' and 'Switch windows'? Then it'll be same as what you described.
    – pomsky
    Commented Apr 20, 2019 at 2:30
  • 2
    That works. I first had to set an "intermediate" keybinding for Switch Applications otherwise, I'd have the same keybind for two separate shortcuts.
    – DK Bose
    Commented Apr 20, 2019 at 2:38

All keyboard shortcuts including Alt+Tab can be managed in the Settings / Keyboard Shortcuts menu.

I liked the style in Ubuntu 18.04 GNOME, where Alt+Tab switch Applications. In Ubuntu Super+Tab switches applications by default, but you can change this to your liking.

A shortlist, with the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS defaults. NB! Subject to change between versions.

  • Switch applications (Super+Tab) - Only navigate between applications. The last highlighted application window is selected by default - Great when you are Alt+Tab'ing between your browser and Terminal window.
  • Switch windows (Alt+Tab) - Switch between all your open windows, regardless of which application it is.
  • Switch windows directly (Alt+Escape) - Switch back/forth between your two latest windows on one press, or cycle pressing repeatedly, regardless of application. Reminds me of GNU Screen's ctrl+a ctrl+a.
  • Switch windows of an application (Super+key above Tab) - Switch between windows of the current application only. As I have multiple Terminal and browser windows at all times I love this one. That's Super+| (pipe) on my keyboard. YMMV.

And just in case,

Super is your Windows key / Mac key.


Alt-TAB is one, for the workspace apps, but Control-Alt-TAB switches between all app from all workspaces (dconf, marco settings)

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