I finally upgraded to 18.04LTS about two months ago and am still trying to acclimate myself to the GNOME 3.X DE. I noticed recently that the Alt-Tab task switcher doesn't update immediately with LibreOffice documents.

Case in point:
I've got LibreOffice, Firefox and a Nautilus window with a directory of LibreOffice spreadsheets open. When I Alt-Tab through this I see a generic LibreOffice icon, a Firefox icon (and the open windows) and a Nautilus icon. I'll then switch to the Nautilus window and open spreadsheet(s) and I see that LibreOffice has loaded them in the background behind the Nautilus window. Now when I Alt-Tab to switch to LibreOffice, there is not even a generic LibreOffice icon anymore. If I wait a few seconds and Alt-Tab again, I then see a LibreOffice Calc icon (and the open file windows).

Is this "normal" behaviour? I can't think of any other program that lags in the task switcher. I hope I was clear.


1 Answer 1


You are facing a bug which is there in Gnome Shell for quite some time. Indeed, I am also frequently harassed by the issue. When launching a different component of Libre Office, it takes about 10-15 second before that icon also appears in the Alt+Tab switcher. For example, with Writer open, and its icon visible in the Alt+Tab switcher, then launching Calc (or Draw, ...), the icon will not be there when you switch away from Calc (and then want to switch back to see Calc has no icon - yet).

It is a bug, so it has to be solved by the developers. I do not know if a bug on this has been filed already.


Bumping on my post of more than a year ago, I am pleased to share a workaround. In the launchers for Libreoffice, set StartupNotify to false. That way, Gnome Shell is not awaiting a signal from LO that it is ready (a signal that apparently only comes late), and you can switch immediately.

A safe and semi automatic procedure to do this is to execute following commands one by one:

cd ~/.local/share/applications
cp /usr/share/applications/libreoffice-*.desktop .
sed --in-place 's/StartupNotify=true/StartupNotify=false/g' libreoffice-*.desktop

This command copies all launchers for liberoffice components over to your private ./local/share/applications folder. You can edit these copies without being root, and they take preference over system wide installed lauchers. They will never be overwritten by future updates.

A caveat for the second command: if you have installed LibreOffice through snap or flatpak, the launchers will not reside in /usr/share/applications and may have different names. You will need to adapt the command accordingly.

  • thank you. I did have a look around gitlab.gnome.org and bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/ and did see many related bugs regarding Alt-Tab switching. But I stopped short on reporting a new "bug" because 1) there are already hundreds dating back years and 2) out of curiousity I restarted using Wayland instead of X11...and the problem stopped, although LibreOffice shows a generic icon and not a specific Calc/Writer/etc. icon. But Wayland has its own share of problems. :(
    – gtomorrow
    Jul 26, 2019 at 5:24

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