When I switch windows in GNOME shell with Alt-tab, I find it really hard to distinguish between windows just from the little preview thumbnails.

Back in the old days, metacity (and Compiz, iirc) would draw a border or otherwise indicate the screen position of the window you were switching to. Even better would be highlighting the window in some way. Is there a way to do this with GNOME Shell?

I'm on Ubuntu 18.04, GNOME Shell 3.28.

(Related, but I'm just hoping for an outline or highlight, not necessarily a window preview: Is there a window switcher for GNOME that shows the actual window?)

  • 7
    Do you mean something like Alt+Esc? Switch windows directly. Aug 30, 2019 at 16:12
  • 4
    Oh, I hadn't discovered that! That's way better, but my ideal would be to combine both of them. It's nice to see the tabbing order at the same time. Aug 30, 2019 at 16:36
  • 1
    Do you mean something like Alt + ` for current application windows, or like this with all windows, using Alt+Tab? Sep 1, 2019 at 0:20
  • I prefer the AlternateTab behavior, where Alt+Tab switches between all windows on the current workspace. Although it seems like highlighting the window should work with either behavior. Sep 1, 2019 at 19:28

1 Answer 1


The AATWS - Advanced Alt-Tab Window Switcher Gnome Extension does what you're asking I think. You can change the setting “Show Selected Window” to “Show Preview” and then as you cycle through windows with Alt-Tab, the current window is raised and a prominent border is added to the window so you can easily identify it.

  • Ooh, this looks excellent, thanks! I'll give it a try as soon as I update to 22.04. Apr 13 at 19:22

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