I put certain windows on certain spaces, but prefer alt-tab to switch between them. Is there a toggle or other option to turn on the alt-tab from all workspaces in unity?

3 Answers 3


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In 12.04, the switcher defaults to those windows co-located on one workspace/viewport.

You have a couple of options in ccsm

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You can untick the bias option which will show windows in all workspaces.

Alternatively, you can use add CTRL to your ALT+TAB to achieve the same effect

  • 1
    Just for the record, to find this panel, you need to open the Ubuntu Unity Plugin in the compiz manager
    – chrismarx
    Jan 22, 2014 at 17:09
  • 2
    +1 because of the »add CTRL to your ALT+TAB« hint
    – mariotomo
    May 4, 2015 at 13:39

CompizConfig Settings Manager is deprecated, another tool to use is gconf-editor.

Navigate to


and set the proper key bindings for alt_tab_forward and alt_tab_forward_all. By default, Ctrl+Alt+Tab switches between windows on all workspaces, and Alt+Tab between windows on current one. I'd just swap them.

Or from the command line:

gconftool --set --type=string /apps/compiz-1/plugins/unityshell/screen0/options/alt_tab_forward_all '<Alt>Tab'
gconftool --set --type=string /apps/compiz-1/plugins/unityshell/screen0/options/alt_tab_forward '<Control><Alt>Tab'

You may also want to fix alt_tab_prev and alt_tab_prev_all accordingly (I personally never use them).

  • gconf is being phased out itself in favor of dconf.
    – Seth
    Mar 12, 2013 at 14:37
  • So...which tool should be used by an inexperienced (or lazy) Ubuntu user? I'd rather not have to learn gconf-editor or dconf if the CompozConfig Settings Manager is still around. (Is there harm in using the CCSM for now?)
    – jvriesem
    Mar 30, 2016 at 18:03

No-new-software based solution:

Based on Yevgen Yampolskiy's suggestion in Alt-Tab does not switch , I renamed the .gconf* and .gnome2* folders in my home folder to ..gconf* and ..gnome2*, logged out, and back in.
Problem solved. By the way, I had been using 12.04 for 8 months until this problem struck after I stupidly did sudo service lightdm restart from an F1 console session. Stupidly, because I was running gnome classic without effects.

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