I'm looking to quickly switch between to windows of an application in Unity. I looked at Unable to switch between different windows of the same application but I didn't get any answer.

The only option I've got is to long-click on the icon on the dash and click on the window when they're all shown. That's definitely too long ! I'm sure there is a shortcut, like an Alt+Tab but I don't find it.

So, how can I quickly switch between windows of an application ?

  • whats the console command to start switch between open windows in linux?
    – SL5net
    Jan 5, 2021 at 21:14

8 Answers 8


In "System Settings.." --> "Keyboard" go to 'Shortcuts' tab. At the left choose "Navigation". Scroll down to "Switch windows of an app directly", and assign the keyboard shortcut you'd like (I'm using Alt+'). Hope that works for you.

  • 2
    I tried a lot of combinations but each time the shortcut isn't reconized. Do you need a reboot or something ?
    – NorTicUs
    Oct 18, 2012 at 9:00
  • 2
    I also found this "feature" of unity incredibly annoying. I tried following the advice of Gil, but to no avail. Here's what finally worked for me: set the shortcut for "switch applications" to something like Alt+tab, then set the shortcut for "switch windows of an application" to something else like Alt+q. (Note that these settings have the opposite effect of what you might expect -- i.e., Alt+tab toggles the windows of a single application, while Alt+q toggles multiple applications.) Oct 25, 2012 at 3:20
  • 3
    Setting "Switch windows of an app directly" to Alt+` worked for me without a reboot.
    – Lenna
    Feb 1, 2013 at 20:57
  • 2
    @WilliamDeMeco, notice there are 2 separate options listed:"switch windows of an application" and "Switch windows of an app directly". The second one does the trick.
    – nvk
    Apr 13, 2013 at 6:11

At least in 13.04, you should be able to do this with alt+§ (the key above tab, at least on Swiss keyboards).

  • 1
    On a de keyboard layout it is: ALT + ^
    – Alex
    Sep 7, 2015 at 12:45
  • life changing :)
    – Valentas
    Feb 3, 2018 at 8:29

I discovered two ways of doing so.

  1. Use alt+tab until the desired app gets marked. Then wait a little while until the seperate windows of the application show up.
  2. When you have one window of the application active, click on the applications icon on the quick launch bar. You should now see all of the applications windows.
  3. To switch to the previously selected application hold alt und press shift+tab

Another suggestion is switching between workspaces.
Just put a window of your application on several workspaces. You can switch between these workspaces really fast using alt+ctrl+arrow-key(up, down, left, right).

  • 2
    Thank you, but that's already what I'm doing. I need a faster method, like one click or one shortcut, because I do that all the time and I can't spend 2s switching windows.
    – NorTicUs
    Oct 17, 2012 at 11:43
  • Ok how about switching between 2 workspaces then? I'll add that to my answer.
    – cauon
    Oct 17, 2012 at 11:58
  • 1
    Yes, that could do it, but when I open a lot of windows and don't want to assign them to a different workspace just so I can switch between them. I know, I'm very picky :)
    – NorTicUs
    Oct 17, 2012 at 12:01
  • Ok last suggestion before I run out of steam :-) What about shwitching to the previous application? I've added this to my answer. Though I find it hard to utilize it may work for you.
    – cauon
    Oct 17, 2012 at 12:13

Expanding on what @CedricReichenbach posted, alt ~ works excellently for me on an English keyboard.

  • thanks for this. Have been looking for this for a while. Note: this is useful if you have many of the same application open. For example if you have 5 terminals open, alt+tab just switches between the last 2 terminals used. However, 'alt ~' can switch between each of the terminals one at a time. Mar 5, 2015 at 21:36

Late answer for those who still find this search result:

Alt+Tab is default for switch between apps ignoring windows. You can wait a bit and thumbnails of actual windows will come up, nice for completely new users but not very useful as speed is the whole point of keyboard shortcuts.

But actually a quick Alt+Tab and release will always switch between the top-most 2 previous selected windows, even if they are of the same app. This is a more or less insane behaviour when you spell it out like this, but in practice it is nice for old habits.

Alt+~(above Tab) is default for switch between windows of same app only. A little awkward unless you are a Mac power user or something. But what is very nice about this is that you can hold Alt and use Tab or key above at will. Which is to say you can Tab to drill down to the app you know you want and then key above to the specific window without ever releasing Alt until you are done.

More good options have come on board over time (both in 13.04 I think). They are not keyboard shortcuts but are really good for exploring everything that is open if you have gotten very busy or cluttered:

  1. you can right-click any launcher tile and see windows only of that app are in that list.
  2. you can scroll the mouse wheel over any launcher tile to immediately switch between windows only of that app.

Keyboard shortcuts are not really ideal for this because they are instead for when you know exactly what you want to switch to.

See: http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2013/02/new-window-switching-method-added-to-unity


Following @CedricReichenbach notice, it is already possible on french keyboard with alt+² (which is indeed the key above tab).


You can use super+w to show all active windows, and then use tab to switch between them.

see this: https://help.ubuntu.com/stable/ubuntu-help/shell-windows-switching.html


If you are searching for a seamless switch between the same application but a different window along with the other applications then this extension does the exact same thing:


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