The simple keyboard combination of Alt-Tab to switch between applications doesn't work.

I have followed this answer but it doesn't answer the question as I want to switch to another application, not display applications and then have to select it via the mouse as it defeats the purpose of the quick switch to the other application.

There is also mention of updating the Keyboard shortcut settings. My keyboard combination is set to the Alt-Tab in the shortcut section and it doesn't switch applications. Seems the setting is ignored as I changed it to another keyboard combo and it just doesn't switch applications.

  • Are you using "gnome classic no effects"?
    – Seth
    Apr 18, 2013 at 14:30
  • @seth No, just Gnome Classic
    – Meer Borg
    Apr 18, 2013 at 22:43

4 Answers 4


Seems Application Switching is turned of by default.

To activate it you need to run the following command


That will bring up CompizConfig Settings Manager.

  • Go to the Window Management section.
  • Check off ✔ Application Switcher.

Then the Alt+Tab will work.

Require installation of the compiz-plugins-extra package.

  • For what it's worth, this option seems to be crashing my Gnome. I used mace's suggestion and activated the static application switcher, which now works beautifully. Aug 15, 2014 at 15:23
  • How can this be done programmatically (i.e., a script) or on the command line? Feb 3, 2015 at 21:43
  • for Ubuntu 14 and up the package that contains ccsm is actually: compizconfig-settings-manager The compiz-plugins-extra is not required.
    – user464551
    Oct 24, 2015 at 15:20
  • It works. Still, once done, I realised having it disabled on my ubuntu desktop makes sense, since it looks so ugly. While "Super+W" is a good substitute for switching for windows
    – Augusto
    Feb 6, 2016 at 11:42
  • +1 for compiz-plugins-extra Jan 10, 2018 at 9:41

The solution in Meer Borg's answer made my computer very slow.

I instead checked the:

✔ Static Application Switcher

That also solves this problem.

  • 1
    yeahh this thing worked for me too May 29, 2014 at 9:00
  • What is Static Application Switcher? How to use it?
    – shgnInc
    Mar 29, 2020 at 6:34

Using the Static Application Switcher made my Alt+Tab work, but Alt+Shift+Tab was somehow bound to a different application switcher, which meant that I could not go back and forth by keeping the Alt key down, and alternating between Tab and Shift+Tab.

I finally managed to get it working by removing Alt+Shift+Tab from switch-applications-backward:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.keybindings switch-applications-backward "['<Shift><Super>Tab']"



sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
sudo apt-get install compiz-plugins

if you didnt install plugin you wont be able to see application switcher

type ccsm in terminal or do alt+F2 search ccsm

and select Window management , check (enable) application switcher checkbox.

if it prompt for conflicts, say resolve conflicts and select things which is selected which is set anyway


now you can do alt+tab

you can change this shortcut in same ccsm,

-> Scroll down or filter to "Ubuntu Unity Plugin". -> Choose the tab "Switcher". -> click alt-tab and shift-alt-tab key bindings. ("Key to switch to the previous window in the Switcher") Click the "Back" button.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .