In Ubuntu, if I am running multiple windows of the same application and I want to chose one of them using Alt+tab, I can't instantaneously do it. The default behavior is to press Alt+tab, then wait on the grouped application icon, and finally the grouped windows will appear from which I can choose (a window).

Instead of grouping windows, can I change the default behavior to show all opened windows of the same application using Alt+tab?

marked as duplicate by pomsky, karel, Zanna, Fabby, Kulfy May 4 at 1:18

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To obtain the exact behavior in the question, do one of the following.

Using a GUI Application

  1. Install dconf-editor
  2. Open dconf-editor
  3. Find: org/gnome/desktop/wm/keybindings
    Screenshot to find keybindings

    1. Remove default behavior: Alt+Tab

      Find: switch-applications
      Change: Use default value = false
      Change: ['<Super>Tab', '<Alt>Tab'] to ['<Super>Tab']
      screenshot remove default behavior alt+tab

    2. Remove default behavior: Shift+Alt+Tab

      Find: switch-applications-backward
      Change: Use default value = false
      Change: ['<Shift><Super>Tab', '<Shift><Alt>Tab'] to ['<Shift><Super>Tab']
      screenshot remove default behavior shift+alt+tab

    3. Set new behavior: Alt+Tab

      Find: switch-windows
      Use default value = false
      '' to ['<Alt>Tab']
      screenshot set new alt+tab behavior

    4. Set new behavior: Shift+Alt+Tab

      Find: switch-windows-backward
      Use default value = false
      '' to ['<Shift><Alt>Tab'] enter image description here

  4. If you want switch-windows to work across workspaces, not just in the current workspace, you can also uncheck org/gnome/shell/window-switcher/current-workspace-only

  5. Close dconf-editor
  6. Older versions Gnome: (unnecessary in Ubuntu 18.04), You may also need to restart Gnome shell. To do this, first save any work and close all applications. Finally, press Alt+F2, then type r to restart Gnome.

Using shell

First, list existing settings, in case you want to revert. This does nothing other than list values.

gsettings get org.gnome.desktop.wm.keybindings switch-applications  
gsettings get org.gnome.desktop.wm.keybindings switch-applications-backward  
gsettings get org.gnome.desktop.wm.keybindings switch-windows  
gsettings get org.gnome.desktop.wm.keybindings switch-windows-backward  

Change to new behavior

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

If you want to switch between two grouped windows of the same application, e.g. Gnome Terminal, use Alt + ` (backtick or grave accent; the key above Tab). Add Shift to switch in reverse, i.e., Alt + Shift + `.

It may not be easy (it wasn't for me) to get used to it, but when you do, you'll find it a lot easier and better.

  • 1
    Yes this seems reasonable, I am just used to Windows. Thanks :) – hkassir72 May 8 '13 at 7:30
  • I have an AZERTY keyboard. What is the alternative to Alt + ~? – Oussema Jun 4 '18 at 1:58
  • 1
    @Oussema I edited the answer. the key combo is actually Alt +` (backtick, the key above Tab) – mike stewart Aug 16 '18 at 18:19
  • 2
    @Oussema If you have the French AZERTY layout, use Alt + ² – wjandrea Aug 16 '18 at 18:31

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