Is it possible to quit applications while switching through them with Alt+Tab? When I used a Mac many years ago and you were switching through open applications with (let's say Command+Tab) you could let go off tab and then hit Q to quit the app.

How can I do this same thing in Ubuntu 14.04?

  • 2
    The most similar thing I recall is Win+W -> Use arrows to highlight window -> Alt+F4 – Salem Aug 10 '14 at 15:15
  • I am afraid not, as you can see when you press the super ("windows") key (hold). Probably not what you are looking for, but you can right click on the application's icon in the launcher and choose "Quit". – Jacob Vlijm Aug 10 '14 at 15:16
  • 1
    I just tried to and unfortunately, I can't achieve the same behaviour as a mac because of key press speeds... I miss it too ;) – Tim Aug 10 '14 at 15:47

I may have a workaround to quit an application from the switcher:

  1. Install compizconfig-settings-manager and xdotool
  2. In the compizConfig Settings Manager, go to General->Commands
  3. Write a command (command line 0 is free) as xdotool keyup Alt; xdotool key Alt+F4
  4. Go to the Key Bindings tab
  5. Create a key binding to run the command (Run command 0 is you wrote the command line 1. I assigned the key <Alt>q for myself

Now, from the switcher, select an app (Alt Tab Tab) and keep the Alt key down. And press the q key. The selected app should stop.


If you have pushed alt + tab, you should see something like this:

Alt+Tab app switching interface

If you select the program you wish to close and then release tab and press ~ it will open a smaller version of the application in the switcher and it will display the X in the top left corner as such:

close button

If you click the X it will close the program.

  • 1
    That's interesting. I didn't know about the ~ shortcut. – streppel Aug 10 '14 at 16:18
  • 1
    On the computer where I have Ubuntu 14.04 installed the key to use is ½ rather than ~. If there are multiple windows from the same application, the miniature windows open automatically if I just release tab and wait a couple of seconds, but if there is only one, I have to press ½. – kasperd Aug 10 '14 at 16:49
  • This is not for closing applications while switching between with Alt+Tab! – Pandya Aug 11 '14 at 8:41
  • @Pandya I feel this qualifies as while switching as you aren't leaving the tab switching mode. I do, however, understand that this isn't exactly what the OP wanted. I feel it is close enough that it can be used until an answer that fully satisfies the question is submitted. – AceFire6 Aug 14 '14 at 9:04
  • Thanks for this, I upvoted it, it is close and I have been using it. I am still hoping for an answer that fully satisfies. – Elijah Lynn Aug 19 '14 at 15:31

Simply press Q instead of Tab, while you are holding Alt.
(verified in Ubuntu 16.04 so far)


You are holding Alt while you press Tab repeatedly to switch to different apps. The thumbnail display of apps is the app switcher, and it won't disappear until you release Alt. Once the app you desire is highlighted, if you press Q, the switcher will send that app an "Alt+Q" command, and the app will close. You can then continue to Alt+Tab to another app, and repeat if needed.


There are some apps like Sublime 2 that do not properly respect the request for close, and only the application window will disappear; it will remain open in the background! If you re-"open" Sublime, you'll see your work intact. In fact, if you haven't saved it to disk, you may incorrectly believe you're using your changes, when they are not on disk. To date, this is the only app I've seen disrespect the request for close. YMMV. Be careful.


I know this because I accidentally press Alt+Q all the time when my fingers slip off of the TAB key during Alt+Tab. I found your answer while looking for a way to shut this off. ;)

  • Wow, really excited to hear this. Will test it out in a month or so when I upgrade! – Elijah Lynn May 16 '16 at 20:13

This works for me;

  1. alt-tab to bring up the application switcher

    (keep alt key pressed during step 2 & 3)

  2. navigate with the arrow keys to the application that you want to quit
  3. press ctrl + q

hope it helped

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