7

How do I switch to already running program using terminal?

For examaple:

firefox opens new firefox window.

Is there a command that will focus the already opened firefox window?

  • 1
    Based on the accepted answer, I think you wanted to focus an existing window, not open a new window. I've submitted an edit to clarify, but it's pending review. – jpaugh Jul 5 '16 at 17:28
11

As a one- liner

Assuming you have wmctrl installed (run sudo apt-get install wmctrl if not):

The command:

wmctrl -ia "$(wmctrl -lp | grep "$(pgrep gedit)" | tail -1 | awk '{ print $1 }')"

Would raise the last opened gedit window. Replace it by any other application.

Explanation

pgrep gedit

gets the pid of gedit

wmctrl -lp

lists all windows and the pid they belong to

awk '{ print $1 }'

splits off the window- id (the first string in the line)

$(wmctrl -lp | grep "$(pgrep gedit)" | tail -1 | awk '{ print $1 }')

therefore finds the window-id of the last created window of gedit (the output of wmctrl -lp lists the windows in a chronological order of creation, if the application has multiple windows, tail -1 returns the last one).

wmctrl -ia

subsequently raises the window by its window-id

In a small script

...to be run with the application as argument:

#!/bin/bash

wmctrl -ia "$(wmctrl -lp | grep "$(pgrep "$1")" | tail -1 | awk '{ print $1 }')"
  • Save it into an empty file as switchto.sh
  • Make it executable
  • Run it as (e.g.)

    /path/to/switchto.sh firefox
    

Alternatives?

Theoretically the command:

xdotool search --class gedit windowactivate

should do (kind of) the same; it should raise the first found window of gedit in this case.
It seems less robust however. On my system (Unity) it did nothing at all.

1

If you have runned firefox using firefox & you can use jobs to see its number. To bring it to foreground write %n firefox which n stands for its number. Example:

sabrina@ubuntu:~$ jobs
[1]+ Stopped      firefox
sabrina@ubuntu:~$ fg %1

Also you can "kill" the program:

sabrina@ubuntu:~$ kill %1

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