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How to Ungroup Windows in “Alt-Tab” in Ubuntu

by Pratik

So, if you have recently switched from Windows 10 to Ubuntu, you would notice that the Alt+Tab groups windows of similar applications. For instance, if you have 3 windows of the same web browser application running, Alt+Tab won’t let you switch between those windows. Turns out, you have to use Alt+` to switch between windows of the same applications.

But, damn my muscle memory of using Alt+Tab for years on Windows, I cannot resist it. So, I found a way to separate windows of the same application in the tab switcher. So, here’s how you do that.

before-after-switching-windows-shortcut

How to Ungroup Windows in “Alt-Tab” in Ubuntu

The set up is pretty simple and you just have to remap a particular keyboard shortcut. Similar to other configurations in Ubuntu, there are 2 ways to do it. One is the GUI way which is the easiest and the other is the command-line way.

1. GUI

We need to edit keyboard shortcuts in the Settings Menu. Hence, head over to the Settings menu and navigate to the Keyboard shortcuts tab.

keyboard-shortcuts-in-settings-menu

Alternatively, you can just search “Keyboard Shortcuts” on the GNOME launcher.

keyboard-shortcuts-in-launcher - ubuntu alt-tab ungroup

Within the keyboard shortcuts and under the Navigation tab, you would find a shortcut called “Switch Windows”.

switch-windows-shortcut

Click on the shortcut and it will ask you to provide the hotkey. In our case, we will keep the hotkey as “Alt+Tab”. Click on the Set key to save this hotkey.

set-hotkey

Once you have done this, now Alt+Tab would work as switching between Windows rather than Applications. Now, you would also see the window name instead of the application name in Tab switcher.

alt-tab-switcher - ubuntu alt-tab ungroup

2. Command Line

If you had to do through command-line, it’s a single-line command. Open the terminal and run the following command.

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

This command will enable the window switch shortcut and map it to the “Alt+Tab” hotkey. This will automatically disable the application switch hotkey. To revert back the changes, just run the following command.

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

It will revert back to the previous configuration. In case changes don’t take effect, restart your system.

Also Read: How to Uninstall An Application In Ubuntu

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