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Thread: Configure the Ubuntu alt-tab application switcher

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    1

    Lightbulb Configure the Ubuntu alt-tab application switcher

    I always struggle with this when installing a new version of Ubuntu, so I thought I'd post it here so I can find it myself easier next time

    I am currently on Ubuntu (Unity) 14.04 Trusty Tahr, but I was doing the same in 13.10 and 13.04.

    I simply don't like the default Unity alt-tab application switcher. It may work for a lot of people, but it just slows me down. For me it's faster to have a single application switcher that cycles through all open windows, possibly withing one desktop, but I'm not sure about that.
    I am really not compatible with the default unity switcher that groups windows, for example terminals, together so when hitting alt-tab you can't (in an effective way) switch between terminals. Having a different key combo for that slows my brain down.

    I realize other peoples preferences varies, that's why this post is so great, it shows you how to tweak it the way you want it (other switchers have a lot more options than the unity default one).

    So anyhow on to how to change the alt-tab application switcher in ubuntu unity.

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

    Open compizconfig-settings-manager with alt-F2, type ccsm.

    Scroll down to "Ubuntu Unity Plugin". Choose the tab "Switcher". Disable the alt-tab and shift-alt-tab key bindings. ("Key to start the switcher" and "Key to switch to the previous window in the Switcher".
    Click the "Back" button.

    Scroll down to the "Window management" section. Here you can select another switcher.
    I enable the "Static Application Switcher", resolve any potential conflicts by setting the setting for "Static Application Switcher".
    Now you can tweak the switcher by clicking on it. I have changed alt-tab and shift-alt-tab to "Next window (All windows)" and "Prev window (All windows)".

    Experiment to find the settings that work best for you. It you want to go back to the poriginal settings, simply disable the Static Application Switcher and enable the key bindings in "Ubuntu Unity Plugin" again.

    Hope someone find this helpful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Lungsod Pasig, Pilipinas
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    1,128
    Distro
    Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Configure the Ubuntu alt-tab application switcher

    Thank you!
    I am a Man of Truth. I am a Free Human Person. I am a Peacemaker.
    ** Independent Multimedia Artist in Pasig **

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Vancouver, Canada
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    22
    Distro
    Xubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Question Re: Configure the Ubuntu alt-tab application switcher

    Quote Originally Posted by Tomas_Gustavsson View Post
    Scroll down to the "Window management" section. Here you can select another switcher.
    Weird. I don't see an option to choose a new switcher. I only see six options:


    • Grid
    • Move Window
    • Place Windows
    • Resize Window
    • Scale
    • Snapping Windows


    Am I missing something? I'd really like to get rid of the infuriating grouping of windows.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Vancouver, Canada
    Beans
    22
    Distro
    Xubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Configure the Ubuntu alt-tab application switcher

    Damn, I just realised that this thread is marked as solved, so I suppose I should start a new thread.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    4

    Re: Configure the Ubuntu alt-tab application switcher

    Thank you ! This worked great - I was tearing my hair out !

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    2

    Re: Configure the Ubuntu alt-tab application switcher

    Thanks! This helped immensley. The upgrade removed the compiz-plugins package, which includes the application switcher, so all of my ubuntu machines lost the ability to alt-tab after upgrading.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Beans
    3

    Re: Configure the Ubuntu alt-tab application switcher

    I ran into this same issue.... and I needed to install via synaptic the "compiz-plugins" package as well.


    Quote Originally Posted by craig10 View Post
    Weird. I don't see an option to choose a new switcher. I only see six options:


    • Grid
    • Move Window
    • Place Windows
    • Resize Window
    • Scale
    • Snapping Windows


    Am I missing something? I'd really like to get rid of the infuriating grouping of windows.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Beans
    1

    Re: Configure the Ubuntu alt-tab application switcher

    Yes! Very helpful! Thank you!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    2

    Re: Configure the Ubuntu alt-tab application switcher

    Very helpful, I couldn't find an easy way to switch form one terminal to another since gnome!

    Thank you!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Boulder CO
    Beans
    44

    Re: Configure the Ubuntu alt-tab application switcher

    Thanks - this is more clear and up-to-date than the askubuntu answer at http://askubuntu.com/a/68171/6130
    Besides what you did, I also find it very helpful to go to the "Appearance" tab on the Static Application Switcher window in ccsm, click on "Selected Window Highlight" to show the sub-items there, click on the options by "Highlight Mode", and add "Bring Selected to Front".
    Then as you switch you can see each whole window, in its actual location on the display, and thus be sure to select the right one.

    Unfortunately, the Static Application Switcher suffers from Bug #1282900 “compiz static window switcher no longer displaying...” : Bugs : compiz package : Ubuntu
    https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+s...z/+bug/1282900

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