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Bug 625457 - Option for not to group windows by applications in Alt+Tab switching
Option for not to group windows by applications in Alt+Tab switching
Product: gnome-shell
Classification: Core
Component: general
Other Linux
: Normal normal
: ---
Assigned To: gnome-shell-maint
Depends on:
Reported: 2010-07-28 05:26 UTC by Ash
Modified: 2011-06-14 20:43 UTC
See Also:
GNOME target: ---
GNOME version: Unversioned Enhancement

modified altTab.js (42.08 KB, text/javascript)
2010-10-29 14:36 UTC, Thomas Bouffon

Description Ash 2010-07-28 05:26:10 UTC
I've been using the gnome-shell for quite some time. I really feel that the Alt + Tab behaviour of grouping the applications together is a pain at times.

Let me give you a basic usage case where I face this problem:

I have a terminal window, three GVIM windows, a web browser window and 4-5 other application windows open in the background.

Say I'm using one of the GVIM windows and my previous window was the terminal window, I need to hold Alt, then press Tab, then Shift + Tab, then ~ to navigate to one of my other GVIM windows. Arrow keys are an option but they still are the same. The same problem again occurs after going to the web browser window and back to one of the GVIM windows.

In the usual Alt+Tab behaviour navigating between any of the windows was quite easy - hold the Alt key and press the Tab key required number of times and I'm there.

I'm a developer who usually works using 10 - 15 GVIM windows at a time on an average case and I really feel this way of switching windows is a pain.

Of course I can use the Activities mode - but I then need to start using the mouse/touchpad for this.

Why should some behaviour like Alt+Tab which has been perfectly fine all these years be changed ?

There should be an option to make gnome-shell provide the regular Alt+Tab behaviour without grouping together applications.

As a last resort, at least something like an extension for this kind of option should be available.
Comment 1 blix 2010-08-20 03:04:57 UTC
I would like to 2nd this.  I owned a mac once and I absolutely hated this behavior.  I feel this behavior is going to confuse gnome2 users, kde users and windows converts.  

I also think that this goes against the current gnome3 design.  As I understand it, gnome3 is supposed to less application oriented and more task/document oriented.  If this is the case, having to keep track of the application a particular task was opened in so that I can know whether I have to alt-tab to it or alt-` to it makes little sense.  Navigation to and from any one task to another should work the same.
Comment 2 Thomas Bouffon 2010-10-29 14:36:48 UTC
Created attachment 173486 [details]
modified altTab.js 

An easy option for this is to use the same behavior for alt+Tab as for alt+MouseWheelDown. It still groups windows by app, but you can go trhu all of them with alt+Tab only

Enclose is a version of altTab.js which works in 2.31.5 (Fedora 14)
Comment 3 Rui Matos 2011-01-14 22:24:14 UTC
Instead of an option, would something like bug 639341 solve this issue too?
Comment 4 Adam Russell 2011-06-14 16:25:53 UTC
No, Rui, it doesn't completely solve the problem. While it's nice that Alt+` switches windows within an application by itself without having to press Alt+Tab first, I still don't want to have to remember whether I have to press Alt+` or Alt+Tab to get to the last window.

I don't want to have to keep mental note of whether the last window I focused was within the same application or not. This totally kills my workflow, and I'm constantly pressing the wrong shortcut.
Comment 5 Rui Matos 2011-06-14 17:49:20 UTC
There is now an extension to do this so I'm closing this bug since the shell is working as designed on this regard.

Please see for more information.
Comment 6 Adam Russell 2011-06-14 20:43:33 UTC
There are multiple problems with that extension, as well---the biggest one being that it doesn't group by workspace. I really don't agree that this bug should be closed...