ALT+Tab window order Ubuntu 22.04

For some reason, full screen applications (games really) are being put last every time I alt tab out. If I alt+tab out of a game then try to alt tab back in the game will be put last in rotation behind Discord/Steam/Firefox/Chrome and I have to shift+alt+tab to get immediately back in where as with every other window like between Discord/Firefox I can just spam alt+tab and jump between those windows without having to shift+alt+tab. Was this intentional? Can I change this behavior?

Asked By: Blu


In Ubuntu 22.04, the ALT+Tab window order can sometimes be a bit tricky when it comes to full-screen applications, especially games. It seems like the games are consistently being placed at the end of the rotation whenever you alt+tab out of them. So, when you try to alt+tab back into the game, you find it behind other applications like Discord, Steam, Firefox, and Chrome. To get back into the game immediately, you have to use the combination Shift+ALT+Tab.

Now, to address your query about whether this behavior was intentional or if there’s a way to change it, I can provide some insights. The window order in the ALT+Tab switcher is usually determined by the window manager or the desktop environment you’re using. In this case, it might be related to the specific settings or configuration in Ubuntu 22.04.

One possible reason behind this behavior is that full-screen applications, such as games, are considered to have a higher "urgency" level than regular applications like Discord or web browsers. Hence, the window manager might prioritize them differently to ensure that you can focus on other applications more easily when needed.

However, if you find this behavior inconvenient and would like to change it, there might be some options available. You can explore the settings of your window manager or desktop environment to see if there’s an option to customize the ALT+Tab window order. Look for any settings related to window focus, task switching, or window prioritization. It’s possible that you can tweak these settings to modify the behavior and make the ALT+Tab order more consistent across all applications.

Remember to save any changes you make in the settings, and you might need to restart your session or log out and log back in for the modifications to take effect.

Answered By: skh

To change how the ALT+Tab switcher behaves, we’re gonna need to install a tool called dconf-editor. It’s a configuration system and settings manager for GNOME. Here’s how you go about it:

  1. Fire up a terminal by pressing CTRL+ALT+T or just searching for ‘Terminal’ in the menu.
  2. Let’s get that dconf-editor installed. You can do this by running this command: sudo apt install dconf-editor. Type in your password when it prompts and hit Enter.
  3. Once that’s done, start dconf-editor by typing dconf-editor in your terminal and pressing Enter.

Now we’re cooking with gas! Next, we need to navigate to the right setting. Just follow the breadcrumb trail: org > gnome > desktop > wm > keybindings.

In this keybindings section, you should be able to find two settings: switch-applications and switch-windows. By default, ALT+Tab is assigned to switch-applications, which switches between applications, not windows. What you wanna do is to change ALT+Tab to switch-windows, which would switch between all windows directly, not just applications.

You’re pretty much done now, cowboy! After you make the changes, just close dconf-editor and you should see the changes taking effect immediately. Go ahead and give it a whirl. Try ALT+Tabbing around and see if it now behaves the way you want it to.

Remember, this will change the behavior for all applications, not just the full-screen ones. So if you’re ever wanting the old way back, just reverse the changes.

Answered By: del

The behavior you’re describing is intentional. By default, the Alt+Tab switcher in Ubuntu 22.04 puts full-screen applications last in the rotation. This is because full-screen applications are generally considered to be more immersive, and putting them last in the rotation helps to prevent you from accidentally losing your place in a game or other fullscreen application.

However, if you don’t like this behavior, you can change it. In the Settings app, go to Devices > Keyboard > Customize shortcuts. Under the Navigation section, find the Switch windows shortcut and change it to Shift+Alt+Tab. This will cause the Alt+Tab switcher to put full-screen applications first in the rotation, so you can switch between them more easily.

Here are the steps in more detail:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Click on Devices.
  3. Click on Keyboard.
  4. Click on Customize shortcuts.
  5. Under the Navigation section, find the Switch windows shortcut and change it to Shift+Alt+Tab.
  6. Click on Save.

Once you’ve made this change, you’ll be able to switch between full-screen applications and other windows using Alt+Tab. Full-screen applications will now be placed first in the rotation, so you can switch to them more easily.

Answered By: kba
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