Gnome 4 questions (alt+tab)

is it ok to ask gnome 4 related questions here? Like how to swtich between windows instead of applications (alt+tab) if one application has multiple windows or a modal dialog open.

Hey John, to switch between windows of the same application you can use alt+’ .

If you want to check out your shortcuts you go to Settings > Keyboard and at the bottom you’ll see Keyboard Shortcuts, there you can view and edit the configured shortcuts, they are even neatly organized by category, this one specifically you’ll be able to see on the windows category.

Reference: Set keyboard shortcuts


If you have two terminals open for example, alt+tab shows just the terminal icon that’s right. If you want to switch between the terminals you have keep alt+tab pressed on the terminal icon and navigate with the arrow keys (down then left or right) to the open terminal you like.

It works also with Firefox etc. when you have more windows open.


You can never - by definition - switch between a modal dialog and its parent window. In most desktop environments, you can move the modal dialog to look at the contents of the main window underneath. In Gnome Shell, however, the main window is darkened, and both windows are locked. You can change that, however, in Gnome Tweaks - Windows tab.

The way it works in Gnome, bringing a single window of a different application (e.g. Files) in the front with Alt+Tab (e.g. for drag and drop from that particular window) is more cumbersome than with window based switchers. You need to + to the desired application, then, while you hold , select a single window using . In contrast, it works fluently using the Overview, but that is a mouse based workflow. The way it works currently with Alt+Tab has advantages in other use cases.

An alternative way to do that would be to use . Keeping pressed, you can switch windows until you see the one that has to come to the front. Then you can easily swap back and forth between single windows of different applications by hitting and releasing .