Learn how to configure your Ubuntu system to switch between browser tabs and native windows with Alt+Tab, a handy shortcut for multitasking.
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If you are a Ubuntu user who likes to multitask with multiple applications and browser tabs, you might have noticed that the default behavior of Alt+Tab is to switch only between native windows, not browser tabs. This can be frustrating if you want to quickly switch between different web pages or documents without using your mouse. Fortunately, there is a way to change this behavior and make Alt+Tab switch between browser tabs and native windows in Ubuntu. In this article, we will show you how to do that, and explain why it works.
What is Alt+Tab and Why Does It Matter?
Alt+Tab is a keyboard shortcut that allows you to switch between different applications or windows on your computer. It is useful for multitasking, as you can quickly switch between different tasks without losing your focus or context. For example, you can use Alt+Tab to switch between a word processor and a web browser, or between a spreadsheet and a presentation.
However, not all applications are the same. Some applications, such as web browsers, have tabs within them, which are separate pages or documents that you can open in the same window. For example, you can have multiple tabs open in Google Chrome, each showing a different website or web app. Tabs are convenient, as they allow you to organize your web browsing and save space on your screen.
The problem is that Alt+Tab does not recognize tabs as separate windows, and only switches between the main windows of the applications. This means that if you have multiple tabs open in your web browser, Alt+Tab will not let you switch between them, and you will have to use your mouse or another keyboard shortcut (such as Ctrl+Tab) to do that. This can be annoying and inefficient, especially if you have many tabs open and you want to switch between them frequently.
How to Switch Between Browser Tabs and Native Windows with Alt+Tab in Ubuntu
The solution to this problem is to change the settings of your Ubuntu system to make Alt+Tab switch between browser tabs and native windows. This is possible because Ubuntu uses a desktop environment called Unity, which is responsible for managing the appearance and behavior of your desktop, including the Alt+Tab functionality. Unity has a setting that allows you to choose what Alt+Tab shows, and you can change it to include browser tabs as well.
To do that, follow these steps:
- Open the Settings app from the Dash or the Launcher.
- Click on System and then on Multitasking.
- Scroll down to the section that says Pressing Alt+Tab shows.
- Click on the drop-down menu and select All Windows and Tabs. This will make Alt+Tab show all the windows and tabs of your applications, regardless of whether they are native or web-based.
- Close the Settings app and try using Alt+Tab. You should see that it now switches between browser tabs and native windows, as well as between different applications.
Why Does This Work?
The reason why this works is that Unity uses a feature called AppMenu, which is a global menu bar that shows the menu of the active application at the top of the screen. AppMenu integrates with web browsers, such as Google Chrome and Firefox, and shows the tabs of the browser as menu items. This allows Unity to recognize the tabs as separate windows, and include them in the Alt+Tab switcher.
However, not all web browsers support AppMenu, and some may require additional extensions or plugins to work with it. For example, Chromium, the open-source version of Google Chrome, does not support AppMenu by default, and you will need to install the Chromium AppMenu Integration extension to enable it. Similarly, Opera does not support AppMenu, and you will need to install the Opera AppMenu Integration extension to enable it. Other web browsers, such as Brave, Vivaldi, or Edge, may not support AppMenu at all, and you will not be able to switch between their tabs with Alt+Tab.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Question: How can I switch back to the default behavior of Alt+Tab?
Answer: If you want to switch back to the default behavior of Alt+Tab, which only shows the native windows of your applications, you can follow the same steps as above, but select Open Windows Only in the drop-down menu instead of All Windows and Tabs.
Question: How can I switch between browser tabs without using Alt+Tab?
Answer: If you prefer to use a different keyboard shortcut to switch between browser tabs, you can use Ctrl+Tab, which works in most web browsers. Alternatively, you can use the mouse wheel to scroll through the tabs, or click on the tab you want to switch to.
Question: How can I switch between browser tabs and native windows in other desktop environments or operating systems?
Answer: The solution described in this article is specific to Ubuntu and Unity, and may not work in other desktop environments or operating systems. However, some desktop environments or operating systems may have similar settings or features that allow you to switch between browser tabs and native windows with Alt+Tab. For example, Windows 10 has a setting that lets you choose what Alt+Tab shows, and you can select All Windows and Tabs to include browser tabs. You can find this setting in Settings > System > Multitasking > Alt+Tab.
In this article, we have shown you how to switch between browser tabs and native windows with Alt+Tab in Ubuntu, a handy shortcut for multitasking. We have explained how this works, and how to change the settings of your Ubuntu system to enable this feature. We have also answered some frequently asked questions about this topic. We hope you have found this article useful and informative, and that you have learned something new today.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute professional advice. The author and the publisher are not responsible for any damages or losses that may result from the use of the information or methods described in this article. The user is solely responsible for their own actions and decisions, and should always exercise caution and common sense when using their computer. The user should also consult the official documentation and support channels of their desktop environment, operating system, and web browser for more information and guidance.