Ubuntu – configure gnome to show open windows on the dock individually


I just installed Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, and am trying to customize the desktop. I placed the app dock on the bottom, and now I'm trying to figure out a way to switch between open windows.

  1. Windows on dock individually/ungroup: I know that if I click on an open application's icon, I'll get a nice little pop-up/tooltip showing me all the individual instances/windows of that app. Unfortunately, that's two whole steps which feel very uncomfortable for me. I'd prefer to have each instance shown separately along with a window title (so I can tell them apart). That way, I can just click directly on the window I want.

  2. Windows on switcher individually/ungroup: Also, I noticed the ALT + Tab seems to switch between application "types" rather than individual windows. So I can't simply use that shortcut to switch between two open terminals, for example. I have to use the mouse every time. Is there a way to change that behavior so that it just switches between individual windows based on their order they were last in focus?

Best Answer

That is how the Ubuntu Dock works by design. That is also how Alt+tab works by design. Yet, you can configure your system more to your liking.

Install some officially supported gnome-shell extensions with the terminal command

sudo apt install gnome-shell-extensions

Install Tweaks to allow enabling/disabling extensions with the command

sudo apt install gnome-tweaks

Customizing the taskbar

Option 1

Open "Tweaks". On the Extensions tab, enable "Windows list". This gives you a taskbar with one button (icon and text) for each individual window. Optionally, "disable Ubuntu dock" to disable the dock.

Option 2

This is kind of an option on steroids. Install the not officially supported, though excellent extension Dash to Panel:

sudo apt install gnome-shell-extension-dash-to-panel

In Gnome Tweaks, turn Ubuntu Dock off, then turn Dash to panel on. The extension will merge the dock with the topbar into one bottom bar.

At first, the extension will work the 'modern' way, i.e., showing one icon for each application. The extension is extensively configurable, though. In Gnome Tweaks, click the gear icon next to the extension to access its options. On the "behavior" tab, turn "Ungroup applications" on, and tweak using the gear icon.

Windows on switcher individually/ungroup: Alt+tab

Option 1 Leave as is, but know you can switch individual windows of an application with Alt+Key Above tab

Option 2 Switch to the Window switcher instead. In "Settings", "Keyboard Shortcuts" tab, set the shortcut key for "Switch windows" to Alt+Tab. The officially supported "Alternatetab" extension that also does this will not anymore be available in newer versions of Ubuntu.