Ctrl-Tab should jump to the next tab

Bug #504405 reported by David Siegel
This bug affects 25 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
One Hundred Papercuts
empathy (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Refer to upstream bug (https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=599650) for bug description, discussion, and recommendations.

Tags: patch
Changed in hundredpapercuts:
milestone: none → lucid-round-4
Revision history for this message
Guillaume Desmottes (cassidy) wrote :

As said in the upstream bug, Ctrl-Tab is already used in all the GNOME applications to move keyboard focus. So we should use another set of keys for this.

Revision history for this message
PabloPueblo (jlmolero) wrote :

This is a basic feature, just like close the tab with the scroll button of the mouse

Revision history for this message
David Siegel (djsiegel-deactivatedaccount) wrote :

If we cannot use Ctrl+Tab, then this feature is rather hard to discover and the change in behavior cannot be considered a paper cut.

Changed in hundredpapercuts:
status: New → Invalid
Changed in hundredpapercuts:
milestone: lucid-round-4 → none
Revision history for this message
Jud Craft (craftjml+ubuntulp) wrote :

That justification doesn't make much sense. "Ctrl-tab doesn't work, so there's not a problem."

Allow me to rephrase. "Upstream GNOME uses a shortcut that no casual user will never deduce without reading the manual, and we're in no position to change their decision."

This is meant in only a little offense to GNOME, but the design decision was a poor one. They should find some way to reconcile their keyboard-focus mechanism with the fact that ctrl-tab is commonly used to switch documents.

How can I make such a blanket assumption? I'm willing to bet that Firefox and Pidgin combined are much more popular than GNOME, and every tab-document UI I can think of under Windows (Visual Studio, Notepad++, and now I'm drawing a blank) use Ctrl-Tab.

Any user of any operating system -except GNOME- would expect ctrl-tab to switch tab-based windows. If Ubuntu can't fix this, that's unfortunate - because the interface does suffer - but it's more understandable if you give the actual reason.

To really resolve this bug, you'd need a concerted cooperation with upstream GNOME and their human interface guidelines to actually come to a decision that benefits people who aren't GNOME designers, but general users. And that's not a paper-cut, that's a gash.

Revision history for this message
Jud Craft (craftjml+ubuntulp) wrote :

As an aside, yes, GNOME made their keyboard policy first. But ctrl-tab as a document-switching method has taken on much more ubiquity than GNOME's human interface guidelines, and the conflict is unavoidable.

Especially since Ubuntu has at least two programs, then - and popular they are - where tab-switching is inconsistent with the rest of the Ubuntu desktop. Leaving the inconsistency in place is just another reminder of the incompleteness of the UI experience, but subtle enough that people might overlook it. That is, a paper-cut, per Ubuntu's definition.

Ubuntu should expect the best of itself - and GNOME, to make a polished interface that people can enjoy.

Revision history for this message
grofaty (grofaty) wrote :

This was already discussed many times.

To move to the next tab:
- in Windows: <ctrl>+<tab>
- in Gnome: <ctrl>+<Page Down>

To move to the previous tab:
- in Windows: <ctrl>+<shift>+<tab>
- in Gnome: <ctrl>+<Page Up>

This is Gnome position and they will probably not change there minds.

E.g. Interesting that Firefox uses both shortcuts (on Ubuntu and also on Windows - tested both) to do the same job.

Revision history for this message
David Siegel (djsiegel-deactivatedaccount) wrote :

Jud, you make excellent points, but we agree that this is not a paper cut. By all means, we should work with GNOME to change their Ctrl+Tab convention. Would you like to take up the cause? You've already proven that you can argue the case well -- mind firing off an email or two to the appropriate mailing lists?

Revision history for this message
Jud Craft (craftjml+ubuntulp) wrote :

David, you are very kind and ego-boosting. However, as a non-developer with no physical stake or contribution in the GNOME community, it is not my place to bring up a discussion on changing HIG.

In addition, a discussion on this very issue has already hit gnome-desktop-devel-list (google for "On ctrl+tab"), and although I did try to contribute to it, I may have in fact helped derail it into a side-issue. Debates on the policy for a major open source framework are not the place for casual fly-by hobbyists. They really aren't. They need to be made by the actual developers and designers.

I remain convinced that as Ubuntu continues to improve, GNOME will improve as well, and I look forward to using both in the future. If you pursue any of this yourself, you are more than welcome to use any of my points as your own, since they aren't mine - I consider them to be common sense and evident.

I secretly fear that it will take a great effort that casual discussion will not bring - the offending problem is within GTK, and GTK to my eyes is a developer's world, not even a designer's world.

Revision history for this message
Jud Craft (craftjml+ubuntulp) wrote :

I added the topic again on desktop-devel-list. There is a call for patches. Maybe something will happen sometime.

Omer Akram (om26er)
Changed in empathy (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
Revision history for this message
Lightbreeze (nedhoy-gmail) wrote :

Jud, if this problem really is in gtk would you please change this bug to affecting gtk?

Changed in empathy:
status: Unknown → Confirmed
Revision history for this message
Jirka Daněk (juraad) wrote :

This bug is a WontFix in GNOME Bugzilla


so I am proposing an Ubuntu only fix. In my oppinion, that would be in full accordance with Ubuntu phylosophy.

"Should be able to use all software regardless of disability."
I strongly feel that a strong urge to cycle tabs with Ctrl+Tab is in GNOME enviroment indeed a disability. That disability was imposed on users by some very popular apps -- namely FireFox -- that have spoiled their good taste in the field of keyboard shortcuts.

Because GNOME in Ubuntu indees comes bundeled with Firefox and it is promoted to Ubuntu users, Ubuntu should therefore bear the consequences for the impedement brought upon FF users and relieve them in other applications, i.e. Empathy, for a start by implementing the same Ctrl+Tab behavior.

This is a bug on which Ißve proposed the patch on the first time:

Revision history for this message
Stefan Steinegger (stefan-steinegger) wrote :

Just some additional comments:

 - MS Excel does not support Ctrl+Tab to change tabs, but to change between documents. Because they are in separate windows, it does the same as Alt+Tab under Windows. To change between tabs, you need to press Ctrl+PgUp / Ctrl+ PgDown (it took me a long time to find it out :-).

- Ctrl+Tab is usually different to Ctrl+PgUp/Down. While the latter navigates in the order the documents had been opened, Ctrl+Tab considers the order in which they have been shown. Not complicated, but hard to explain, so here is an example:

user opens Document A, B, C, D
navigates to D, then B
 - Ctrl+PgDown will lead him from B to C, because it is the next document in the list
 - Ctrl+Tab will lead him back to D, because it was shown at last.

This is an important difference for the user experience. I always use Ctrl+Tab to "navigate back" where I have been before. Sometimes I remember until the last 3 documents (Ctrl+Tab/Tab/Tab). When the application is showing the list of documents while holding Ctrl down, it is even easier to move back in the history. IMHO, this feature is essential for some applications in which you usually have many open documents, eg a text editor or any IDE. It's negligible in applications where you have only a few tabs or static tabs (eg. tab based dialog).

Application supporting navigation in history on Ctrl+Tab (sorry, windows only, I'm currently on a Windows box, I will probably make a list on my Ubuntu Box when I find the time):
 - Visual Studio
 - Notepad++

Application which navigate in order in which documents were opened
 - Firefox (disappointingly)
 - Total Commander
 - MonoDevelop (2.4 on Windows)

Changed in empathy (Ubuntu):
status: New → Triaged
tags: added: patch
Changed in empathy:
importance: Unknown → Wishlist
Revision history for this message
Martin Gontovnikas (gonto89) wrote :

So this won't get fixed? I think that a lot of people won't switch to empathy (that's my case) if the Ctrl + Tab shortcut is not added. Even though it's not GNome policy, there are many applications that use it anyway.

Revision history for this message
Marcus Haslam (marcus-haslam) wrote : Re: [Bug 504405] Re: Ctrl-Tab should jump to the next tab

I'm out of the office until 1st August.

On 18 May 2011, at 07:27, Martin Gontovnikas
<email address hidden> wrote:

> So this won't get fixed? I think that a lot of people won't switch to
> empathy (that's my case) if the Ctrl + Tab shortcut is not added. Even
> though it's not GNome policy, there are many applications that use it
> anyway.
> --
> You received this bug notification because you are a member of
> Papercutters, which is subscribed to One Hundred Paper Cuts.
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/504405
> Title:
>  Ctrl-Tab should jump to the next tab
> Status in Chat app, and Telepathy user interface:
>  Confirmed
> Status in One Hundred Paper Cuts:
>  Invalid
> Status in “empathy” package in Ubuntu:
>  Triaged
> Bug description:
>  Refer to upstream bug
>  (https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=599650) for bug
>  description, discussion, and recommendations.

Revision history for this message
Anto (abourguignon) wrote :

Any way to compensate this missing feature ? A plugin or anything ?
No ctrl+tab AND no scroll button action in tabs is REALLY annoying...

Revision history for this message
Mozaic (mozaic) wrote :

Same in Empathy 3.4.2

Changed in empathy:
status: Confirmed → Incomplete
Revision history for this message
Ahmed Salim (skaar) wrote :

if canonical is planning to make Ubuntu compete with Windows and Mac then they must think of using conventional UI for all the apps. Ctrl + Tab is used to switch tabs. if this very basic shortcut cannot be implemented, then forget about making Ubuntu one of the best OSes.
If i'm not wrong empathy is developed using Python?? I don't do python, but i'm willing to learn if that's what it takes to fix this.

Changed in empathy:
status: Incomplete → Expired
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