Show window list when right clicking an icon in launcher - enables quick window switching

Bug #1107866 reported by Lukas Vacek on 2013-01-28
This bug affects 22 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Ayatana Design
John Lea
Fix Released
Lukas Vacek
unity (Ubuntu)

Bug Description


I have come to like Unity but sometimes I need to switch between windows of an application, or to switch to a particular window of an application. Currently to do that I need to go either through the spread (expose-like effect which shows all open windows for an application) or through alt-tab which works fine, but it would be great to be able to switch between windows more rapidly.

To demonstrate, I wrote a patch which adds a list of currently open windows for an application to the menu which appears when an application icon in the menu is right-clicked.

Patch attached - the patch is against Unity in 12.04 LTS.

I have also made a video to show this in action:

Accepted implementation:

- The max width should be 300px
- The window title should be ellipsized at the end
- This entry should only be displayed if there are 2 or more windows. If the application only has 1 or 0 windows open nothing should be displayed.

The format of the option should be:

[application specific quicklist options area]
[application name]
[window title 1]
[window title 2]
[window title 3]
Most recent files (see lp:893652)
file one.odt
file two.odt
file three.odt
file four.odt
file five.odt
Keep in launcher

Related branches

Lukas Vacek (lukas-vacek) wrote :
Changed in unity:
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
MC Return (mc-return) on 2013-01-28
Changed in unity:
status: New → Confirmed
MC Return (mc-return) wrote :

Wow, that looks like a big improvement :)
Top job, lukas-vacek.

Do you know how to create a branch merge proposal and could you implement this in lp:unity as well ?
Normally things are implement in current trunk/master and then backported, not the other way around ;)

If you need help with creating a bzr branch and creating a merge proposal, see here:

Łukasz Zemczak (sil2100) wrote :

Yes, we already asked Lukas to create a branch at least for 5.0 - and also, if possible, to trunk. Since I would be certainly interested in having this functionality, so the same applies probably for other people as well.

Adolfo Jayme (fitojb) on 2013-01-28
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
tags: added: patch
Lukas Vacek (lukas-vacek) wrote :


Thanks for your comments.

I have created a new branch lp:~lukas-vacek/unity/bamficon_windowlist with the patch applied against unity-5.0

I will forwardport the patch against trunk in the coming days.

Omer Akram (om26er) wrote :

Lukas, If this feature maybe approved by design team, It will only go into lp:unity because the rule it not to backport new features. Also I see little chances of that happening :/

Nekhelesh Ramananthan (nik90) wrote :

This is a great idea! I have some concerns though, at the moment in the Unity Backlog I see the bug #893652 which is regarding the showing of files which have been recently opened by a program. If this feature and the other one are combined, the quicklist might grow out of control. Thoughts?

The attachment "bamficon_windowlist.patch" of this bug report has been identified as being a patch. The ubuntu-reviewers team has been subscribed to the bug report so that they can review the patch. In the event that this is in fact not a patch you can resolve this situation by removing the tag 'patch' from the bug report and editing the attachment so that it is not flagged as a patch. Additionally, if you are member of the ubuntu-reviewers team please also unsubscribe the team from this bug report.

[This is an automated message performed by a Launchpad user owned by Brian Murray. Please contact him regarding any issues with the action taken in this bug report.]

John Lea (johnlea) on 2013-01-28
Changed in ayatana-design:
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
assignee: nobody → John Lea (johnlea)
status: New → Fix Committed
Changed in unity:
status: Confirmed → Triaged
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Triaged
tags: added: udp
manny (estelar57) wrote :

nice! I saw this feature like a year ago by another developer:

There also seems to be a patch for truncating the titles (in the comments).

will definitely improve the workflow.

Lukas Vacek (lukas-vacek) wrote :

manny: nice to see the feature is in demand

I have finally forward ported the patch against raring! Here it is: lp:~lukas-vacek/unity/bamficon_windowlist-raring

I have another idea.
If somebody already is using the mouse for navigating between windows then maybe this would also be a nice option:

- Having multiple windows open of an application
- by _scrolling_ with the over the application icon, the it scrolls though the open windows showing the preview of the alt-tab

in my opinion that would be even faster.

Roman Yepishev (rye) wrote :

Adrian, we have a bug for that in bug 1081843

description: updated
Changed in unity:
assignee: nobody → Lukas Vacek (lukas-vacek)
milestone: none → 7.0.0
status: Triaged → In Progress
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Triaged → In Progress

> - by _scrolling_ with the over the application icon, the it scrolls though the open windows showing the preview of the alt-tab

That's in progress as well. See bug #1081843

Changed in unity:
status: In Progress → Fix Committed
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: In Progress → Fix Committed
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

This bug was fixed in the package unity - 6.12.0daily13.02.19.1-0ubuntu1

unity (6.12.0daily13.02.19.1-0ubuntu1) raring; urgency=low

  [ Brandon Schaefer ]
  * Multi-monitor: Mousepointer hangs when passing between monitors,
    although no Launcher is there (regression) (LP: #1120223)
  * Sticky edges should only use horizontal mouse movement (LP: #982543)

  [ Marco Trevisan (Treviño) ]
  * Launcher - Workspace switcher should not be in the Launcher by
    default (LP: #868423)
  * [regression] Unlocking a running application, removes it from the
    Launcher (LP: #1122311)
  * Launcher, Workspaces - dragging and dropping the workspaces icon on
    to the trash should switch Workspaces off (LP: #1118271)

  [ Chris Townsend ]
  * webapp: alt-tab gets "stucked" on the browser rather than going to
    the next entry (LP: #1070715)

  [ Nick Dedekind ]
  * Dash - the "Decade" and "Size" dash filter category widgets are
    broken (LP: #841899)
  * Dash Places group is shining on quick mouse over (LP: #1119487)

  [ Lukas Vacek ]
  * Show window list when right clicking an icon in launcher - enables
    quick window switching (LP: #1107866)

  [ Marco Trevisan (Treviño) <>, Lukas Vacek ]
  * Show window list when right clicking an icon in launcher - enables
    quick window switching (LP: #1107866)

  [ Andrea Azzarone ]
  * unity launcher vanishes when switching to mirrored displays (LP:
  * Opening an app with super+num shorcut doesn't give focus to the app
    (LP: #1125331)
  * Alt+` and detail switcher broken after revision 3153 (LP: #1129372)

  [ Sam Spilsbury ]
  * Unity unnecessarily clears the ShapeBounding shape of windows on
    minimize (LP: #1091600)
  * Can't access minimized window after Unity restarts (LP: #851964)

  [ Automatic PS uploader ]
  * Automatic snapshot from revision 3163
 -- Automatic PS uploader <email address hidden> Tue, 19 Feb 2013 14:26:14 +0000

Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Fix Committed → Fix Released
Tigran Gabrielyan (tigrangab) wrote :

Regarding Nekhelesh Ramananthan (nik90)'s comment:

The list does grow large, and extends vertically off the screen, which is an issue.

Here are two possible fixes:

Option 1: Figure out the maximum number of entries the quicklist can support for the given resolution, and if we have more windows open than we can fit, put the remaining windows into a menu item called "# more windows" (replace # with the actual number of remaining windows) as the last entry.

When we click on the last entry, we get Spread of *only* those remaining windows.

Option 2: Scroll only the window list, if possible.
| Favorite Location 1 |
| Favorite Location 2 |
| ---------------------------------- |
| ^ | Active/Inactive up arrow to scroll window list up
| Window 1 |
| Window 2 |
| .... |
| Window N - 1 |
| v | Active/Inactive up arrow to scroll window list down
| ---------------------------------- |
| remaining items |

Adolfo Jayme (fitojb) wrote :

Hi Tigran, can you please open a new follow-up bug report against unity, so we can track that separately? Thanks.

Stephen M. Webb (bregma) wrote :

Fix Released in Unity Unity 7.0.0 "R series".

Changed in unity:
status: Fix Committed → Fix Released
marting (martin98239823) wrote :

This is already a good improvement for unity!

But only a small tweak of this feature would give it another HUGE step forward: A closing button for each entry in the list! It would give the user a possibility to very quickly close several instances of a program (eg. pop-ups of firefox).

cm-t arudy (cm-t) wrote :


thanks you for this work and for helping to make Ubuntu experience better.

As ~marting said, I would like to notice that the bug is opened at lp:1124073 (having a closing button).

Note: The GIF there is out of date since the space for the dot "of the current focused windows" is missing between the close button and the windows name.


John Lea (johnlea) on 2013-06-20
Changed in ayatana-design:
status: Fix Committed → Fix Released
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