Add SUPER+TAB switching mode that enables the user to switch applications via the Launcher

Bug #891620 reported by John Lea on 2011-11-17
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Ayatana Design
John Lea
Fix Released
Marco Trevisan (Treviño)
unity (Ubuntu)
Marco Trevisan (Treviño)

Bug Description

Add SUPER+TAB switching mode that enables the user to switch applications via the Launcher.

Desired functionality:
- Pressing SUPER+TAB opens the Launcher (if it is closed), and highlights the top icon in the Launcher.
- Each time TAB is pressed while super is held down the highlight moves one icon downwards.
- Holding down SHIFT at the same time as also holding SUPER and pressing TAB moves the highlight one icon upwards (SHIFT means the direction is reversed)
- The visual style of the highlight is exactly the same as the Alt+F1 highlight.
- Releasing the SUPER key performs the equivalent action to left clicking on the highlighted Launcher icon (e.g. if the app is not running, releasing the SUPER launches that app.
- In a multi-monitor environment, this interaction happens on the monitor with the currently focused window.
- It should be possible to escape this interaction at any time by:
-- pressing the 'Esc' key
-- clicking *anywhere* on the desktop
- pressing Tab (or Shift+Tab) at the bottom (or top) of the Launcher should loop the focus around to the opposite end

Related branches

John Lea (johnlea) on 2011-11-17
Changed in ayatana-design:
assignee: nobody → John Lea (johnlea)
importance: Undecided → Medium
status: New → Triaged
tags: added: udp
Changed in unity:
status: New → Confirmed
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Changed in unity:
milestone: none → backlog
John Lea (johnlea) on 2011-11-17
description: updated
Paul Sladen (sladen) on 2011-11-17
description: updated
Omer Akram (om26er) on 2011-11-18
Changed in unity:
importance: Undecided → Medium
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Medium
Tim Penhey (thumper) on 2011-11-22
tags: added: keybinding
Changed in ayatana-design:
status: Triaged → Fix Committed
Changed in unity:
assignee: nobody → Marco Trevisan (Treviño) (3v1n0)
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → Marco Trevisan (Treviño) (3v1n0)
Changed in unity:
status: Confirmed → In Progress
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → In Progress
Changed in unity:
milestone: backlog → 5.0.0
Didier Roche (didrocks) on 2012-01-12
Changed in unity:
milestone: 5.0.0 → 5.2.0
Changed in unity:
status: In Progress → Fix Committed
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: In Progress → Fix Committed
Owais Lone (loneowais) wrote :

How does one escape from this? It looks like once you initiate super+tab switcher, there is no way to come out of it without launching something. There should be an easy way to come out of this mode without launching an item.

Owais Lone (loneowais) wrote :

Another major issue I noticed with this is that the it's not circular. Once you go down to the bottom, you need to shift+tab to go all the way up. I think making this circular would really really improve the experience.

Owais Lone (loneowais) wrote :

Also, if this is termed as a "switcher", then I think it should start from the current active app not from the top.

Owais Lone (loneowais) wrote :

Should create separate bugs for these issues?

Owais: the escaping strategy has not been considered, however releasing over the BFB or the currently focused application simply does a "quite safe escape". Maybe making the Esc key to work as on Alt+Tab could be a nice feature.

About the circular thing, I'm waiting for design input, while about starting from the current app or not is a design decision (you should be always able to know what will happen after a fixed number of key press).

John Lea (johnlea) on 2012-01-19
description: updated

+1 to the circular mode. As for the starting point, I think we will have
to do some user testing.

Both have awkwardnesses (which is why we never mapped Alt-TAB into the
launcher). If you always start from the top, then it would be better to
use Super-<n>, which goes straight to your <n>'th launcher. If you start
from the current focus, then you need a mind which remembers the
launcher sequence perfectly :-)


Also, maybe starting from the BFB is useless considering that doing Super+Tab once just does the same of only tapping Super.

Circular (bug #919018) mode and Escape key support (bug #919019) added in branch lp:~3v1n0/unity/super-tab-improvements. I also suggested to John Lea about using the focused icon as starting point, but I understand the fact that both solutions aren't perfect.

Maybe we should add an option to allow to switch the behavior to the users.

Owais Lone (loneowais) wrote :

An option for starting point would be nice

Mark Shuttleworth (sabdfl) wrote :

No, an option for starting point would be a marginal benefit, extra
code, extra tests. Let's user test, pick the better option, and use only
that please.

Didier Roche (didrocks) on 2012-02-03
Changed in unity:
status: Fix Committed → Fix Released
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :
Download full text (5.4 KiB)

This bug was fixed in the package unity - 5.2.0-0ubuntu1

unity (5.2.0-0ubuntu1) precise; urgency=low

  * New upstream release.
    - Unity needs a way to switch (tab) between windows on current workspace
      (LP: #863399)
    - compiz crashed with SIGSEGV in BamfLauncherIcon::NameForWindow()
      (LP: #865840)
    - Gradual degradation in desktop performance. (LP: #888039)
    - compiz (unity) crashes with SIGSEGV when a window is minimized.
      (LP: #918329)
    - FavoriteStore external change support (LP: #681503)
    - Launcher - Make Launcher left of screen reveal more responsive and less
      prone to false positives (LP: #765819)
    - Window auto-maximise functionality should be disabled on monitors with a
      resolution above 1024 x 600 (LP: #797808)
    - Dash: very high latency responding to input (LP: #828582)
    - Dash - Behaviour of the 'All' button in the Dash filters broken in
      several ways (LP: #841864)
    - alt-tab - The app title in the top left of the top bar should change as
      the alt-tab focus changes (LP: #855516)
    - Keyboard shortcut - Add keyboard shortcut hint overlay that is displayed
      when a user presses and holds the Super key (LP: #855532)
    - Unity crashes when started in an environment without utouch support
      (LP: #860707)
    - Dash - Remove Dash Home shortcut icons (LP: #885738)
    - Dash - Most Frequently Used apps change to Recently Used, without
      Launcher favorites (LP: #893214)
    - Should have a launcher on every monitor (LP: #915944)
    - Launcher autohide behaviour on multi-monitor (LP: #915946)
    - the unity wrapper should kill compiz before restarting it (LP: #919132)
    - Launcher - Implement workspace/launcher cross interactions (LP: #690143)
    - Application icons should only display windows from the current workspace
      in the window spread (LP: #689733)
    - Notification area ("system tray") missing when using dual monitors of
      different sizes, with their bottoms aligned (LP: #778256)
    - Clicking Nautilus launcher icon fails to open a Nautilus file explorer
      window when copying a file and all other Nautilus windows are closed /
      bamf should skip the taskbar (LP: #784804)
    - Dash - the search box is not aligned correctly relative to the Launcher
      BFB button (LP: #838904)
    - Dash - A expand/collapse arrow is missing from all the filter category
      headers (LP: #841870)
    - Dash - the filter buttons should not have a mouse over state
      (LP: #838901)
    - Dash - the "Filter results" text is the wrong size, wrong font weight,
      and aligned incorrectly in both the vertical and horizontal axis
      (LP: #863240)
    - Add SUPER+TAB switching mode that enables the user to switch
      applications via the Launcher (LP: #891620)
    - Software Centre - automatically add app icon to launcher (LP: #761851)
    - Compiz add transparency to titlebar along with the panel (LP: #912682)
    - The search box is too opaque and dark (LP: #913717)
    - Dash - Make statefulness of Dash Home and Dash Lenses consistent
      (LP: #914759)
    - Unity 5.0: "All" button for filters render as "..." (LP: #91...


Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Fix Committed → Fix Released
Nick Tait (jnick-tait) on 2012-03-08
tags: added: reviewedbydesignp
removed: udp
Changed in ayatana-design:
status: Fix Committed → Fix Released
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