Task Switcher

Martin Grlin

Revision KDE 4.11 (2014-03-10)

Navigating through Windows

This module offers the possibility to configure the behaviour for Navigating through windows often referred to as Alt+Tab. There are two independent sets of effects which can have different settings. For each of this sets there is an own tab (Main and Alternative) in this module.


The first set of effects on the Main tab has predefined shortcuts. If you want to use the second set of effects on the Alternative tab, you have to set a shortcut for these effects in the Shortcut Editor manually.


For navigating through windows without Alt+Tab, you can define screen edge actions in the System Settings module Screen Edges.

The following documentation of options applies to the general settings and the alternative settings as well.


There are several effects which can be used instead of the normal window list when compositing is enabled. By default the Thumbnails effect is used. This effect displays a small thumbnail of each window inside a box and the currently selected window is highlighted. There are several additional predefined layouts which provide an informative or compact view, small or large icons, a grid and window title only.

Selecting one of these layouts you will have a button to show a preview.

If you enable Show selected window it will be shown as background of the task switcher window.

Cover Switch and Flip Switch effect are more fancy effects which require OpenGL. Cover Switch displays the windows in a gallery with a large thumbnail of the currently selected window in the center of the screen while all other windows are rotated on the left and right. Flip Switch displays all windows on a 3D stack. The selected window is on top of the stack and navigating through the windows will move the stack so that the new selected window is on the top.

If the effect provides additional settings the configure button will be activated. By clicking this button a configuration dialog will be shown.


When compositing is not active or gets suspended the normal window list will be shown. There is no loss in functionality if an effect is selected and compositing is not active.


The shortcut editor provides the configuration interface for the keyboard shortcuts for navigating through windows. Each of the two possible sets of effects has two shortcuts: one for the forward direction and one for the reverse direction. Please note that the window list can only be shown if you select a shortcut with a keyboard modifier such as the Alt or Ctrl key. This modifier has to be hold while switching. Selecting a shortcut without a modifier key can break the behaviour of navigating through windows.


It is possible to influence the sort order, you can either use a sort order based on the last usage of the windows or the stacking order of the windows.

If you check Include "Show Desktop" icon an entry for the desktop will be added to list with application windows. Then you can select this entry in the list to minimize all windows.

If Only one window per application is selected then only the last used instance of an application is contained in the list. Switching to other instances is possible only via the panel then.

Filter windows

You can configure which windows should be shown in the list initiated by pressing Alt+Tab (predefined for the settings on the Main tab) or the user defined shortcut for the alternative settings.

So it is possible to only show windows on the current virtual desktop or windows from all other desktops. Additionally you can apply similar rules for windows in activities or on screens for a multimonitor setup.

The last option allows you to filter on the minimization status of windows.