I like to use Alt+Tab (the default shortcut for "Switch Windows") inside a particular program¹.

As a result, I would like to use Win+Tab and Shift+Win+Tab to switch windows instead. I've already modified the "Switch Windows" and "Switch Windows backwards" keyboard shortcuts in System Settings:

Switch Windows key bindings

This causes the new Win shortcuts to switch windows, but the old Alt shortcuts still switch windows as well. My goal is to free these shortcuts from the desktop.

Is there a way to completely unbind Alt+Tab and Shift+Alt+Tab at the OS level?

¹Not that it's terribly important, but I use this key combination to trigger code completion in Emacs. I'm pretty used to it, and would prefer not to change the binding.

  • I'm going to mark this as "off topic" as a bug report. If you've changed the shortcut, but Gala is still swallowing the old ones that is a bug. Please refer to elementary.io/docs/code/reference#reporting-bugs Sep 5, 2015 at 16:08
  • 1
    @DanielForé, thanks for the suggestion. I'll head over to Launchpad and report this as a bug. In the mean time, I've found a workaround (see below). I will leave the question and answer up in case they help somebody else.
    – Chris
    Sep 5, 2015 at 16:22

1 Answer 1


I discovered a workaround via this answer to a related question.

First, use gsettings to find the internal configuration setting we wish to change:

gsettings list-recursively | grep -i switch
# ...
# org.gnome.desktop.wm.keybindings switch-applications ['<Super>Tab', '<Alt>Tab']
# ...

Then, change the individual setting as necessary. In this case:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.keybindings switch-applications "['<Super>Tab']"

As suggested by Daniel in the comments above, I have reported this as a bug.

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