Raspbian: Getting Alt-Tab to work properly in Openbox/LXDE

I’m still happily using a Raspberry Pi 2B 3 as a lightweight desktop machine. It’s not my main computer, but it’s pleasantly capable. Set up with a couple of paged desktops (or virtual desktops, as we used to call ’em), I can get a bunch of things done with it.

One feature that really irked me, though, was the way that window switching worked. Or, for greater clarity, didn’t work. Openbox, the standard window manager in Raspbian, didn’t allow you to switch to windows on another desktop with Alt+Tab. As I have a smallish screen, I typically have very few windows per desktop, so I want that ability to move from task to task.

This, however, can be fixed. In your ~/.config/openbox/lxde-pi-rc.xml file, change the keybinding sections for Alt+Tab and Alt-Shift+Tab from:

    <!-- Keybindings for window switching -->
    <keybind key="A-Tab">
      <action name="NextWindow"/>
    </keybind>
    <keybind key="A-S-Tab">
      <action name="PreviousWindow"/>
    </keybind>

to

    <!-- Keybindings for window switching -->
    <keybind key="A-Tab">
      <action name="NextWindow">
        <allDesktops>yes</allDesktops>
      </action>
    </keybind>
    <keybind key="A-S-Tab">
      <action name="PreviousWindow">
        <allDesktops>yes</allDesktops>
      </action>
    </keybind>

Log out, log back in, and Alt+Tab across desktops should Just Work. If you’re not using the default pi user, I suspect you’ll have to edit the ~/.config/openbox/lxde-user-rc.xml file instead.

Credit for this tip: user crunchworksyeay on the CrunchBang Linux Forums.

This has been a Memo To Myself™ production.

One thought on “Raspbian: Getting Alt-Tab to work properly in Openbox/LXDE”

  1. This will get overwritten every time there’s a desktop update from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, though. They don’t seem interested in keeping people’s accessibility settings intact.

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