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Alt-Tab and Focus-Follows-Mouse

June 2nd, 2012
tech, focus

I have several terminals I leave in their own part of the screen. [1] I have focus follow the mouse [2], so to switch to one of these terminals I move the mouse. When I press alt-tab, it's never because I want to switch to or see these windows, it's because I want to bring up a hidden or partially obscured window. With focus-follows-mouse alt-tab should only affect windows that are stacked.

(Because in my case "non-overlapping windows" and "XTerms" are synonomous, I can set Compiz to do what I want by turning off alt-tab for XTerm windows. I like it a lot.)


[1] On my my desktop. On my laptop I run everything full-screen.

[2] When I move the mouse over a window and start typing, the text shows up in that window. The "focus" switches between windows based on mouse location. See

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