I’ve been using Ubuntu 17.10 since its release and so far, I’m impressed. But there’s been one little feature which has been annoying me is how the new dock handles multiple windows from the same application.

The preview menu that appears when clicking an icon attached to more than one window.

When clicking an application icon in the dock that has more than one window open, it will always show a preview menu where you pick the window you want to see. I personally find this functionality a bit annoying as it requires the user to move their mouse to the right window and do a second click. This may sound like a minor inconvenience and… well, ok, yes it is. I do personally feel like it interrupts the flow of switching between applications, and there are a few studies that back up the claim that fewer clicks are better for user experience. Ideally, I’d prefer the dock to switch to the last active window on clicking the icon, then another click on the icon will cycle through the open windows, that way, the majority of the time the correct window is displayed in just one click, and if not, another click will get you the next window without requiring the mouse to be moved.

Annoyingly, there is no setting in the supplied Ubuntu tools to change the behaviour of the dock. But as the dock is based on the very popular dash-to-dock Gnome extension, it is possible to tweak the settings directly in dconf:

Changing the click action using a dconf editor.

I’d highly recommend using the dconf GUI to make the change just for convenience, but if you want a simple one-liner to do the change quickly:

dconf write /org/gnome/shell/extensions/dash-to-dock/click-action cycle-windows

This can always be changed back to the default (previews):

dconf reset /org/gnome/shell/extensions/dash-to-dock/click-action

Hopefully this quick tip has been useful. There are many other setting that can be changed from this area of dconf and I couldn’t find much on this particular setting being discussed, so maybe I’m just one of the few who doesn’t like the default behaviour.