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Alt+Tab window shows a list of open applications. Problem is it can put even 24 icons in a single row which makes navigation hard. Is there a setting to specify e.g. 5 icons per row?

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  • I suppose I will need to find and edit source code! Is there anyone who can point the source code package/file which needs to be edited?
    – Mahdi
    Nov 24 '14 at 4:49
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Alt-Tab feature is handled by the window manager. In Xfce, the window manager is xfwm4 and the feature refers to "cycle windows" in the window manager actions.

Which source code

The source codes can be viewed at Xfce GitHub organization, as described by this Xfce Docs. There are many repositories related to Xfce being listed on GitHub for public viewing.

Visit the relevant repository: xfwm4. Then, navigate to /src directory and you will find source and header files inside. Most likely, the relevant source file is cycle.c.

While I can't fully comprehend the source codes, I could estimate that xfwm4 dynamically sizes the Alt-Tab popup dialog. There are quite a number of libraries *.h files being included, as well as variable such as ScreenInfo being passed between the functions.

The cycle behaviour

One thing that I noticed, is the number of icons being shown in a single row. The question mentioned "24 icons in a single row". However, my machine had only half of that. Why? Most likely, because my machine has a smaller display size with lower screen resolution.

The screenshot below is showing Alt-Tab popup dialog with 14 opened applications in Xfce.

Xfce 4.10 Alt-Tab popup dialog

In this case, screen resolution at 1280 x 800 will show 12 icons in the first row and the remaining 2 icons in the second row. Additionally, I have another machine running at screen resolution of 1366 x 768 that will show 13 icons in the first row.

Based on the observation, I am convinced that higher screen resolution will be able to show more number of icons in a single row. Hence, the popup dialog in Xfce is dynamically sized.

Disclaimer: I am neither a developer nor a qualified programmer, therefore I can't point exactly which part of the code one should edit. I am merely suggesting the relevant source code, with respect to the comment left by the asker. The cycle behaviour was explained as part of understanding the question, which may also serve as a useful hint when modifying the source code.

The screenshot was taken in Xubuntu 14.04 (Xfce 4.10).

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