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I am running Xfce 4.12 on Debian 9. I love Xfce and have no intentions of changing desktop environments any time soon. I am quite attached to a setting in "Window Manager Tweaks > Accessibility > Raise windows when any mouse button is pressed." I love this setting because I can bring another window to the foreground just by scrolling a little with my mouse. I am wondering if this same functionality is available or reasonably achievable on any other desktop environment in case I ever decide to try a different one. (My second favorite desktop environment is Mate.) I am not interested in raising the window just by moving the mouse over it. You may be wondering why I would not just click on the window. Doing a quick scroll over the window avoids having to move the mouse to the top bar to click. Thank you.

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KDE has the feature to raise window by scroll like Xfce.

The feature is available in KDE Plasma 4 and newer, but not in older KDE. I have clarified that KDE 3 can only raise window by a middle click, whilst KDE Plasma 4 and Plasma 5 can additionally raise window by scroll. Note the difference as follows.

  • 'Middle click' refers to the press of mouse wheel button.
  • 'Scroll' refers to the turning of mouse wheel itself.

In other words, the same mouse button can do two different actions.

Setup instruction for KDE

In KDE Plasma 4:

  1. Go to System Settings.
  2. Under Workspace Appearance and Behavior, select Window Behavior.
  3. In left tile menu, select Window Behavior.
  4. In right tabbed menu, select the tab Window Actions.
  5. Under 'Inactive Inner Window', look for the option 'Wheel'.
  6. In the dropdown menu, change the option to Activate, Raise & Scroll.
  7. Finally, click Apply.

In KDE Plasma 5:

  • Follow the same steps as KDE Plasma 4;
  • Except for step 2: Under Workspace, select Window Management.

When following the steps, inline text in bold requires user interaction.

Feature availability

Tested the behavior in KDE 3 on legacy Knoppix and Slax (mentioned as a possible hint for TDE, the fork of KDE 3.5), KDE Plasma 4.13 on Kubuntu 14.04, KDE Plasma 5.12 on Kubuntu 18.04. KDE Plasma 4 is either available until 2019 via Kubuntu 14.04, or available indeterminately up to Debian 9 (stretch). Else KDE Plasma 5.12 or newer may be suggested.

MATE seems to lack of full documentation and I can not download immediately for testing. I would assume things have not much changed from GNOME 2: Probably not available (yet).

Besides Xfce and KDE, I am not aware of others.

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    Nice thorough answer. I confirmed in Kubuntu 18.04 on VirtualBox. I had looked at Linux Mint 18.3 Mate and did not find the setting. Thanks! – jbrock Jun 11 '18 at 22:33
  • I recently looked at Ubuntu MATE 18.04 (MATE 1.20) and similarly, no such setting. Window selection is limited to mouse over, with or without interval. – clearkimura Feb 16 at 14:13

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