A run-or-raise application switcher for any X11 desktop
Shell Makefile
Latest commit 9356ca0 Jun 19, 2017 @mkropat committed on GitHub Merge pull request #25 from overjt/patch-1
Archlinux command added



A run-or-raise application switcher for any X11 desktop

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The idea is simple — bind a key for any given application that will:

  • launch the application, if it's not already running, or
  • focus the application's window, if it is running

Pressing the key again will cycle to the application's next window, if there's more than one.

In short, jumpapp is probably the fastest way for a keyboard-junkie to switch between applications in a modern desktop environment. Once installed, all you have to do is configure the key bindings you want to use:

Settings Example


Usage: jumpapp [OPTION]... COMMAND [ARG]...

Jump to (focus) the first open window for an application, if it's running.
Otherwise, launch COMMAND (with opitonal ARGs) to start the application.

  -r -- cycle through windows in reverse order
  -f -- force COMMAND to launch if process found but no windows found
  -n -- do not fork into background when launching COMMAND
  -p -- always launch COMMAND when ARGs passed
        (see Argument Passthrough in man page)
  -L -- list matching windows for COMMAND and quit
  -t NAME -- process window has to have NAME as the window title
  -c NAME -- find window using NAME as WM_CLASS (instead of COMMAND)
  -i NAME -- find process using NAME as the command name (instead of COMMAND)
  -w -- only find the applications in the current workspace


Ubuntu and Linux Mint

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mkropat/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install jumpapp

Debian and Friends

sudo apt-get install build-essential debhelper pandoc shunit2
git clone https://github.com/mkropat/jumpapp.git
cd jumpapp
make deb
sudo dpkg -i jumpapp*all.deb
sudo apt-get install -f	# if there were missing dependencies

Fedora and Friends

git clone https://github.com/mkropat/jumpapp.git
cd jumpapp
make rpm
sudo yum localinstall jumpapp*.noarch.rpm

Arch linux and Friends

yaourt -S aur/jumpapp-git

From Source

git clone https://github.com/mkropat/jumpapp.git
cd jumpapp
make && sudo make install

Argument Passthrough (-p option)

Many applications keep track of what windows they have open so that if you run the command again, it will interact with the existing application window instead of launching a new instance of the application.

Take Firefox, for example. If you already have a Firefox window open and you run firefox https://github.com/, Firefox won't start a new instance. What it does is open a new tab in the existing window and browse to the URL you passed.

Especially in the case of Desktop Entry files, we want to preserve this behavior. With jumpapp -p COMMAND [ARGs]..., when you include one or more ARGs, COMMAND is always executed in order to pass the ARGs to the running application. But if no ARGs are included, jumpapp will behave normally.

A Wrapper Around wmctrl(1)

All the heavy lifting is done by Tomáš Stýblo's powerful wmctrl. You must have it installed to use jumpapp.

jumpapp was built for the GNOME desktop environment. There's a good chance though that it'll work on any window manager supported by wmctrl.


If your desktop environment doesn't offer a way to bind keys to commands — or if it's too limited — take a look at XBindKeys.

Example .xbindkeysrc:

"jumpapp chromium"
  control + alt + c

"jumpapp -r chromium"
  shift + control + alt + c

"jumpapp firefox"
  control + alt + f

"jumpapp -r firefox"
  shift + control + alt + f

"jumpapp gnome-terminal"
  control + alt + t

"jumpapp -r gnome-terminal"
  shift + control + alt + t


jumpapp ships with a helper utility:

Usage: jumpappify-desktop-entry SOMEFILE.desktop

Given a desktop entry file (*.desktop), output a new desktop entry file that
wraps the application's `Exec` in a call to jumpapp(1).


    jumpappify-desktop-entry /usr/share/applications/chromium-browser.desktop \
        > ~/.local/share/applications/chromium-browser.desktop

Or convert multiple in one go:

    for entry in /usr/share/applications/{firefox,gnome-terminal}.desktop; do
        target=~/".local/share/applications/$(basename "$entry")"
        jumpappify-desktop-entry "$entry" >"$target"

See Also

  • Blazing-Fast Application Switching in Linux — a blog post that talks about the advantages of this style of application switching
  • brocket — a Bash script that works very similiarly to jumpapp. Check it out, particularly if you're looking for options for managing windows in different desktops.