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keyboard shortcuts

Create / modify keyboard shortcuts in Gnome under Linux / UNIX

Q. I’m using Ubuntu Linux and I’d like to create or modify keyboard shortcuts in Gnome desktop system? How do I do it?

A. You need to use GConf-Editor or gnome keyboard shortcut tool. GConf-Editor is a tool used for editing the GConf configuration database. It might be useful when the proper configuration utility for some software provides no way of changing some option. The main window consists of a tree showing the GConf configuration database hierarchy, a list of the keys available, and documentation for the selected key. Key values can be changed by either changing them directly in the list, or right clicking on them and selecting Edit key. Changes take immediate effect in running programs. New keys can be added by right clicking in the list and selecting New key.

Easy to use - Keyboard Shortcuts tool

Use the Keyboard Shortcuts preference tool to customize the default keyboard shortcuts to your requirements.

Click on System > Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts to launch the application and view the preconfigured shortcuts.
Create / modify keyboard shortcuts in Gnome under Linux / UNIX  with Keyboard Shortcuts tool

To edit a keyboard shortcut, perform the following steps:

  1. Click the action in the list. If you are using the the keyboard, use the arrow keys to select the shortcut and press Return.
  2. Press the new key or key combination you want to assign to the action.
  3. To clear a shortcut, press Backspace. The action is now marked as Disabled.
  4. To cancel assigning a shortcut, click elsewhere in the window or press Escape.

Advance keyboard shortcuts tool - gconf-editor (GConf-Editor)

You need to install this tool using any one of the following command (Debian / Ubuntu Linux):
$ sudo apt-get install gconf-editor
Or if you are using Fedora / CentOS /RHEL Linux:
# yum install gconf-editor

Run gconf-editor

Use menus or type a command as follows:
$ gconf-editor &

  • Next double click the "apps" folder
  • Next double click the "metacity" folder
  • Finally click the global_keybindings folder


Please note that all these keyboard shortcuts and other settings are saved on a user basis (inside a home directory), so each user can create their own custom setup.

Gnome Desktop Keyboard Shortcut Keys

Q. How do I navigate the desktop from the keyboard only? I have have difficulty using a mouse or other pointing device. I am using Debian Linux.

A. Following is the list of essential keyboard shortcut keys for Linux Gnome Desktop system:

=> Alt + F1 : Open the Main Menu

=> Alt + F2 : Open the Run Program dialog.

=> F1 : Display online help.

=> Print Screen OR Alt + Print Screen : Start the screenshot application and take a screenshot of the window or entire desktop

=> Ctrl + F1 : If the focused desktop element is a panel or application window, this keyboard shortcut switches the display of tooltips for the window or panel objects on and off.

=> Shift + F10 : Open a popup menu for the desktop element that has focus, if a popup menu exists.

=> arrow keys : Navigate within a desktop element or control.

=> Alt + F4 : Close the window.

=> Alt + F10 : Maximize the window.

=> Alt + F5 : Restore a maximized window to the original size of the window.

=> You can read rest of the all keyboard shortcuts in Using the Keyboard to Navigate the Desktop chapter online.