How-To Geek

How to Be More Productive in Ubuntu Using Keyboard Shortcuts


We’re always looking for new ways to speed up everyday tasks in Ubuntu. We’ll show you some keyboard shortcuts you might not have known about, and show you how to make your own custom shortcuts.

Image by Remko van Dokkum.

Shortcuts You Should Know

If you’re still doing these things the long mouse-driven way, stop!

  • Alt + F2: Open a “Run application” window
  • Ctrl + Alt + L: Lock the screen
  • Ctrl + Alt + T: Open a terminal window
  • Ctrl + Alt + D: Minimize all windows and show the desktop
  • Ctrl + Alt + arrow key: Switch to a different workspace

Make Your Own Keyboard Shortcut

If you always find yourself doing the same task or opening the same program, it might be worth making a custom keyboard shortcut.

Open the shortcut configuration tool via System –> Preferences –> Keyboard Shortcuts.


Click the Add button the bottom-right. Enter an appropriate name and command.


Click Apply. In the main Keyboard Shortcuts window, click on the right side of your new custom shortcut – it should read “Disabled” at the moment. Give it an appropriate keyboard command.


Close the window, and test out your shortcut! It’ll become second nature in no time.

While you’re in the Keyboard Shortcuts window, be sure to look through the list and change shortcuts as you see fit! If your keyboard doesn’t have media keys, for example, you can assign one of the F-keys to volume up and volume down.

Custom shortcuts aren’t just for opening your favorite programs quickly. You can write a short script to automate some common task and bind that script to a keystroke! The possibilities are endless.

Trevor is our resident Linux geek, but always keeps his eyes open for neat Windows tricks too.

  • Published 01/24/11

Comments (7)

  1. Sudarshan

    Ctrl + Alt + D doesn’t really work on my system. Any idea what’s wrong?

  2. Trevor Bekolay


    You can go into the Keyboard Shortcuts configuration tool mentioned in this article, and see if the shortcut for “Show Desktop” is still Ctrl + Alt + D. Perhaps it was changed somehow?

  3. bassman22

    Try Super+D. It works that way for me, but to be honest, I don’t recall if I did that myself or if it was the default setting.

  4. Nav

    @Author : Have you tried Windows Key + E…. to switch btn workspaces……

  5. Matt

    Super+D was the default for me to go to the desktop, and Super+E pulls up the flashy workspace switcher, which I quite like. I discovered keyboard shortcuts because of a misfire on my HP laptop’s built-in mute button. I was able to map “mute” to a keyboard shortcut, which saved me having to use the mouse.

  6. Lem

    Yep, Super+D ( aka Windows+D ) works at default for me too.

  7. Ravi Prakash

    using G7 or K77 we can type any language , unicode symbols , cut-copy-pase everyhing.
    google 7keypad

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