Ubuntu Keyboard Shortcuts that Every User Should Know

ubuntu keyboard shortcuts

Regardless of whatever Operating system you are using, keyboard shortcuts have come in handy and help in saving time and energy when launching applications or navigating to your desired window.

Just like in Windows, there are Ubuntu hotkeys that you can use as shortcuts to make things easier. In this tutorial, you will learn some of the nifty Ubuntu keyboard shortcuts that can help make your life easier and boost your productivity.

1) Using the Super Key (Windows Key)

A simple press of the Windows Key button, or what is referred to as Super Key in Unix systems, launches a search menu as shown below.

Ubuntu keyboard shortcut

To search an application, simply type in the application name and click on the Application's icon.

search for an application

You can also use the Super key to view all the launched applications at a go as shown below.

switch between applications

2) Launching Terminal using Super Key

Another useful and handy shortcut is the terminal shortcut. You can launch the terminal using the simple Ubuntu keyboard shortcut  'CTRL + ALT + T'. It's one of the easiest and nifty shortcuts to launch your terminal in the shortest possible time.

launch terminal in Ubuntu

3) Locking the screen

Just like in Windows, to lock the screen simply hit 'Super Key + L' or 'CTRL + ALT + L'. It's a much faster way of locking the screen that heading out to the top right corner and selecting the lock screen option.

4) Revealing the desktop when several windows are open

Usually, you are likely to find that you have one or two windows or more open at a given time.  To minimize them all and revert to your desktop, simply press 'Super Key + D'. Alternatively, you can press the 'CTRL + ALT + D' keys. All the active windows will be minimized leaving you only with the desktop.

5) Launch the applications Menu

Usually, Ubuntu 18.04 comes with a GNOME display manager that allows you to display the application by pressing the bottom left corner button which comprises of a group of dots. A shortcut to get this done in an easier way is by pressing 'Super Key + A' combination.

Ubuntu keyboard shortcuts

6) Switching between running applications

In some cases, you might have many applications open. To easily switch between them, use the 'Super + Tab' or 'Alt + Tab' key combinations. while at it. keep holding the Super key as you tap on the Tab key to shuffle between the applications. Once you get to your desired application, simply release both keys.

switching tabs

7) Toggle the notification tray

The GNOME interface on Ubuntu 18.04 comes with a notification tray that can be access by click on the date at the top bar. The notification tray allows you to see some of the application activities. To launch the notification tray, simply hit the 'Super Key + M'. Additionally, you can press 'Super Key + V' to toggle through the various notifications.

Launch notification Tray

8) Snapping Windows

Just like in the Windows operating system, you can snap your application window to the left or right, the result which is the window ends up occupying half the screen. To snap to the right, press 'Super Key + Arrow right'.

snap windows using super key

To snap to the application to the left, hit 'Super Key + Arrow left'.

9) Shuffle between workspaces

If you have several workspaces open , you can easily toggle between them by hitting the 'CTRL + ALT + Arrow UP' or  'CTRL + ALT + Arrow Down' combination.

Switch between workspaces

10) Running commands on the fly

To run a command without necessarily accessing the terminal simply press Ubuntu 'Alt F2' keys. This will launch a console text box which will prompt for a command. If you want to launch an application , say FireFox browser,  type in the application name and hit ENTER

ALT + F2

11) Logging out

To log out at any given point, press the 'CTRL + ALT +DEL' keys on the keyboard. If you have an application open, you will be prompted whether you really want to log out. If you have second thoughts about it, simply click the 'Cancel' button. If you want to proceed logging out, click on 'Log Out'.

Log out shortcut

12) Closing a window

There are several ways of closing a running application in Ubuntu. The universal way, which also works on Windows is the 'Alt + F4' combination. Additionally, you can press 'CTRL + Q' to quite an application.

Assigning custom keyboard shortcuts

That's not all there is to Ubuntu keyboard shortcuts. You can also create your own custom shortcuts. Simply click on 'Settings > Devices > Keyboard'. A list of possible keyboard shortcuts will be displayed.  To define your shortcuts, scroll down and hit the plus button ( + ) shown below.

Add custom Ubuntu keyboard shortcuts

Next, define the name of the shortcut and provide the Ubuntu keyboard shortcut command. Next, click on 'Set shortcut' and click on the 'Add' button on the top right corner of the pop-up window.

Define Ubuntu keyboard shortcuts


This wraps our topic on Ubuntu keyboard shortcuts. Feel free to play around with the above-mentioned shortcuts and experiment with adding some by yourself. We hope we provided some useful insights on suing some nifty Ubuntu Keyboard shortcuts.

3 Comments... add one

  1. My Super key presses gives different results than this article. I use POP!_OS18.04 (based on Ubuntu 18.04). For example just [Superkey] + [T] gives me the terminal. Just the [Superkey] gives me all the open applications. There are other differences. [Superkey]+[M] does nothing, while [Superkey]+[v] gives the notifications. I don't know why there are differences but there seems to be some.

    • Hey ChiefHart, as long as you are running GNOME, the keys should give you the same result. Unless there's a subtle variation in POP! OS.


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