Ubuntu 13.04 – Keyboard Tricks and Shortcuts

Raise your hand in the air if you have read the Ubuntu user documentation. Yes? No? Raise your hand if you ever read the documentation for any operating system or software product.

The truth is that a lot of people don’t bother reading the manual. I am one of those people who when buying an item from a shop will rip the item out of the box and try and get it working without the manual. Only when I am completely stumped will  I resort to trying to read the manual. I don’t think manufacturers help with this though as the manual is either a series of diagrams that the ancient Egyptians would have been proud of or written in the sort of broken English that spammers often use when adding comments at the bottom of blogs.

When it comes to technical documentation it is actually a very good idea to read it (especially if you plan to install a new operating system like Ubuntu).

This post is simply a list of keyboard short-cuts that may help you when using Ubuntu 13.04 and the Unity desktop. All the information found here can easily be found within the Ubuntu documentation.

Windows and Workspaces

Keyboard Shortcut Description
Alt + F4 Close current window
Alt + F2 Run a command
Alt + Tab Switch windows
Alt + Shift + Tab Reverse Switch window
Alt + Tab + Right Arrow Switch to next window to the right
Alt + Tab + Left Arrow Switch to next window to the left
Alt + Tab + Down Arrow Preview selected window
Alt + ` Switch between windows in selected application
Alt + Shift + ` Reverse switch window in selected application
Super + s Activate workspace switcher
Super + w Show all windows in current workspace
CTRL + Alt + Arrows Switch between workspaces
CTRL + Alt + Shift + Arrows Move current window to another workspace
CTRL + Alt + Del Log out
CTRL + Super + D Hide all windows
CTRL + Alt + L Lock screen
CTRL + Super + Up Arrow Maximise current window
Alt + Left mouse drag Move window
Alt + Middle mouse drag Resize window
Alt + F7 + Arrows Move Window
Alt + F8 + Arrows  Resize Window
CTRL + Alt + T Launch Terminal

Heads Up Display (HUD)

Keyboard Shortcut Description
Alt (quick tap) Opens HUD
Type Shows list of items to choose from
Arrows Select result
Esc (or Alt again) Exit HUD

The Dash

Keyboard Shortcut Description
Super (hold) Show keyboard shortcuts
Super (tap) Show dash
Super + A Show Applications lens
Super + F Show Files lens
Super + M Show Music lens
Super + V Show Video lens
Super + C Show Photos lens
Super + G Show Gwibber lens
Arrow keys Change selected item
CTRL + Tab Toggle through lenses
CTRL + Shift + Tab Toggler backwards through lenses
Enter Open selected item
Right click on item Preview

The Launcher

Keyboard Shortcut Description
Alt + F1 Enables keyboard navigation
Super + Tab Switch between applications
Super + Shift + Tab Toggle backwards through applications in launcher
Super + (1 to 9) Select application defined by number
Super + Shift + (1 to 9) Open new window for application
Super + T Open recycle bin


Keyboard Shortcut Description
Print Take a screenshot
Alt + Print Capture current window
Shift + Print Take screenshot of area of screen
CTRL + Print Copy screenshot to clipboard
CTRL + Alt + Print Capture current window to clipboard
CTRL + Shift + Print Capture screen area to clipboard

Download the Ubuntu 13.04 Unity Cheat Sheet

Read the Ubuntu User Documentation


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