Even more GNOME keyboard shortcuts

Jack Wallen
Aug 10, 2010
Updated • Dec 5, 2012

Well all strive to make our desktop as efficient as possible. Whether you're a coder who wants nothing more than to never remove your fingers from the keyboard, or if you're a writer who wants to use the mouse only when necessary, there are so many ways to make this happen. One of the easiest ways is to use keyboard shortcuts.

I've already touched on this subject in my article "Handy GNOME keyboard shortcuts" and I've demonstrated how to create custom shortcuts in my article "Create custom desktop shortcuts in Ubuntu". Both of those articles strive for the same goal - the most efficient computer desktop experience possible. Add to that growing documentation this article on even more (handy) GNOME keyboard shortcuts, and you're getting close to realizing your dream of never leaving your keyboard.


We all have to work with menus. Be it the main window (Applications) or Application menus, having a keyboard shortcut for these menus goes a long way toward efficiency. Let's take a look at some:

Alt F1: This will open up the Applications menu on the GNOME desktop. Once open you can use your arrow keys on your number pad.

Alt F: This opens up the file menu in your current working window. Once open you can use your arrow keys on your number pad.

Alt E: This open up the Edit menu in your current working window. Once open you can use your arrow keys on your number pad.

Alt Space: This brings up the Window Menu (where you can select a window to be "Always on Top" and more. Once open you can use your arrow keys on your number pad.


These particular shortcuts always pertain to the current working window.

Alt F7: Initiates window movement. Once you press this combination you can use your arrow keys to move the window where you want it.

Alt F8: Resizes a window. Once pressed, use your arrow keys to resize the window. Hit Enter when finished.

Alt F10: Maximizes a window.

Alt F5: Returns a window to previous or normal size.

Alt F4: Closes the window.


Nautilus is the default GNOME file manager. You will use it frequently.

Ctrl W: Close the current working Nautilus window.

Ctrl R: Reload the Nautilus window.

Alt Up Arrow: Open parent folder.

Alt Left Arrow: Move back one folder.

Alt Right Arrow: Move forward one folder.

Alt Home: Return to your home directory (~/).

Ctrl L: Show/hide the location bar.

F9: Show/hide the side pane.

Ctrl H: Show/hide hidden files.

Ctrl +: Zoom in.

Ctrl -: Zoom out.

Ctrl 0: Normal size.

Final thoughts

Between the original keyboard shortcuts article and this article, you should now have plenty of shortcuts to keep your fingers from dancing between your keyboard and your mouse. Of course neither of these article touch upon Compiz, which has its own set of keyboard shortcuts. We'll discuss those in another article.  As well, we will do the same feature for the KDE desktop. You can expect that article very soon.

Your quest for desktop efficiency will soon come to a close!


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  1. ALeX said on August 11, 2010 at 1:29 am

    Some additions…

    generally all items in a menu have a letter underlined (like F in File, etc..)
    the combination of Alt+letter opens the corresponding menu.
    What;s more is you can select an item from the menu you just opened by just pressing its underlined letter (without the Alt. this time)
    For example, in Nautilus pressing Alt+F opens the file menu and then S opens the Connect to Server dialog..

    ALt+F2 open the “run” dialog
    and F3 in nautilus opens a second pane which really helps if you want to copy files between 2 folders…

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