In MATE (at least as shipped with Ubuntu 17.04), by default, Ctrl-Alt-{Left/Right/Up/Down} switches workspaces. Thus this shortcut is unavailable in applications.

In the "Keyboard Shortcuts" (mate-keybinding-properties) application, this shortcut is not listed. (Probably because it is handled by the underlying window manager Marco.) How can it be disabled?


3 Answers 3


You can use: gsettings set org.mate.Marco.global-keybindings switch-to-workspace-left disabled gsettings set org.mate.Marco.global-keybindings switch-to-workspace-right disabled gsettings set org.mate.Marco.global-keybindings switch-to-workspace-up disabled gsettings set org.mate.Marco.global-keybindings switch-to-workspace-down disabled

The names of those (and many other) settings can be found here (in somewhat unreadable form): https://github.com/mate-desktop/marco/blob/master/src/org.mate.marco.gschema.xml. The command for changing shortcuts is described very shortly in https://github.com/mate-desktop/marco/blob/master/README.

  • 1
    You can also use the GUI application mate-keybinding-properties, which is accessible in the menus under System->Preferences->Hardware->Keyboard Shortcuts, although for some reason on one of my 16.04 systems the Window Management submenu (which you need) is missing.
    – AFH
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 10:52
  • 4
    At least on my system, this app lists a lot of keybindings, but not the "Ctrl-Alt-Left" keybindings. (It has "Ctrl-Alt-Left (keypad)", but that's a different one.) Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 11:03
  • They're in the Switch to workspace ... options under Window Management, though you won't find them now that you've disabled them with gsettings.
    – AFH
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 11:20

It may sound silly, but the keyboard shortcuts for switching between workspaces are available only when using more than one workspaces. I had to add an additional workspace from Workspace Switcher in Panel and then it was possible to disable the shortcuts from System->Preferences->Hardware->Keyboard Shortcuts


In general, to find out which keybindings are used by mate gsettings can be queryed. Example listing keybindings for workspace:

gsettings list-recursively org.mate.Marco|grep keybindings|grep workspace


  • Control key also can be listed as Primary. ie:
    org.mate.Marco.global-keybindings switch-to-workspace-left '<Primary><Alt>Left'
  • there are global-keybindings and window-keybindings, so to be safe change both.

To disable a keybinding do a set for each one you want:

gsettings set org.mate.Marco.global-keybindings switch-to-workspace-left disabled
gsettings set org.mate.Marco.window-keybindings switch-to-workspace-left disabled

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