I'm having trouble setting a keyboard shortcut in Ubuntu. Trying to use the win (super) key as a modifier, but as soon as I press the win key the keyboard shortcut UI just assumes I wanted to use just that key.

I figure the easiest thing would be to modify the settings file itself, where I should be able to put in whatever I want. But I can't figure out where that's stored. Does anyone know?


1 Answer 1


My settings seem to be stored in Gconf. You can access these in the gconf-editor under /apps/metacity/global_keybindings or /apps/metacity/window_keybindings.

These settings are stored in $HOME/.gconf/apps/metacity/global_keybindings/%gconf.xml and $HOME/.gconf/apps/metacity/window_keybindings/%gconf.xml. If you'll be changing the XML directly, I recommend logging out, making changes in a virtual terminal, and then logging back in.

Sample entries in my gconf-editor (changing them here should take effect immediately):

Default values:
Name                         Value
switch_to_workspace_down     <Ctrl><Alt>Down
switch_to_workspace_up       <Ctrl><Alt>Up

Modified values:
Name                         Value
switch_to_workspace_down     <Mod4>Down
switch_to_workspace_up       <Mod4>Up

Sample entries in my global_keybindings XML:

        <entry name="switch_to_workspace_down" mtime="1274412610" type="string">
        <entry name="switch_to_workspace_up" mtime="1274412607" type="string">
        <entry name="switch_to_workspace_right" mtime="1274412603" type="string">
        <entry name="switch_to_workspace_left" mtime="1274412594" type="string">

p.s. I wonder if your troubles with the settings UI are caused by a specific driver or keyboard layout. You might try setting or tweaking the layout or keyboard model used (System > Preferences > Keyboard, Layouts tab). Also check the Options dialog on the same tab; there are some tweaks for the Alt/Win keys.

  • 1
    That worked perfectly. Just used <Super> to reference the win key. Now to figure out where the setting that makes the mouse scrollwheel change virtual desktops when the mouse is over the desktop is, and kill it.
    – Herms
    Jun 14, 2010 at 18:39
  • 1
    @herms: i read about that one the other day when i was playing with Compiz settings, but i never noticed it being active on my system. if you've intalled the CompizConfig Settings Manager, check the mouse bindings in there, particularly under the Viewport Switcher or Desktop Wall plugins. Jun 14, 2010 at 19:14
  • Didn't realize compiz config had to be installed separately. That would explain why I can't find it. I'll go install that and try it out. Thanks!
    – Herms
    Jun 14, 2010 at 19:19
  • Do you know what the package name is for the package the compiz config lives under? I'm having trouble finding it.
    – Herms
    Jun 14, 2010 at 19:26
  • 1
    compizconfig-settings-manager is the package name; it should install a menu item in System > Preferences for it. Jun 14, 2010 at 19:29

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