I actually had my SUPER_L ( left windows key ) binded to gnome-terminal, but for whatever reason ever since upgrading to 9.04 Ubuntu from 8.10 Intrepid it seemed to break the key binding. It was very handy because I could throw open the terminal with one key ( sorry but alt-f2 and typing gnome-terminal isn't practical for me ). Or perhaps it reset all the keybindings? I remember using xev and some gui type interface that was akin to Win32 registry editor.

Anyway, I'm curious as to what you guys use to open the terminal.

  • CW perhaps? (A poll asking for personal preferences). Personally I use Ctrl + Alt + T for firing up a terminal; very fast, very reliable. – Jonik Sep 7 '09 at 7:53

11 Answers 11


I let Gnome-Do do the work for me.

Gnome-Do adapts to prefer your frequently used apps and, so I use Super+Space to launch Gnome-Do, and then r to launch Terminal.

The benefit I get is that any letter in the command will match, as long as I enter it in sequence. i.e. I have both Google Chrome and Chromium Web Browser, typing Ch selects the former, and Chu selects the latter.

The second benefit is that it leaves a lot of nice key-bindings to use in controlling the windows and workspaces.

The real benefit of Gnome-Do is this solution scales well: I open nearly all my frequently used apps (I'd estimate around 20 to 25 of them), using 2 keystrokes on average, in addition to Super+Space.

In case you're wondering about using r for Terminal, it's because t matches Thunderbird which I use as often.

  • 1
    One terminal-related advantage of Do is the "Open Terminal Here" action. So when you have a deeply-nested folder that you want to work in, say "/home/someuser/sandbox/randomfolder/anotherfolder/yourdir/", you can start typing "yourdir", press tab, and select "open terminal here". Very handy. – Matthew Aug 24 '09 at 20:44

You can use Quake-style terminals. When you press hotkey, terminal appears somwhere in the window. There are some projects:

  • I actually liked this so much I recreated it in windows with Console2 and autohotkey for the sliding out. – Phoshi Oct 24 '09 at 21:44

If you want your original key binding back, you can set it up in Compiz, if that's what you use, with the Commands plugin.

If you don't use Compiz, then you can do what I do and use xbindkeys. Make sure you install xbindkeys-config rather than try to edit the config file by hand.


I bound Control-F1 to open Terminal on GNOME in the keyboard shortcuts preferences. It was the shortcut key I used for xterm on Window Maker ages ago, so muscle memory prevailed.


Ctrl + Alt + Space

it's like rolling your fingers down across the board, a very easy combination.

  • super+e

I borrowed the "open a new explorer" from windows and mapped that to open a gnome-term.

  • ooo, i didn't know about that (in windows)... thx! – quack quixote Oct 24 '09 at 21:50

Go in Preferences, You can define Shortcuts For many things, it even includes terminal, I use the Super key or the Windows Key to open a terminal, its really fast Try it


I use Caps+enter (with Caps Lock remapped to Mod4 (Windows key)).

Secondarily is dmenu, which is like a much simpler version of Gnome-Do.

Although I quit using it a while ago, I have previously used stjerm, which belongs in the list of pull-down terminals in Pawka's answer, but the damn reputation system won't let me comment yet.

  • +1 for dmenu, I use dwm + dmenu >> arch . They work perfectly :) – Dzung Nguyen Jan 3 '11 at 20:29

xbindkeys allows you to use any key combination. I use Windows key + T.


"gnome-terminal --maximize"
    Mod4 + t

Then you need to install xbindkeys (e.g. sudo apt-get install xbindkeys) and add it to your startup applications via System->Preferences->Startup.

The bug with not being able to use the Windows key on Ubuntu is a known issue. Have a look at Bug 12153 for more details and a workaround.


For the record, it's possible to set up the old Super_L binding, even as late as Ubuntu 11.10:

  • Run gconf-editor (available in Ubuntu's aptly named gconf-editor package)
  • Find the key /apps/metacity/global_keybindings/run_command_terminal
  • Manually edit its value to the string Super_L

Works like a charm!

Note that in modern Ubuntus running Unity, you'll want to change the keybinding that opens the unity launcher (done by installing compizconfig-settings-manager, running ccsm, going to the Unity plugin under desktop, and changing its launcher keybinding).


I have a Typematrix keyboard ( http://typematrix.com/ ) which got a "desktop" key, just on the right of the space bar, above the alt char key. I've mapped that to opening a terminal and it's the best idea I had in the last ten years. It is the kind of thing "How did I lived so long without it".

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