Since my monitor takes an awful lot of time to turn back on after being physically turned off, I'm looking for a command or a simple utility to turn off my screen with a shortcut. Setting a black screensaver is not satisfactory; I want the screen to "hibernate" (the same effect I would get by turning off the computer while leaving the screen physically on).

The same question for Windows: How can I make my screen blank by a shortcut?

  • Press STRG a than k and than y
    – Daniel
    Jan 4, 2012 at 21:25

6 Answers 6


Try using

xset dpms force off

to force the screen to turn off.

  • 4
    That's really great. For the OP though, when a key is pressed, it turns the screen back on. I'm not sure if that's desirable.
    – Brigand
    Jan 4, 2012 at 21:18
  • 20
    Sometimes works better if you do sleep 1 ; xset dpms force off otherwise remnants of the last keyboard activity (I guess) sometimes turns the screen back on immediately.
    – Mat
    Jan 4, 2012 at 21:19
  • 1
    This is exactly what I've been looking for. Thanks @siva-charan. The only thing I was wondering is how I could ask for a password when I wake the screen. I'm basically using a shortcut to turn off my screen and I would like it to ask for password on wake.
    – Isabel Inc
    Feb 6, 2017 at 0:07
  • This does only work if a X server is running/ you have the right to access that X server. Not the ideal solution for a "general case" use/ use in system scripts. Dec 1, 2023 at 15:08

I made a file called /home/me/bin/blank and made it executable chmod +x blank with the following in it:

sleep 1; xset dpms force off

Then I set a shortcut in Gnome3 application "keyboard" (gnome-control-center keyboard) to run that script when I push CTRL+ALT+Q.

Man I love linux.

  • 1
    I liked this :) Just as a little addendum, take a look at systembash.com/… to see how you could set up a timed use of this trick and turn your monitor on/off at specified time
    – danicotra
    Jun 25, 2017 at 11:01
  • you mean turning your monitor on at a specified time with cron?
    – frankster
    Feb 2, 2018 at 17:20
  • How do u turn them back on? lol Mar 11, 2021 at 0:24
  • @JamieHutber just press a key or move the mouse to turn the screen on again. Aug 8, 2021 at 9:05
  • 2
    I created a launcher icon on my taskbar that runs the following command: bash -c "sleep 1; xset dpms force off" Aug 8, 2021 at 9:07

I use Alex Cabal script to turn my two monitors screens off and on and it works very fine for me.


# turn screens off/on
# (ɔ) alex cabal


if [ -f $screenOffLockFile ];
    rm $screenOffLockFile
    notify-send "Screen on." -i /usr/share/icons/gnome/48x48/devices/display.png
    touch $screenOffLockFile
    sleep .5
    while [ -f  $screenOffLockFile ]
        xset dpms force off
        sleep 2
    xset dpms force on
  • 1
    Generally, answers are much more helpful if they include an explanation of what the code is intended to do, and why that solves the problem without introducing others.
    – MMM
    Dec 18, 2019 at 12:40
  • 2
    @MMM By clicking on the provided link, any interested user can go to a page of the original author of the script that explains in detail how it works.
    – Tropilio
    Feb 3, 2020 at 16:51
  • 2
    Ideally answers are self contained so everything is still here if a linked site disappears. Dec 22, 2021 at 15:38
  • This does only work if a X server is running/ you have the right to access that X server. Not the ideal solution for a "general case" use/ use in system scripts. Dec 1, 2023 at 15:09

You can go to your distro's settings, and add a shortcut => putting the command - xset dpms force off, then put a hotkey(say F9). That's it, whenever you hit the hotkey, your monitor's screen will turn off

  • Welcome to Super User! Please don't post irrelevant answers to questions
    – Virtuality
    Jun 17, 2020 at 9:00
  • Is this irrelevant? If yes, how?
    – tavish
    Jun 17, 2020 at 11:41
  • You describe how to perform this action in Ubuntu. The author requests a solution to this for Linux.
    – Virtuality
    Jun 17, 2020 at 11:59
  • thank you, I have edited my answer and it should work with most Linux distro's (especially if you use use gnome-shell).
    – tavish
    Jun 19, 2020 at 8:19
  • Perfect, good to know.
    – Virtuality
    Jun 19, 2020 at 10:02

As a premise, I personally prefer hamstar/Siva Charan solution. Anyway, I know another possible way could be a script that sets screensaver to blank and then make it start:

rem #!/bin/bash

xset s blank ; sleep 1 ; xset s activate

So as just not to let unspoken things

  • ... And it seems like there's even a more complex one using python for this: howtogeek.com/61836/… (I didn't test it)
    – danicotra
    Jun 25, 2017 at 11:26
  • This does only work if a X server is running/ you have the right to access that X server. Not the ideal solution for a "general case" use/ use in system scripts. Dec 1, 2023 at 15:09
  • @GolarRamblar : Hey there. OK, despite the OP didn't explicitly mention the will to employ the solution "in system scripts", I saw you put the same comment on (all?) other answers as well, so... If there's one you're aware of, I'd be glad and hope you can suggest something suitable as a solutions for "general case" use here now
    – danicotra
    Dec 3, 2023 at 22:56
  • I am also searching for a general solution. This is why I came here. vbetool dpms off fails with Real mode call failed, and setting my brightness level to 0 still keeps it slightly on (amdgpu). I really need a solution that works from a system deamon (acpid) regardless who is logged in and a graphics session is running or not. Dec 5, 2023 at 10:48

slock locks the screen gracefully.

  • I just installed it and screen totally locked without turning LED off! and seems there isn't any way to unlock screen again :|
    – Morteza
    Nov 28, 2015 at 14:29
  • 2
    @MortezaZiaeemehr It's very minimal. Just enter your password and press Enter. Dec 17, 2015 at 1:58

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