Unity Power Shortcuts

Often, power users want to avoid using the mouse. They don’t want to take their hands off of the keyboard unless absolutely necessary because doing so slows them down. Here are some of the more useful keyboard shortcuts that readers of this book are likely to appreciate, many of which can be configured or adjusted by installing a package from the Ubuntu repositories called the Compiz Config Settings Manager:

  • Use the Special key (that is, the Windows key) to open the Dash. Click Esc to close the Dash without selecting anything in it.
  • Use the middle mouse button to click on an icon in the Launcher to open more than one instance of the same program. On a laptop, you can do this by clicking both right and left buttons simultaneously.
  • Holding Alt+Tab brings up a menu of icons showing open programs so that you may switch between them quickly. Hold Alt and press Tab repeatedly to move from one program to the next until you reach the one you desire. Shift+Alt+Tab scrolls through them in reverse order. This and the next shortcut work together as a power-ful combination when the application you want has multiple windows or instances.
  • Switching from Alt+Tab to Alt+` (on an English keyboard; for other keyboards, read on) modifies the Alt+Tab menu so that it shows miniature images of open program windows when there are multiple instances of the same program. Hold Alt and press ` repeatedly to scroll through and select a specific instance. If you begin this while the desktop focus is on an instance of a program that has multiple instances open, you automatically begin with this set of open instances to select from among them. (On an English keyboard, ` is the key just above the Tab key. For other language keyboards, it is the whatever key in this same location, regardless of the character represented on the key itself.)
  • Icons in the Launcher indicate when multiple instances of a program are open or when a program has multiple windows. Click twice on an icon in the Launcher that shows multiple arrows next to it, and all of its windows will be displayed for you to select the one you desire.
  • Click PrtSc (Print Screen) to take a screenshot of the current workspace.
  • Use Special + T to open the trash can.
  • Click Ctrl+Alt+arrow-key to move up, down, right, and left from workspace to work-space.