How to Create Custom Keyboard Shortcuts in Ubuntu

This guide will show you how to create custom keyboard shortcuts to use in Ubuntu, without having to install any additional software.

There are a number of keyboard shortcuts available to use in Ubuntu. I like to add a few custom shortcuts for opening applications that I use regularly. Here’s how I do it –

  1. Click Show Applications and then select Settings
  2. the Ubuntu Settings button

  3. Select Keyboard Shortcuts from the list of Settings. From here you’ll find a list of keyboard shortcuts that are already in use, and some that are pre-configured but need to be assigned a specific shortcut.
  4. the Ubuntu Settings panel with an arrow pointing to Keyboard Shortcuts

  5. The application that I use the most is Firefox, the default web browser in Ubuntu. There’s a pre-built Launcher named Launch web browser – it just needs to be assigned a keyboard combination to use. Click anywhere in that line to bring up the Set Shortcut option.
  6. the list of Ubuntu Keyboard Shortcuts with an arrow pointing at the Launch web browser shortcut

  7. Because Firefox is a web browser, I used the letter w as a part of my combo (ctrl+alt+w) and will use that as my shortcut to launch Firefox.
  8. assigning a keyboard shortcut

  9. Once you’ve decided on a combo to use, click the Set button. .
  10. an arrow pointing to a Set button

  11. If you ever decide you don’t like that particular keyboard combination as your browser launcher, you can click the small x next to that entry to reset it.
  12. an arrow pointing to an X next to a line of text

  13. You can also create completely new/custom actions by clicking the large “plus sign” ( + ) button at the bottom of the Keyboard Shortcuts list.
  14. an arrow pointing to the Plus Sign button at the bottom of the list of Ubuntu Keyboard Shortcuts

  15. This one is a bit different in that you need to provide a Name and Command in addition to assigning it a keyboard combination.
  16. creating a custom keyboard combo in Ubuntu

  17. As illustrated in the screenshot below, I created a launcher for the Mines game that comes with Ubuntu. Once each of the fields has been populated, click the Add button.
  18. an arrow pointing to an Add button with the Name and Command fields populated

  19. A new section will be added to your Keyboard Shortcuts named Custom Shortcuts and that’s where you’ll find each of your newly created shortcut.

    an arrow pointing to a new field in a list

  20. Don’t worry about accidentally assigning the same shortcut to multiple actions. If you try to assign a key combination that is already in use, a warning pops up informing you which action is already assigned to that key combination and you aren’t allowed to assign it.

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2 thoughts on “How to Create Custom Keyboard Shortcuts in Ubuntu”

  1. Hey!

    Thanks, this is very nice, I have to try it asap. How can I activate a window through a shortcut? I’m looking for a way to find a certain application in the list of running apps and activate it and bring it to front and maybe send some keystrokes to it. If you’re familiar with autoit3 on windows, I’m looking for something similar on linux.

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