Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

There are lots of posts on this about Unity, this is about gnome-shell

As with other posters, I use apps (Inkscape in particular) that uses Alt-Click and Alt-drag. Gnome-shell is grabbing this off me and thus disabling features in the application.

I have tried

  • using ccsm's Move plugin - you can turn this off and you still get Alt-drag window moving.

  • using gconf editor to change /apps/metacity/general/mouse_button_modifier - this has no effect AFAICS.

It's really hindering me. Otherwise I find gnome-shell a really productive environment.

share|improve this question
up vote 61 down vote accepted

First of all, install dconf-tools Install dconf-tools.

To do that, run the following command:

sudo apt-get install dconf-tools

Then open it, Alt+F2dconf-editor.

Scroll down to orggnomedesktopwmpreferencesmouse-button-modifier → Set it to whichever key you like.

enter image description here

Or, equivalently,

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.preferences mouse-button-modifier "<Super>"

in the terminal. (This requires neither dconf-editor, nor dconf-tools Install dconf-tools)

share|improve this answer
Warning! Setting it to nothing means that all clicks move windows, instead of disabling it! – Andrea Oct 28 '13 at 21:15
This setting seems to reset for me each time I restart. Anyone know why? I suppose I could just add the command line to my Startup applications however. – Michael Butler Dec 3 '13 at 5:07
I tried the dconf-editor method, but nothing seems to have happened. <ALT> is still my modifier key. I have tried "['<Control><Alt>']" (following the syntax of the keybindings options) and "<Control><Alt>". Do I need to restart in order for this to take effect? – Gordon Bean Aug 11 '14 at 17:04
I first tried it with the gsettings command, and it seems to have changed it successfully, but Alt+Drag would still move the window. Even after a restart. I then installed dconf-tools and confirmed with the dconf-editor that mouse-button-modifier indeed was changed, but as I said, Alt+Drag still moves windows. (I'm on Mint Cinnamon 17.2 64bit) – Bloke Sep 3 '15 at 11:15
"<Alt>+<Super>" value pretty works for me – vp_arth Feb 26 at 10:24

For linux mint do the following:-

  1. Go to system settings -> windows.
  2. Click on Behavior tab
  3. Under Moving and Resizing Windows section change the value for Special key to move and resize windows to whatever suits you. (Tested on mint 17.2)
share|improve this answer

To resolve the Alt+Click move window dragging problem:

sudo gconftool-2 --set /org/gnome/desktop/wm/preferences/mouse-button-modifier --type string '<Super>'

Does the same thing, really, just with a different config tool, and less hunt-and-click.

share|improve this answer
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.preferences mouse-button-modifier "<Super>" for dconf. – ulidtko Jun 24 '13 at 21:51

I set "Alt + Super" like a temporary solution. So I can use Alt button in Inkscape and Super for activities.

share|improve this answer
what do you mean by "activities"? I have changed Alt to Super and it works fine for me. I did not notice any side effects. Why would you need Alt + Super? – faizal Oct 20 '14 at 8:25
2 If you set "Super" for moving windows you can't use it for show "Activities Overview". Look at posting time, it was two years ago. – KEIII Oct 20 '14 at 11:58
Two years is nothing. – Johan Boule May 8 '15 at 19:25

In UBUNTU 14.04 LTS use in dconf syntax like


Works well for me.

BTW: If you set something wrong, it starts to move window on every click. Use to navigate to "Set to Default" button. And hit .

enter image description here

share|improve this answer

Go to System Settings Select Keyboard On the bottom left click on 'Layout Settings' Select you language and click the 'Options' button on the lower right Select 'Alt/Win key behavior' Change it to the one you like. I use 'Left Alt is swapped with Left Win'

share|improve this answer

For Fluxbox 1.3.5 (circa 2013), you do this:

Modify your ~/.fluxbox/keys file. Here is the line:

# alt + left/right click to move/resize a window
OnWindow Mod1 Mouse1 :MacroCmd {Raise} {Focus} {StartMoving}

Simply comment out that line or change it.

share|improve this answer

I'm on Linux Mint:

$ cat /etc/issue Linux Mint 17.2 Rafaela \n \l

None of the above solutions work.

You need to go to Menu > System Settings (gears on left) > Windows > Behaviour > "Special key to move and resize windows". You can change this to whatever you like with the drop down.

However(!) the problem I was actually trying to solve was how to enable alt+click (rectangular selection) in R Studio and Sublime Text 3. You will find that after making the above adjustment alt+click still doesn't work!!!

Solution for rectangular select

  • R Studio: super + alt + click (super was the 'windows' key for me)
  • Sublime text: shift + right click


share|improve this answer
"Special" option works for Cinnamon 2.8.6 on Ubuntu 16.04 – Apelsin Jul 18 at 0:05

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.