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

The application preferences in the menu options do not show a shortcut for fast access.

I'd like to have a unified shortcut to access the applications preferences in any application. How can I get a shortcut for the application preferences of the active application?

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

That's not really possible since it would require all applications to follow the same guidelines for using shortcuts. And obviously they do not.

Most programs will get you to preferences with alt + e but the next letter is different in various programs. Some examples ...

  • You get to preferences for Nautilus and Firefox with alt + e, n (prefereNces). P is for Paste but the letter seems to be different since f looks available)
  • If you want to reach preferences on Chrome it is alt + e, s (for Settings) and then shows you the inline settings from the icon in Chrome. The P accesses Paste (Preferences does not have a letter and you might even consider this a bug: the text should have been named Settings).
  • Shutter on the other hand has alt + e, p (Preferences).
  • Terminal is even more weird: it uses alt + e, o for prOfile preferences.
  • Preferences in USC is called Software sources.

You might be able to track down all the text segments in the software but that would be time consuming and temporary: the 1st time you update you might overwrite all your changes. The path you can take to get what you want could be to file bugs against alle applications that do not use for instance the method Nautilus and Firefox use. Seems impossible to me to get done.

share|improve this answer
Thanks! You understood my question correctly :) I've tried your shortcut for Firefox, but this seems to work only partially. I.E. When I hold ALT, I first need to need to select the parent menu where "preferences" is located. A direct access to the application preferences then requires ALT+B+E. – user24668 May 7 '12 at 6:59
Press alt, hold it and press e. That opens Edit. The n opens preferences for FF. Ofcourse I tried it first before I typed it ;-) (alt+b goes to bookmarks) – Rinzwind May 7 '12 at 7:02
Would HUD help? – user25656 May 7 '12 at 8:10
I think the HUD actually has some potential to solve this problem. I drafted this Ubuntu brainstorm idea to create a spec for future apps and hack the old ones through the HUD interface (DBUS, I guess?). – metakermit Apr 30 '13 at 11:14

Your Answer


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