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Currently, I am using the Unity Qt panel in my Gnome desktop, and when I press the Windows key, the Unity's dash launches, and I can't use any compiz based shortcuts.

Same behaviour is exhibited when I log in to Unity 2D as well, as the Windows key launches the dash.

I have no desire to change my Compiz shortcuts, so is there any way to change the keyboard mapping of Unity 2D's dash to something other or disable this shortcut completely?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

You can disable the super key using the command:

gconftool --set /desktop/unity/launcher/super_key_enable --type=bool 0

(Since GNOME 3 settings are in dconf instead of gconf, and unity became a plugin. The method thus became: dconf write /org/compiz/profiles/unity/plugins/unityshell/show-launcher '""')

Then you can define a keyboard shortcut with your preferred method to launch the following command:

dbus-send --type=method_call --dest=com.canonical.Unity2d /Dash com.canonical.Unity2d.Dash.activateHome

This will trigger Unity Home Dash

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I mapped it to <caps_locks> – the brx in the walls Feb 17 '11 at 14:46
That launch command didn't work for me, I had to use --dest=com.canonical.Unity2d.Dash when using the daily build for Unity 2D. – Adam Lindberg Nov 24 '11 at 13:21
I guess this method doesn't work anymore in 12.04? – akaihola May 11 '12 at 9:14
Unity 2d is not available anymore. How to open a specific lens using dbus in unity 3d? – Khurshid Alam Nov 18 '13 at 14:03
Ubuntu 14.04 does not work. – pasha.zhukov May 13 at 7:03

I just installed Ubuntu 11.04 and I was able to use gconf-editor to change the shortcut key.

Make sure you're not running gnome-do! (If it's set to use your key combo, the Dash won't be able to bind to those keys.)

Open a terminal and run gconf-editor

Navigate to this key:


Modify the show_launcher key to a single key value.

The key in gconf-editor

I set the value to <Super>space and now Super+space opens the dash instead of Super. Note that if you use a key combo, it seems to take a minute before you can use that to invoke the Dash. You also need to complete the key combo quickly.

If you want a more user-friendly interface, you can use the command line:

gconftool --set /apps/compiz-1/plugins/unityshell/screen0/options/show_launcher --type=string "<Super>space"

Or use compizconfig-settings-manager Install compizconfig-settings-manager: In the Desktop section, select Ubuntu Unity Plugin. Set Key to show the launcher to be your desired keys. Again, it takes a minute before you can invoke the Dash.

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Oh man you just saved me from suicide :) Thanks. – offby1 Apr 21 '12 at 22:46
Great! Just tried the gconftool command in Ubuntu 12.04.1. Works like a charm! – joelpet Sep 25 '12 at 8:14
I just realized that Super+Tab already activates the launcher in a nice way. Thus, I simply reset the show_launcher value to "". – joelpet Sep 25 '12 at 21:58

It is not planned for now to make it configurable though it is planned to deactivate that shortcut by default, see bug #705076

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Run (Alt+F2 or Synapse) gconf-editor. Navigate to Desktop>Unity>Launcher. Uncheck the box for super_key_enable.

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You should improve your answer by adding more details or screenshots to help take this from "an answer" to an "awesome answer" – Marco Ceppi Feb 6 '11 at 21:48

For Unity-2D in Ubuntu 12.04, the following command worked for me:

dconf write /com/canonical/unity-2d/launcher/super-key-enable false    


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