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Can I turn off my laptop monitor manually and instantly with just a click or a simple terminal command? I just want to turn off my monitor not locking my machine. There is no dedicated turn off monitor button on my machine.

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up vote 29 down vote accepted

You can by using the preferences command for X server (

  • To turn off the monitor $ xset dpms force off
  • To turn on the monitor $ xset dpms force on

Pressing a key or moving the mouse will also switch the monitor on if it has been turned off. You can assign the command to a key if you like using shortcuts.

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It works, thanks.. I'm just wondering, can I make it to slowly fade off just like when my computer about to sleep? – Nur Feb 12 '13 at 17:25
It would be nice @DavidAshford – Nur Feb 13 '13 at 3:29
Is there a way to use this commant with locking my screen? When I lock my screen my monitors don't turn off, just go black. I want to save power by turning them off while also locking my session. Any ideas? – Felipe Sep 18 '13 at 19:15
+1; Just a note that this solution isn't unity specific and you can happily use it on any DE. – mreq Oct 29 '13 at 13:07
xset dpms force standby seems to be more reliable and doesn't need the sleep 1 ; xset dpms force off trick. – Alan Thompson Sep 17 '15 at 3:59

To add on to the other answer, I found that when I entered xset dpms force off and pressed the Enter key, my screen would turn off and turn on again. By running the command below, I was able to get the screen to turn off without turning on.

sleep 3; xset dpms force off
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Thanks. That's a neat workaround. – ananth.p Jul 18 '14 at 15:42
Much better ! The plain way is not reliable (on Kubuntu). – Alan Thompson Sep 17 '15 at 3:54

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