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I am very new to Ubuntu, and I'm having a problem that I don't know how to get it fixed. I even tried looking it up on the web for answers, but maybe I don't know the right terms to search for it.

I work with IntelliJ IDEA, an application for development. And I am very used to the keyboard shortcuts, but when I made the switching from Windows XP to Ubuntu 13.10, some shortcuts don't work anymore. For example, such as;

  • Ctrl + Alt + <(Left arrow)
  • Alt + F8

Is there any reason as to why? and are there any fix for this? Or maybe just something to guide me on my searching

Thank you all very much in advance.

share|improve this question
Are you referring to the Ubuntu shortcuts or the shortcuts within the running program. In you case, IntelliJ IDEA? – AzkerM Jan 28 '14 at 12:03
I'm referring to the Intellij IDEA shortcuts – Rodrigo Sasaki Jan 28 '14 at 12:04
You see, most of the shortcuts are pretty different between OS's but not the very common. As I can see shortcuts under keyboard (search from dash home), ALT+F8 refers to re-size window. – AzkerM Jan 28 '14 at 12:09
Is there anyway to make the application's shortcuts take precedent over the OS's ones? Or any other solution, I'd really like to get my shortcuts back – Rodrigo Sasaki Jan 28 '14 at 12:10
Ubuntu, please: user the super key for every system keyboard shortcut to differentiate them from regular user programs. – Ciro Santilli 巴拿馬文件 六四事件 法轮功 Feb 24 at 16:01
up vote 81 down vote accepted

As a bit of reading taught me that Intellij IDEA is a keyboard-centric IDE. What it means, is that a use can work with it without having to touch the mouse. Also I manage find keymap setting.

For Ubuntu

See how to change keyboard shortcuts?

Here’s a list of tweaks you need to make with default system key bindings so that they won’t interfere with IntelliJ IDEA actions (listed in brackets).

  • Disable the Shade window action, assigned to Ctrl + Alt + S (Settings dialog)
  • Change or disable the Lock Screen action, assigned to Ctrl + Alt + L (Reformat code)
  • Change or disable the Launch terminal action, assigned to Ctrl + Alt + T (Surround with)
  • Change or disable the Switch to workspace action, assigned to Ctrl + Alt + Arrow Keys (Navigation)
  • Disable the Move window action, assigned to Alt + F7 (Find usages)
  • Change or disable the Resize window action, assigned to Alt + F8 (Evaluate expression)

Hope this helps!

Note: You can always revert Ubuntu shortcuts back to its default state. Just refer to How can I restore default keyboard shortcuts?, in case if you're lost.

Source: -- Intellij IDEA Keymap

share|improve this answer
You're saying I have to disable those actions on the OS so they won't overlap with the application's? – Rodrigo Sasaki Jan 28 '14 at 12:59
Exactly! As the points explains even on the official page. Some says disable and some points explains to change or disable by assuming that the user would use. For instance, user uses lock screen frequently, considering the fact; a user may change or disable according to their need. This make no harm but just disable/modify the shortcuts. :) – AzkerM Jan 28 '14 at 13:01
That's all well and good to tell us what keys need to be freed from their use in the OS. But you didn't tell us how to do that. – Lee Meador Oct 20 '14 at 18:53
@LeeMeador - OP's question was about keyboard shortcuts relating to IntelliJ IDEA. I've constructed the answer to fit OP's need. But, thanks for pointing out. I'll add that as well. (: – AzkerM Oct 21 '14 at 4:28
To change keyboard shortcuts in Ubuntu go to Settings -> keyboard -> shortcuts. You'll have to navigate through the various windows to find where the shortcuts are set. – Dean Schulze Jan 19 '15 at 2:37

I have created this script that disables all clashing shortcuts between Ubuntu (tested with 15.10) and IntelliJ (and probably more Jetbrains products). It disables them in Ubuntu.

It also creates a backup file so that you can restore your previous settings.

To not have some shortcuts disabled, comment them out in the KEYS array.

set -euo pipefail

# Disables Ubuntu shortcuts that clash with IntelliJ Idea (and probably other
# Jetbrain products).
# Creates a backup file to restore the previous settings. To not have some
# shortcuts disabled, comment them out in the `KEYS` array.
# Tested on : Ubuntu 15.10
# Author    : Jonas Gröger <>

readonly BACKUP_FILE="undo-fix-shortcuts-$(date +%s%N).sh"
readonly KEYS=(
    # To disable resetting a value, just comment out the line
readonly DISABLED_VALUE="['disabled']"

main() {
    # Make backup
    printf "#!/bin/bash\n" >>  "$BACKUP_FILE"
    for key in "${KEYS[@]}"; do
        local value
        value=$(dconf read "$key")
        printf "dconf write \"%s\" \"%s\"\n" "$key" "$value" >> "$BACKUP_FILE"

    # Disable all Ubuntu shortcuts
    for key in "${KEYS[@]}"; do
        dconf write "$key" "$DISABLED_VALUE"

You can get it from here:

wget -O
share|improve this answer

I ran into this problem too, my solution, however, was different.

No hack or changing your systemwide keymap required

IntelliJ has different Keymaps, which you can change according to your OS.

You can change your IntelliJ Keymap from the settings.

Just go to Settings -> Keymap and select your desired keymap from the dropdown. In my case, I chose "Default for GNOME" since I am using Ubuntu Gnome 16.04.

share|improve this answer
Thanks a lot for sharing, this is a much better solution to the problem than changing your systemwide keymap. Might be problematic if you do a lot of OS/WM switching, though. – bfncs Jun 30 at 15:06
I'm glad I was able to help. I agree, changing the systemwide keymap could cause problems. – Francisco C. Jul 2 at 18:53

Just to expand a little bit on AzkerM's excellent answer:

  • Disable the Move window action, assigned to Alt + F7 (Find usages)
    • from Settings --> Keyboard --> Shortcuts --> Windows --> Move Window
  • Change or disable the Resize window action, assigned to Alt + F8 (Evaluate expression)
    • from Settings --> Keyboard --> Shortcuts --> Windows --> Resize Window
share|improve this answer

I am running Ubuntu 16.04 and what was happening is when I used these key strokes (ctrl-alt-left/right), the window was resizing and placing itself to the right or left of my screen. I tried disabling these key bindings in: Settings/Keyboard/Navigation, even though I don't have workspaces enabled. It still didn't prevent the behavior I was seeing.

Fortunately, I opened up Compiz and stumbled across the Window Management/Grid plugin that was mapping these keys to place windows in a grid position. I disabled this plugin and now my IntelliJ key shortcuts work fine with ctrl-alt-left/right.

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