Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. It's 100% free.

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

I'm trying to find the file where gnome stores the configuration for keybindings, such as Volume Up, Volume Down, in order to get their actions.

I know I can find SOME shortcuts in $HOME/.gconf/apps/metacity/global_keybindings/%gconf.xml and $HOME/.gconf/apps/metacity/window_keybindings/%gconf.xml, but where are the multimedia keybindings?

share|improve this question

migrated from Aug 30 '11 at 9:33

This question came from our site for computer enthusiasts and power users.

The multimedia keybindings are stored in $HOME/.gconf/apps/gnome_settings_daemon/keybindings/%gconf.xml. But note that this directory only exists if you changed any of the values -- keys with their default value (e.g. play = XF86Audioplay) are not stored. Default values for the multimedia keys are stored in a so called schema file (for details see the gconf documentation):


That said: If all you want to do is get the actions associated with a certain keybinding, you should never have to use the files directly. Instead, query the gconf database with a command like this:

gconftool-2 --get /apps/gnome_settings_daemon/keybindings/play

To get the default value (and other details about the key), you have to query the schema:

gconftool-2 --get /schemas/apps/gnome_settings_daemon/keybindings/play
share|improve this answer
... or, if you just want to explore, use the GUI: gconf-editor, aka "Configuration Editor" – MestreLion Aug 30 '11 at 16:12
I need to find out which is the default action of the 'Volume up/down' from System Settings->Keyboard->Shortcuts->Multimedia.. – ksemeks Aug 30 '11 at 19:36
Well, doesn't the answer provide what you need? gconftool-2 --get /apps/gnome_settings_daemon/keybindings/volume_down will show the action for "Volume Up" (XF86AudioLowerVolume), same for "Volume Down". – Marcel Stimberg Aug 30 '11 at 20:55
No, the answer doesn't give me what I want. It gives me my keybinding, not the default one. – ksemeks Aug 31 '11 at 1:49
@ksemeks: It would have helped if you asked for that in your question... Either way, my answer already mentioned that the default values are stored in the schema file /usr/share/gconf/schemas/apps_gnome_settings_daemon_keybindings.schemas -- I updated my answer with the gconftool command to query the schema. – Marcel Stimberg Aug 31 '11 at 8:29

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.