I need to disable the Ctrl-Alt-L key combination to use it for IntelliJ (an IDE). I have managed to do it on my desktop computer which currently runs 17.10, but I cannot figure out how to do it on 16.04 which my XPS 13 Developer Edition runs.

I have found Settings -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts, and disabled the System -> Lock Screen entry. Still locks.

I tried reassigning to Show/Hide onscreen keyboard. Toggles on screen keyboard and still locks.

I tried re-reassigning to System -> Lock Screen. Still locks (that was expected though) but now the login dialogue is very simple. A white rectangle with a password field at the top.

I tried re-disabling it. Same login dialogue as before.

As the screen does not lock when entering the key in the Shortcuts field, it seems that this is essentially working as designed, but there is a problem with telling the locking process that it should not do anything.

How should I approach this?

  • 1
    I don't have Unity to try it out myself, but it may be an option that can be modified in the unity-tweak-tool application. If you don't have it installed, you can install it with sudo apt install unity-tweak-tool.
    – Dan
    Feb 12, 2018 at 13:09
  • @Dan Thanks for your suggestion. I could remove the locking, so it just goes blank, but not completely. It sounds like you are on to something, though. Feb 12, 2018 at 14:25
  • @ThorbjørnRavnAndersen have you tried disabling the screensaver here
    – ukos
    Feb 19, 2018 at 14:44
  • @ukos Thank you for your suggestion. It appears the linked page is for 11.04 and not my 16.04, and the functionality has changed in the five years that have passed. Feb 19, 2018 at 15:34
  • I would recommend, switching to gnome anyway since next LTS will be on gnome and you would search for a new solution then.
    – ukos
    Feb 19, 2018 at 15:36

2 Answers 2


Disable nothing and use meta key (aka Super or Windows key)

Hold down Ctrl+Alt+Meta+L and Ubuntu will ignore this for Lock Screen but your application will interpret it as Ctrl+Alt+L.

Disable Ctrl+Alt+T in Ubuntu shortcuts

Go to System Settings -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts -> System -> Lock Screen and hold down Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Z

ctrl+alt+L override.png

This will hopefully allow you to reassign the original key combination in another application.

To disable lock screen permanently


gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.lockdown disable-lock-screen 'true'

Source: https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2359828

On my dual monitor system the lock screen no longer appears when pressing Ctrl+Alt+L. However the screens saver still kicks in and you have to move mouse, touch a key, etc to turn the monitors back on. Although a password is not required to unlock the screen it might be a bug.

  • Thank you. Does this mean that Ctrl-Alt-L is now reported to normal programs? Feb 19, 2018 at 19:24
  • @ThorbjørnRavnAndersen You're welcome. If not assign the keyboard shortcut for Lock Screen to something like Ctrl-Alt-Shift-Z that is never used. Feb 19, 2018 at 19:29
  • I tried doing that just now. Does not help - the monitors still blacken out (my guess is that the screen saver still kicks in). Feb 20, 2018 at 10:37
  • @ThorbjørnRavnAndersen Haven't figured out the screen saver problem yet but have added two other options to the answer. Feb 20, 2018 at 23:58
  • @ThorbjørnRavnAndersen This explains the screen saver issue: askubuntu.com/questions/172447/… Jun 20, 2018 at 22:38

This worked for me: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/24908490/ubuntu-do-not-lock-the-screen-when-pressing-superl

Basically: Unity also has a shortcut that overrides the one in the keyboard configuration, and you can edit it using CompizConfig (you can install it via Ubuntu Software, search for CompizConfig Settings Manager). Remapping wasn't working in all cases for me, but completely disabling the shortcut (uncheck "Enabled") did the trick. Ctrl+Alt+L now works well in IntelliJ Idea.

  • Thank you. That did it! I suspected something like this, but did not know where to look. Feb 21, 2018 at 10:00

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