When I press Super and an Alphanumeric character I get a textbox whose use I was unable to figure out. The only problem with this textbox is that it prevents me from using HotKeys such as Super+W because they invoke that textbox instead of the command I assigned to them.

I am using Lubuntu 18.04.


The action of pressing a alphanumeric key while the desktop is in focus, moves the focus to an application or to a file or to a folder present on your desktop whose name starts with that alphanumeric character. If there's more than one match, you'd need to type in additional characters until the item you wish to select (or find) is highlighted. It's a sort of visual "find" possibly useful on a busy desktop with several icons of files or applications. Pressing the Super isn't necessary.

For example, if I have shortcut links to Firefox or LXTerminal, and the desktop is in focus, pressing f or l will highlight Firefox or LXTerminal, respectively.

This also works for files on your desktop.

  • Run touch a.txt ab.txt abc.txt from a terminal while in your Desktop sub-directory
  • Make sure that no application window has focus and that you can see the three files you created
  • Press a: the text box appears and file a.txt is highlighted
  • While still in the text box, press b so that the contents of the box are now ab. See that the focus changes to file ab.txt. The same thing happens if you type c. The focus will move to abc.txt
  • In other words, while the desktop is active, this feature to search the desktop is available.

Now, to address the issue of the Super key and that you can't access hot keys you set.

First, while there maybe a graphical interface to set hot keys, I directly edit ~/.config/openbox/lubuntu-rc.xml using a plain text editor (after ensuring that the original lubuntu-rc.xml is safely backed up). Edits done this way take effect in the same session only after you run openbox --reconfigure. Or you can log out and log back in. Running this command also performs a very useful parsing check on your xml file.

Second, if you have a valid hotkey shortcut assigned and functional, pressing say Super+l whether the desktop is in focus or not will open the application you specify with W-L as the "keybind" where "W" is used to refer to the Super key.

You can test this by having the LXTerminal shortcut icon on your desktop and defining the W-L keybind to open Leafpad. Pressing just l when the desktop is in focus will highlight the LXTerminal icon whereas pressing Super+l will open Leafpad whether or not the desktop or any other application has focus.

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