On Ubuntu 16.04 LTS I have used simple keyboard shortcut to set property Always on Top (Nautilus window as example):

  1. Alt+Space,

    Alt+Space to show window menu

  2. t

  3. After next Alt+Space or right mouse click I see that window was set to Always on Top.

    window is set to Always on Top

In standard Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with GNOME Shell I can press Alt+Space:

window menu on Alt+Space

but it does not react to t.

Seems to be a real bug 1710421 since 17.10.

How to enable such menu accelerators/mnemonics in standard Ubuntu 18.04 LTS?

  • 2
    4 yr. old gnome-shell bug, not going to be fix, you're wasting your time. Use any other shell and it works fine..
    – doug
    Aug 20, 2018 at 21:24
  • I'm using window manager right now so I can't really test it. But the second answer in this post, the one using wmctrl, I think it's worth a try. Not a direct answer to your question but you can use your keyboard at least.
    – aasril
    Aug 24, 2018 at 6:14
  • 3
    One of the few questions where the question has more upvotes than the answer! :D :D :D Good question!
    – Fabby
    Sep 10, 2018 at 10:39
  • 2
    why would they remove something that users are so accustomed to?
    – asgs
    Oct 13, 2018 at 16:20
  • 1
    @N0rbert I'm a fan of XFCE and I've always liked it and used it. It's only the Ubuntu 16 to 18 upgrade that changed this behavior. is XFCE also using Gnome shell under the hood?
    – asgs
    Oct 13, 2018 at 16:26

6 Answers 6


On GNOME Shell it is impossible! Welcome to the new brave world with unpredictable limits and problems!

To get these shortcuts on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and 20.04 LTS in place you can switch to:

  • Unity - installable with sudo apt-get install ubuntu-unity-desktop:

    Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with Unity desktop

  • GNOME FlashBack - installable with sudo apt-get install gnome-panel:

    GNOME FlashBack on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

  • MATE Desktop Environment (my favorite, as it avoids GNOMEs Hell) - installable with sudo apt-get install ubuntu-mate-desktop^:

    Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with MATE DE

  • XFCE (xubuntu-desktop^) does not have mnemonic for Always on Top, but usable and looks very nice:

    xUbuntu 18.04 LTS

  • Cinnamon (cinnamon-desktop-environment) have all necessary mnemonics:

    Cinnamon on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

  • KDE (kubuntu-desktop^) have mnemonics, they may be accessed from Alt+F3 (so called Window Operations Menu) - for example to keep window above others you need to click Alt+F3, M (for More Actions), A (for Keep Above Others) and menu is rich:

    Kubuntu 18.04 LTS

  • Openbox (openbox), LXDE / LXQT / Lubuntu (lubuntu-desktop^, lxqt) have mnemonics, they are accessed with Alt+Space:

    OpenBox, LXDE/Lubuntu/LXQT on 18.04 LTS

  • Budgie (ubuntu-budgie-desktop^) have mnemonics, they are accessed with Alt+Space:

    Ubuntu Budgie

  • 2
    Per inputs from N0rber, I managed to remove Gnome shell and switched to Xubuntu. I get Xfce's simplicity along with the Keyboard Mnemonics. It's a win-win! Thank you very much!
    – asgs
    Oct 13, 2018 at 19:31
  • 2
    You could add LXDE/Openbox :)
    – DK Bose
    Oct 17, 2018 at 17:22
  • 1
    @DKBose added LXDE/Openbox, thanks for suggestion :)
    – N0rbert
    Oct 17, 2018 at 18:39
  • what does the ^ do at the end of the package name? Aug 17, 2020 at 13:51
  • @törzsmókus ^ means task as in tasksel. Used to correctly and fully install the desktop meta-packages.
    – N0rbert
    Aug 17, 2020 at 15:14

Unfortunately, there is no mnemonic support anymore for the Alt+Space window menu. There appears to be no intentions to bring it back. The current bug report is two years old. The original issue was filed back in 2014.

Still, keyboard shortcuts are available for the most common actions. These are quicker as they do not require you to see the menu and reduce the effort to a single keystroke.

  • Minimize: Super+h.
  • Maximize: Super+.
  • Restore: Super+. Alt+F10 toggles between maximize and restore.
  • Move: Alt+F7.
  • Resize: Alt+F8.
  • Close window: Alt+F4.

These key assignments can be changed in Settings - Keyboard.

For Always on top, no keyboard combination is defined by default, nor exposed through Settings - Keyboard. You still can define a key combination using dconf-editor, or a gsettings command. For example, to set Super+t for toggling a window on top, issue the command

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.keybindings always-on-top "['<Super>t']"

Undo with the command

gsettings reset org.gnome.desktop.wm.keybindings always-on-top
  • I temporarily resorted to assigning <kbd>ctrl</kbd>+<kbd>alt</kbd>+<kbd>up</kbd>
    – asgs
    Oct 13, 2018 at 16:21
  • This one worked perfectly for me. I had to wrap with quotes for this to work."['<Super>t']"
    – Dan Jay
    Dec 3, 2019 at 16:24
  • @shan Indeed, quotes are needed. Thanks for remarking this: I will correct asap.
    – vanadium
    Dec 3, 2019 at 16:54
  • For resize, also Super+down seems to works. Jan 28, 2021 at 6:13
  • @CyriacAntony thank you, I added it. I also added the "legacy" Alt+F10 (was already defined like this in Windows, I guess) to toggle between maximized and normal.
    – vanadium
    Jan 28, 2021 at 9:28

The KISS (Keep It Simply Stupid) answer to that is to do a simple:

Alt+space and then Enter

not as good as Alt+space and then i, but still better than:

  • lifting your hand from the keyboard,
  • looking for the mouse,
  • pointing,
  • clicking
  • moving your hand back to the keyboard...


  • 1
    As of today, I can open the window menu with Alt+Space and move up and down the menu with the arrow keys. But I cannot use Enter to actually select any of the menu options.
    – eksortso
    Sep 14, 2018 at 16:19
  • 6
    It's a shrug @eksortso : it means "It's not a perfect solution, just a workaround"
    – Fabby
    Sep 14, 2018 at 21:10
  • 1
    Whenever I've seen that thing, the context suggested it meant "I don't know and I don't care." A harsh sentiment for a Q&A site, though I now suppose that wasn't your intention. And when I read that along with KISS, which once meant "Keep It Simple, Stupid" as an ironic maxim to developers, I interpreted your comment as frustration with the user, and reacted with hostility. Although I did try to remain civil, I'm not sure if actually I went too far.
    – eksortso
    Sep 16, 2018 at 3:11
  • 3
    Kiss shouldn't be thought of as an "ironic maxim to developers" it should be thought of as words to live by under most, to all circumstances.
    – tatsu
    Jun 17, 2019 at 13:31
  • 1
    This is a pretty bad solution. Let's hope there were a real mnemonics support. Oct 19, 2019 at 3:16

Actually, there are several shortcuts to do so.
I don't know what they are in earlier ubuntu.
They are my windows behaviours.
Windows / action / ubuntu
Alt+Space & n minimize Super+h
Alt+Space & x maximize Super+
Alt+Space & r unmaximizeSuper+
Alt+Space & c close Alt+F4
Alt+Space & m move Alt+F7
Alt+Space & s resize Alt+F8
There are more in

setting  >  device  >  keyboard

You can define or redefine all these shortcuts there.
But I thought pressing three keys......It's your choice.


The GNOME Shell extension Menu Keyboard Shortcut by Edward Jiang fixes my most used maximize/minimze mnemonic.

  • I'm back on ubuntu/unity but if ever have to deal with gnome again will use this. Oct 19, 2019 at 3:16

There is key two key combination exist in gnome to maximize, minimize and move (right or left).

Hold the Windows Key and play with Up/Down/Right and Left arrow keys


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .