I've been using unity for a while, and just switched to gnome. (Gnome 3.2 on Ubuntu 11.10)

I've liked it a lot, but it's missing one key feature (in my mind). In Unity you can use the super button with a number key to open an app on the launcher. For example: Chromium is my second app on the unity launcher, so I can press super-2 to launch it.

Is there any way to do this in Gnome? Thanks in advance.

  • In addition, I am looking for a link to the part of the Unity source code that provides this. We should make a Gnome extension that provides this functionality and port the Unity code over to Gnome 3. It is a great UX improvement. Mar 5, 2019 at 16:30

1 Answer 1


I want the same thing, and... there's an alternative to that and works pretty well, explained by Mark in his answer here, using xbindkeys & wmctrl.

Just install them both packages:

sudo apt-get install xbindkeys
sudo apt-get install wmctrl

Then create .xbindkeysrc in your home directory and put your desired programs like this:

"wmctrl -xa Nautilus || nautilus"
    Alt + 1

"wmctrl -xa Chrome || google-chrome"
    Alt + 2

"wmctrl -xa SublimeText2 || sublime-text-2"
    Alt + 3

"wmctrl -xa Filezilla || filezilla"
    Alt + 4

"wmctrl -xa Firefox || firefox"
    Alt + 5

Then log off your account and login back again.

Using ALT+# open an instance of the defined program on .xbindkeysrc, or if that app it's already running then the shortcut will focus on that app. Sadly you have to manually put what programs you need on your .xbindkeysrc file, but it works superb ;)

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