There are lots of posts on this about Unity, this is about GNOME shell.

As with other posters, I use apps (Inkscape in particular) that uses Alt-Click and Alt-drag. GNOME shell is grabbing this off me and thus disabling features in the application.

I have tried

  • using ccsm's Move plugin - you can turn this off and you still get Alt-drag window moving.

  • using gconf editor to change /apps/metacity/general/mouse_button_modifier - this has no effect AFAICS.

It's really hindering me. Otherwise I find GNOME shell a really productive environment.


First of all, install dconf-tools Install dconf-tools.

To do that, run the following command:

sudo apt-get install dconf-tools

Then open it, Alt+F2dconf-editor.

Scroll down to orggnomedesktopwmpreferencesmouse-button-modifier → Set it to whichever key you like.

enter image description here

Or, equivalently,

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.preferences mouse-button-modifier "<Super>"

in the terminal. (This requires neither dconf-editor, nor dconf-tools Install dconf-tools)

Warning: Setting it to nothing means that all clicks move windows, instead of disabling it!

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    Warning! Setting it to nothing means that all clicks move windows, instead of disabling it! – Andrea Oct 28 '13 at 21:15
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    I tried the dconf-editor method, but nothing seems to have happened. <ALT> is still my modifier key. I have tried "['<Control><Alt>']" (following the syntax of the keybindings options) and "<Control><Alt>". Do I need to restart in order for this to take effect? – Gordon Bean Aug 11 '14 at 17:04
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    I first tried it with the gsettings command, and it seems to have changed it successfully, but Alt+Drag would still move the window. Even after a restart. I then installed dconf-tools and confirmed with the dconf-editor that mouse-button-modifier indeed was changed, but as I said, Alt+Drag still moves windows. (I'm on Mint Cinnamon 17.2 64bit) – Bloke Sep 3 '15 at 11:15
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    "<Alt>+<Super>" value pretty works for me – vp_arth Feb 26 '16 at 10:24
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    In Cinnamon you can just change it in the settings Windows > Behaviour > Special key to move and resize windows. – Rotareti Oct 6 '17 at 7:51

Use the Tweak Tool (gnome-tweak-tool):

Windows > Window Action Key

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  • Thank you! This worked for me when everything using dconf-editor or the command line or compiz failed. Now I can use alt for other shortcuts and restore functionality to several programs. – Silvestris Apr 1 '18 at 15:21

In Mint(or Cinnamon) the key can be changed or disabled under

system settings > windows > behavior > 'Special key to move and resize window'

I have it set to the super/windows key instead.

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    Thanks! The same goes for Cinnamon installed on other systems like Debian (my use case). – Per Lundberg Dec 7 '18 at 13:52
  • This works for Mate 18.04 through Control Centre > Look and Feel > Windows > Behaviour > Movement Key – Underverse Apr 11 '19 at 23:00

To resolve the Alt+Click move window dragging problem:

sudo gconftool-2 --set /org/gnome/desktop/wm/preferences/mouse-button-modifier --type string '<Super>'

Does the same thing, really, just with a different config tool, and less hunt-and-click.

For newer versions using dconf/gsettings, use this:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.preferences mouse-button-modifier "<Super>"
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    gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.preferences mouse-button-modifier "<Super>" for dconf. – ulidtko Jun 24 '13 at 21:51

I set Alt+Super like a temporary solution. So I can use the Alt key in Inkscape and Super for activities.

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  • what do you mean by "activities"? I have changed Alt to Super and it works fine for me. I did not notice any side effects. Why would you need Alt + Super? – faizal Oct 20 '14 at 8:25
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    wiki.gnome.org/Projects/GnomeShell/Tour#Activities_Overview If you set "Super" for moving windows you can't use it for show "Activities Overview". Look at posting time, it was two years ago. – KEIII Oct 20 '14 at 11:58
  • Two years is nothing. – Johan Boulé May 8 '15 at 19:25

In UBUNTU 14.04 LTS use in dconf syntax like


Works well for me.

BTW: If you set something wrong, it starts to move window on every click. Use to navigate to "Set to Default" button. And hit .

enter image description here

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  1. Go to System Settings
  2. Select Keyboard
  3. On the bottom left click on ‘Layout Settings’
  4. Select your language and click the ‘Options’ button on the lower right
  5. Select ‘Alt/Win key behavior’
  6. Change it to the one you like. I use ‘Left Alt is swapped with Left Win’.
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