I know about the show desktop keybind (default Ctrl+Alt+D), which I use often enough. However, I'm looking for a way to minimize all windows without activating "show desktop".

I'm on a default install (i.e Gnome, Metacity & Compiz). I've looked through all the locations to configure keybinds, that I know. I've also looked at the default keybind list in the Ubuntu wiki and in the Compiz wiki. (Not to mention, searching here.)

I'm interested in knowing where it is available, if not in Gnome/Metacity/Compiz, or some other way to accomplish this with a keybind.

5 Answers 5


It can be found in System--->Preferences--->Keyboard shortcuts

alt text

  • 1
    Ctrl -> Super - D worked for me
    – Vlad
    Oct 29, 2017 at 14:31

This person found a way to do what you are looking for: http://www.cs.bgu.ac.il/~gwiener/linux/minimizing-all-windows-in-gnome/

  1. First install devilspie

    sudo apt-get install devilspie
  2. Then create a file called minimize.ds in your home folder. In that file put the following:


    Test it out by running: devilspie minimize.ds

  3. If it works as it should then add a shortcut: System ➜ Preferences ➜ Keyboard Shortcuts.

    Click on the Add button and fill in the fields as shown below, replacing YOURUSERNAME with your actual username.

    And finally double-click where it says Disabled and press your shortcut keys.

    alt text

  • Yes! That's exactly what I want. This way, I can use both bits of functionality and they work as I expect. Nov 17, 2010 at 19:16
  • Thank you. I'd been struggling with the same issue in Cent OS 7. Used as suggested and it worked!
    – Jitendra
    Mar 10, 2017 at 6:42

Ctrl+Alt+D? You can set it in Gnome System->Preferences

  • 1
    I know about that keybind and use it often enough. However, that is not what I want. Because of the way I use a GUI environment, I want a way to minimize all windows w/o it being a toggle. Here's my use case: I hit the key bind, then I bring up several windows, then sometime later I hit the keybind again. With a toggle, that's all sorts of wrong. The toggle is fine for quick access to the desktop, but that is not what I need. I need to minimize all windows without having to do it manually for each window. Nov 17, 2010 at 17:50
  • 3
    Actually, that's "Show Desktop" rather than "Minimize all windows". And it does toggle.
    – Mussnoon
    Nov 17, 2010 at 17:51

Try using wmctrl.

sudo apt-get install wmctrl

Then, create a new custom shortcut that executes the following command.

wmctrl -k on

This should do what you are looking for.

  • That just activates show desktop, which the OP does not want.
    – Isaiah
    Nov 17, 2010 at 18:41
  • @dor Correct. However, it sort of answers the question as I asked it originally. I.e. without a toggle. Roland's edit clarified that point just after this answer was posted. So, while it is not what I want, it is getting closer. At the very least, this provides a way to minimize the windows with one keybind that doesn't toggle. The interaction between this and the show desktop toggle is odd, but barring another solution it may have to do. Nov 17, 2010 at 18:59
  • I don't see the difference between this and what DoR proposes regarding your use case in Pawel's solution, but I'm glad you found what you were looking for. Cheers.
    – Ramón
    Nov 17, 2010 at 20:52
  • Basically, using show desktop minimizes windows and remembers which windows were minimized. Those windows are restored on the next use of show desktop. (I.e. it works like a toggle) That's not the same notion as simply minimizing all windows. This way, the two keybinds don't seem to interact. That is, I can minimize all, then press show desktop and nothing happens. Using wmctrl would restore those windows if I then pressed show desktop. Regardless, I do appreciate the effort and you did teach me something useful. So, +1 for that. Nov 17, 2010 at 21:47
  • Aha, I see the difference now. Thanks for explanation.
    – Ramón
    Nov 18, 2010 at 5:48

This is built into Ubuntu Settings.

Go to: Settings > System Settings > Shortcuts and Gestures > Global Keyboard Shortcuts > Select 'KWin' in KDE Component pull-down menu > Then scroll down to 'Show Desktop' > Assign a custom hotkey. Presto!

  • 2
    If you read the original question and most of the answers, they relate, not to KDE, but to GNOME.
    – user25656
    Jan 15, 2013 at 18:22

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