I have customized some of the shortcuts in System ▸ Preferences ▸ Keyboard Shortcuts.

How can I restore individual shortcuts to their default settings? I do not want to reset all of the shortcuts, just a few of my choice.

  • I need to reset the "Workspace switcher" shortcut, but cannot find where the setting is.
    – To Do
    Dec 16, 2012 at 17:36
  • @ToDo I'd recommend opening a new question about that. That keyboard shortcut isn't currently designed to be customizable, so solutions are going to be a little ugly.
    – ændrük
    Dec 16, 2012 at 22:19
  • Here it is.
    – To Do
    Dec 17, 2012 at 6:51

11 Answers 11


It looks like the way keyboard shortcuts are implemented has slightly changed for Ubuntu 13.04

The shortcut settings are saved in the following locations (may be different for 12.10):


You can find these in the dconf-editor application, then using the "Set to Default" button to reset each desired entry. dconf-editor can be installed at the command line with sudo apt-get install dconf-tools.

Otherwise, you could also try resetting any one of the locations by using the following command in the terminal:

gsettings reset-recursively <insert location>


gsettings reset-recursively org.gnome.settings-daemon.plugins.media-keys`
  • 2
    The gsettings reset-recursively org.gnome.settings-daemon.plugins.media-keys worked only for the media keys, but sadly not for the volume up/down keys. I also tried all the locations above, but neither of them worked. I am using Linux Mint. Any suggestions?
    – Luca Steeb
    Aug 1, 2015 at 12:12

They key bindings stored in the gconf database, but they aren't all in the same place unfortunately.

However, you can get a list of all the key bindings gconf keys by looking in the files located in /usr/share/gnome-control-center/keybindings/.

For example, /usr/share/gnome-control-center/keybindings/01-desktop-key.xml contains the list of keys for all the shortcuts Keyboard Shortcuts lists under Desktop.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<KeyListEntries name="Desktop">
  <KeyListEntry name="/apps/gnome_settings_daemon/keybindings/help"/>
  <KeyListEntry name="/apps/gnome_settings_daemon/keybindings/calculator"/>
  <KeyListEntry name="/apps/gnome_settings_daemon/keybindings/email"/>
  <KeyListEntry name="/apps/gnome_settings_daemon/keybindings/www"/>
  <KeyListEntry name="/apps/gnome_settings_daemon/keybindings/power"/>
  <KeyListEntry name="/apps/gnome_settings_daemon/keybindings/screensaver"/>
  <KeyListEntry name="/apps/gnome_settings_daemon/keybindings/home"/>
  <KeyListEntry name="/apps/gnome_settings_daemon/keybindings/search"/>

Once you know the key name you can restore it to its default value.

For example, let's say you want to restore the shortcut to launch the calculator,


Simply run:

gconftool -u "/apps/gnome_settings_daemon/keybindings/calculator"


  • This does not seem to work for Ubuntu 12.10.
    – ckhatton
    Jan 20, 2013 at 22:32
  • On linux mint 'gnome' can be substituted with 'cinnamon' Jan 27, 2016 at 21:55
gsettings reset-recursively  org.gnome.desktop.wm.keybindings

Building DoR's answer, this simple script, typed at the command line, will reset all shortcuts:

cd /usr/share/gnome-control-center/keybindings
for entry in $(grep KeyListEntry * |cut -d'/' -f2- |cut -d'"' -f1); do
    echo $entry
    gconftool -u "/$entry"
  • I get a bunch of errors like these Error unsetting /'': Bad key or directory name: "/'": '' is an invalid character in key/directory names -f2-
    – zengr
    Mar 8, 2013 at 1:07

You can't. But you can see what are default values if you press help and click Section 1.2 ― Keyboard Skills and then on the right you have a list of key grous:

  • Global Shortcut Keys
  • Window Shortcut Keys
  • Application Keys
  • Access Keys


  • As @danizmax suggestion see the default keys and put them back...
    – karthick87
    Dec 15, 2010 at 19:35

On Ubuntu 17.10 (in the new settings window):

enter image description here

Choose Settings > Devices > Keyboard, then Reset All...


Here is something I discovered by accident:

Open gconf-editor (press Alt+F2 and type in gconf-editor).

Find the setting you want to reset. I found several places they are located:

  1. Apps > gnome_settings_daemon > keybindings

  2. Apps > metacity > global_keybindings

  3. Apps > metacity > window_keybindings

There may be others.

Right click on the setting, and click 'Unset Key'. This will restore it to the default setting.

  • 1
    Has this actually worked for anyone? Do you need to restart for this to take effect? Just tried this and this doesn't work for me... didn't want to rate this unless you do actually need to restart first.
    – hazrpg
    May 13, 2012 at 21:10
  • 1
    I cannot find those locations in Ubuntu 12.10.
    – ckhatton
    Jan 20, 2013 at 22:30

In Ubuntu 13.04 it's looking like a lot of the shortcuts can be found at org->gnome->settings-daemon->plugins->media-keys. I was able to reset my volume buttons with it and I didn't even need to look up the default values as there's a reset button.


dconf dump + load mass export and restore

  1. Dump them all to a file:

    dconf dump / >~/.config/dconf/user.conf
  2. Open that file on a text editor and select the settings that you care about:

    editor ~/.config/dconf/user.conf

    If you use Vim, you will want this syntax highlight.

    You will soon ask yourself what is <Primary>.

  3. If you don't know the name of the setting, but know how to modify it from a GUI like unity-control-center, run:

    dconf watch /

    and then modify them. The exact setting will then appear on the terminal.

  4. When you want to restore those settings, run:

    dconf load / <~/.config/dconf/user.conf
  5. Git track the config file to never lose it. https://github.com/andsens/homeshick is my current favorite method.

Tested on Ubuntu 15.10.


This worked for me without restarting Ubuntu or Gnome Desktop. I had tried using "Shutter" for screen capture, and it changed some hotkey bindings for PrintScreen and Alt+PrintScreen. After uninstalling Shutter I needed to restore the hotkey settings that it had changed. I was able to change my hotkey bindings for those keys by running gconf-editor (from a terminal window) and then changing settings in both of these places:

  • apps->metacity->global_keybindings
  • apps->metacity->keybinding_commands

I'm running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, Gnome Desktop 2.30.2

  • 1
    In Ubuntu 12.10 those locations are not there. So between versions 10.04 and 12.10, the locations must of changed.
    – ckhatton
    Jan 20, 2013 at 22:29

Use the dconf editor then go to org.gnome.desktop.wm.keybindings. Anything that is bold has been modified and you can click on Set to Default on the lower right for those entries.

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