I'm trying Gnome Shell, after moving over from Unity. In Unity, I'd press ctrl+w to close the current tab, and alt+F4 to close the current window (e.g. in gedit and Firefox).

Now, in Gnome Shell, ctrl+w is closing the current window instead, and alt+F4 does nothing. I've checked the menu of Firefox, and it says File > Close Tab is ctrl+w as expected. Selecting this item works also.

When I right click my menubar, the minimise/maximise popup menu appears. The last menu-item is "Close", with the associated keyboard shortcut of ctrl+w. Presumably this overrides the application-specific "Close tab" shortcut. I checked System Settings > Keyboard > Shortcuts and "Close Window" was set to "Disabled", so I'm not sure what's going on there...

How can I restore the expected behaviour?


1 Answer 1


Open a terminal with Ctrl-Alt-T keyboard shortcut and try executing this command to fix the problem:

 gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.keybindings close "['<Alt>F4']"

This command will set Alt-F4 as the default binding for closing the window. Then you should use the regular Ctrl-W to close tabs.

After the command, try testing it. Hope this will help

  • Brilliant! In retrospect, I must have changed that in dconf at some stage when messing around in Unity (it was set to ctrl-w). I'm always confused as to why there are multiple places to define keyboard shortcuts (e.g. system settings, dconf, ccsm). Thanks again!
    – Sparhawk
    Sep 15, 2012 at 7:07
  • @Sparhawk glad to help you. You can also use dconf-editor, but i avoided that for simplicity.
    – Anwar
    Sep 15, 2012 at 7:09

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