Currently, I am using the Unity Qt panel in my Gnome desktop, and when I press the Windows key, the Unity's dash launches, and I can't use any compiz based shortcuts.

Same behaviour is exhibited when I log in to Unity 2D as well, as the Windows key launches the dash.

I have no desire to change my Compiz shortcuts, so is there any way to change the keyboard mapping of Unity 2D's dash to something other or disable this shortcut completely?


You can disable the super key using the command:

gconftool --set /desktop/unity/launcher/super_key_enable --type=bool 0

(Since GNOME 3 settings are in dconf instead of gconf, and unity became a plugin. The method thus became: dconf write /org/compiz/profiles/unity/plugins/unityshell/show-launcher '""')

Then you can define a keyboard shortcut with your preferred method to launch the following command:

dbus-send --type=method_call --dest=com.canonical.Unity2d /Dash com.canonical.Unity2d.Dash.activateHome

This will trigger Unity Home Dash

  • 4
    I mapped it to <caps_locks> Feb 17 '11 at 14:46
  • 1
    That launch command didn't work for me, I had to use --dest=com.canonical.Unity2d.Dash when using the daily build for Unity 2D. Nov 24 '11 at 13:21
  • I guess this method doesn't work anymore in 12.04?
    – akaihola
    May 11 '12 at 9:14
  • Unity 2d is not available anymore. How to open a specific lens using dbus in unity 3d? Nov 18 '13 at 14:03
  • Ubuntu 14.04 does not work. May 13 '16 at 7:03

I just installed Ubuntu 11.04 and I was able to use gconf-editor to change the shortcut key.

Make sure you're not running gnome-do! (If it's set to use your key combo, the Dash won't be able to bind to those keys.)

Open a terminal and run gconf-editor

Navigate to this key:


Modify the show_launcher key to a single key value.

The key in gconf-editor

I set the value to <Super>space and now Super+space opens the dash instead of Super. Note that if you use a key combo, it seems to take a minute before you can use that to invoke the Dash. You also need to complete the key combo quickly.

If you want a more user-friendly interface, you can use the command line:

gconftool --set /apps/compiz-1/plugins/unityshell/screen0/options/show_launcher --type=string "<Super>space"

Or use compizconfig-settings-manager

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

In the Desktop section, select Ubuntu Unity Plugin. Set Key to show the launcher to be your desired keys. Again, it takes a minute before you can invoke the Dash.

  • 2
    Oh man you just saved me from suicide :) Thanks.
    – offby1
    Apr 21 '12 at 22:46
  • Great! Just tried the gconftool command in Ubuntu 12.04.1. Works like a charm!
    – joelpet
    Sep 25 '12 at 8:14
  • I just realized that Super+Tab already activates the launcher in a nice way. Thus, I simply reset the show_launcher value to "".
    – joelpet
    Sep 25 '12 at 21:58

It is not planned for now to make it configurable though it is planned to deactivate that shortcut by default, see bug #705076


Run (Alt+F2 or Synapse) gconf-editor. Navigate to Desktop>Unity>Launcher. Uncheck the box for super_key_enable.

  • 1
    You should improve your answer by adding more details or screenshots to help take this from "an answer" to an "awesome answer"
    – Marco Ceppi
    Feb 6 '11 at 21:48

For Unity-2D in Ubuntu 12.04, the following command worked for me:

dconf write /com/canonical/unity-2d/launcher/super-key-enable false    

see http://wtanaka.com/node/8025

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