I'm running Ubuntu on Parallels Desktop for Mac, where I have some limitations regarding usage of the Super key (and also problems with mouse edge detection), for example, I've read on the web that holding Super for a while should bring a list of hotkeys, but for me holding it does nothing and on release just shows the Launcher with the Dash open and focused.

Hitting Super does the same, unhide Launcher with Dash focused. Hitting Super + w and holding Super I have the Launcher unhidden with the icons being numbered for shortcut access.

What I'd like to have is just a hotkey, like there's for unhiding Launcher with Dash focused, but without the Dash focus, I'd like to have the Launcher unhidden as if the mouse was close to it, and if possible, kept it unhidden after hitting the hotkey until the hotkey got clicked again, which is the behavior of Launcher accompanied by Dash currently.

Note that I'm not looking for a solution that would enable/disable auto-hide to pretend that the Launcher is being unhidden. This approach causes undesirable effects, the Launcher doesn't unhide, it just pops up suddenly, and occupies space, forcing rearrangement of icons in the desktop.


I've tried other distros, like elementaryOS, and it doesn't present any issue with mouse edge detection for unhiding the Dock inside a Parallels VM... Sadly this seems like an Ubuntu/Unity specific issue.

  • I have to recognize that is a very strange behavior what you asked. So let's make some light: 1) Normally your Launcher is hidden. 2) You want to define a key which if you press it to unhide the Launcher (make it visible) and the Launcher should remain visible after release the key. 3) If you go with the mouse close to the Launcher, the Launcher should became visible (unhidden) and the Launcher should remain visible if you go with the mouse elsewhere. 4) If the Launcher is visible (unhidden), when you press the same key from the point 2), the Launcher should became hidden. Correct? – Radu Rădeanu Aug 24 '13 at 20:13
  • @RaduRădeanu Not exactly, I'm not looking for fixing the mouse edge detection, so what I'm asking and what matters to me is only the hotkey part, unhide on click, hide on click, just like happens now with the Super key, but without the Dash open and focused. – pepper_chico Aug 24 '13 at 22:25
  • I think you'll need to file a wishlist bug against Unity requesting this feature. – Jeremy Bicha Aug 26 '13 at 20:06

Alt-F1 will unhide the Launcher and put it in keyboard navigation mode. However, you can still use the mouse to select icons that are visible in the Launcher. You can also use the up and down arrow keys to traverse the Launcher. The downside is that you can't navigate down to any hidden icons with the mouse.

Hope this helps!

  • Thanks!, any way to now hide it? Through a hotkey I mean. I see if I click anywhere it hides. – pepper_chico Aug 26 '13 at 20:12
  • Hit Alt-F1 again :) – Christopher Townsend Aug 26 '13 at 20:16
  • Alt-F1 again isn't working for me, I get the Dash command box open, as if I had pressed just Alt. – pepper_chico Aug 26 '13 at 20:38
  • Oh no, I must keep Alt pressed down, then F1 toggles it =) – pepper_chico Aug 26 '13 at 20:40
  • 1
    Just a notice (for connoisseurs): By default (as in this case) the Alt+F1 shortcut is used to give keyboard-focus to the Launcher. This means: gives keyboard-focus to the Launcher so it can be navigated with the cursor-keys. – Radu Rădeanu Aug 27 '13 at 7:50

I have to recognize that is a very strange behavior what you asked. The best what can I do for you is to suggest you the following shell script (I named it (un)hide_launcher.sh):


launcher=$(gsettings get \
         org.compiz.unityshell:/org/compiz/profiles/unity/plugins/unityshell/ \

echo $launcher

if [ $launcher -eq 1 ]; then
    gsettings set \
    org.compiz.unityshell:/org/compiz/profiles/unity/plugins/unityshell/ \
    launcher-hide-mode 0
    gsettings set \
    org.compiz.unityshell:/org/compiz/profiles/unity/plugins/unityshell/ \
    launcher-hide-mode 1

Make the script executable from terminal with the following commands:

cd /path/to/script/
chmod +x (un)hide_launcher.sh

To set a (shortcut) key to run this script, go to System Settings...Keyboard, select Shortcuts tab and click + sign to add a new custom shortcut key. For "Name" field add whatever you wish; for "Command" add the path to the script:

Custom Shortcut

Then click where is written "Disabled" to add a new accelerator and press your key combination (I chose F7).

The result:

(un)hide launcher [Click to enlarge]

  • At the question, I've already ruled out this implementation, just enabling/disabling auto-hide doesn't produce the desired behavior... also I have explained how it's not strange at my previous comment. It's simple, it almost boils down to avoiding opening the Dash when I press Super, leaving only the Launcher unhide. – pepper_chico Aug 26 '13 at 2:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.