Unity (I'm using Ubuntu Trusty if it matters) has these very handy shortcuts where you can press ctrl+alt+numpad to place a window in one of 8 predetermined positions. For instance, ctrl+alt+7 will place the window in the top left quarter of the screen, resizing it appropriately. ctrl+alt+8 will place the window in the top half of the screen, maximizing horizontally; similarly, ctrl-alt-4 will place it in the left half, maximizing vertically.

This makes it very easy to "tile" windows in a non-overlapping fashion and is a huge time-saver for arranging windows.

Sadly, these shortcuts are almost unusable on compact laptops (i.e. without a numpad, so basically everything under 15" screen size), as they lack a dedicated numpad. Some have an "overlaid" numpad, accessible by some arcane key combination, which makes things very cumbersome as the sequence becomes "enable keypad - place window - disable keypad". Some others simply lack numpad functionality.

Is there a way or alternative shortcut for Unity to use on these systems? I'm thinking something using the Super key which is already used extensively by Unity, but I couldn't find such feature.

  • Why is ctrl+alt+number cumbersome even on laptop without numpad or overlaid numpad? Even with a numpad, wouldn't both hands be required?
    – DK Bose
    Mar 21, 2014 at 16:42
  • On a laptop without numpad there's no way to use these shortcuts ("some others simply lack numpad functionality"). It doesn't work with the numbers in the top row. On a laptop with overlaid numpad, you need four fingers (ctrl+alt+fn+key) so it becomes quite uncomfortable. I'm more interested in my particular laptop which lacks numpad, overlaid or otherwise, and thus can't use this nifty feature at all :(
    – roadmr
    Mar 21, 2014 at 17:48
  • How about using Ctrl+Super+qwe,asd,zxc ? the only used one I can see is d to show desktop (I have a QWERTY keyboard)
    – user.dz
    Mar 21, 2014 at 19:18
  • @Sneetsher that'd be great :) now how do I tell Unity to use those shortcuts?
    – roadmr
    Mar 22, 2014 at 2:12
  • Actually they are Compiz shortcuts, Run ccsm > Grid > Binding
    – user.dz
    Mar 22, 2014 at 8:37

1 Answer 1

  1. Install Compiz Config Setting Manager (ccsm):

    sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
  2. Look for GridBinding tab

  3. Set whatever shortcuts you like. I would suggest Ctrl+Alt+qwe,asd,zxd which seems good for a Qwerty keyboard.

    The only used one I can see is d to show desktop, but you can change it to to some thing else from Ubuntu Unity PluginGeneral tab → Show desktop.

  • 2
    Thanks! I'm left-handed so I'd prefer something I can handle on the other side of the keyboard (yui,hjk,nm,), but that's minutiae and I can take it from here with your advice. Much appreciated!
    – roadmr
    Mar 24, 2014 at 19:14

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