I like using the Super key as a modifier key as part of various keyboard shortcut combinations. For example, as part of grid I have two shortcut keys (Super+H and Super+L) that put windows to the left and right respectively.

However, when ever I use these shortcut keys the Unity launcher menu is displayed as well. This does not happen when I press Windows+1,2,3.

I also like the fact that in general the Unity launcher menu is triggered by the Super key (i.e., when not pressed in combination with another key). So I don't want to disable it completely.


  • Is there a way of preventing the Unity launcher menu from displaying when the Super key is combined with another key?

4 Answers 4


You probably can't get the functionality you want without making some edits to Unity itself. (Requires programming knowledge)

There's no clear way to tell the difference between the two cases. Either Unity can bind to key press/release events on Super (which won't see other keys being pressed while it's held) or it can bind to key combinations, in which case it won't see Super except as a modifier on whatever key that was pressed in combination with it.

It should, theoretically, be possible to achieve the functionality you want by having Unity use XGrabKeyboard when you press Super and and XUngrabKeyboard when you release it, but it's not exactly common to go whole-hog on it.

What I usually see in things like IceWM and Windows is for there to be a global keybinding on the Super key and then local keybindings on the window that it calls up for things like Super+R (Windows Run... dialog) and so on.

My advice would be to rebind your launcher shortcut to something almost as easy to hit as a bare Super. (I use Super+Space for the copy of gmrun I use in Lubuntu which matches nicely with using Ctrl+Space and Alt+Space for other launchers like SiteLauncher in Firefox)

  • 1
    Not sure if this is the correct place to say it but.. It works perfectly on windows so why would it be "hard" in ubuntu? Just bind on to key up events instead of down. Sep 19, 2011 at 1:39
  • Because you'll still have the launcher opening in addition to whatever else happens. If you want to have Super-binding work in an intuitively proper fashion for keybindings external to Unity, you need to have Unity grab all Super+Something combinations and then re-send the events it doesn't care about.
    – ssokolow
    Sep 19, 2011 at 1:53

Open CompizConfig Settings manager and into the Ubuntu unity plugin section. click the x next to the "key to show the launcher" option to disable it.

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    Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately, this disables all relevant functionality. I.e., I can no longer press Super to show the launcher. I can no longer use Super+1 to start/activate a program. I just want to prevent showing the launcher when I combine Super with another key. May 31, 2011 at 17:28

You could download confity http://sourceforge.net/projects/confity/. After you've un tared it you should click on uiSelcectoinDialog.py (Make shore it's excuteble) press ok, at the bottom you can change the short cuts or remove then. It come's with some extra handy things make to unity a bit more customizable.

  • Thanks. I had a quick link at a few articles on confity, it looked fairly similar to the CompizConfig Unity settings. Jun 4, 2011 at 3:14

From what you're asking in the question and from what you're saying in the comments of other answers, this seem to be what you want:

  • Super should be used in combination with other keys
  • You want to show the launcher when you press and hold super
  • Pressing super+num (1-9) should open and/or switch to an application
  • You do not want to show the launcher when you use it in combination with other keys than 1-9.

This is impossible. The only solution I can think of, is to set a delay for how quickly the launcher shows, but this would be annoying if that's what you want to do. It would also make it much more difficult to get used to that functionality, which would make it less user friendly.

If you have any ideas for how this could be done, feel free to write an email to Ayatanas mailinglist.

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