I'm new to Linux and I am having trouble with Ubuntu keyboard shortcuts like Alt+Tab to switch between applications and Alt+Shift to change the keyboard layout.

Can anyone help please?

  • Alt-Tab seems to work OK by default. I wonder if you're having another problem. As for changing the keyboard layout (and shortcut), look in System Settings -> Text Entry.
    – Lambart
    Jun 23, 2014 at 21:52
  • What exactly is the trouble you are having?
    – VidathD
    Jun 12, 2020 at 4:43

3 Answers 3


On Unity (up to Ubuntu 17.10)

To see Unity shortcuts press and hold the Super key.

To customize shortcuts open System settings (gnome-control-center), go to Keyboard and select the Shortcuts tab. Explore all the categories to find what you're interested in changing and click on it to change. Then press the keys for your new shortcut.

customize shortcuts

To change the keyboard layout shortcut, in System settings go to Text Entry and change the shortcuts there.

change the keyboard layout shortcut

  • 1
    Here's a question: Under Keyboard > Shortcuts, the shortcut for "Key to show the HUD" was "Alt L". I confirmed that just tapping the left Alt key would bring it up. But when I changed it to something else, I couldn't change it back. What's the magic for specifying a modifier key as a shortcut? Mar 12, 2016 at 1:16

Some of the shortcuts are impossible to change with built-in system settings GUI. Most other system-wide shortcuts are modified through dconf as described here.

  • Open Terminal (Alt+Ctrl+T by default)
  • sudo apt install dconf-editor
  • dconf-editor
  • Navigate to org.gnome.desktop.wm.keybindings
  • Further setup is obvious, except for <Primary>.

The figure below is the example to disable Alt + F7:


  • is it also changes XKBOPTIONS="grp: from /etc/default/keyboard ? I doubt that . May 12, 2020 at 11:00
  • Don't forget to check if the shortcut is also used in unity options Aug 4, 2021 at 23:06

On Ubuntu 18.04 and later

  1. Launch Settings
  2. Click on Devices (under Network)
  3. Click on Keyboard

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If you want to add a custom shortcut scroll to the bottom of the applet and click on the + symbol to create a shortcut:

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  • Wow. That is extremely well obfuscated. Why is the keyboard shortcut editor (the one shown above, which works) under "Wired Settings"? The "help" leads you to the one under the regular settings (which is hidden under a hamburger menu and not in the list, as the help says), and that one is basically useless (AFAICT it just shows a dialog with four shotcuts that you can't change). This is for Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS. Nov 13, 2020 at 16:19

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