I keep seeing references to a config option calld Editable Menu Accelerators or Editable Menu Shortcut Keys.
This is exactly what I need, but all the directions I've read about how to find that feature lead me to a dead-end.

I am running with Ubuntu 10.4, and have checked its help file Desktop User Guide.
In Section Interface Preferences it says:

"...the Interface tabbed section in the Appearance preference tool  
    to customize the appearance of menus, menubars, and toolbars  
    for applications that are part of GNOME."

This Interface tab does not exist in Ubuntu 10.4 (... okay, who moved it?! .. where is i?)
Is this feature still available?
I assume it does exist, and is now accessible some other way... but how?

PS: To clarify... I want to modify a menu-item accelerator for a specific app (not a system-wide hot-key)

2 Answers 2


It seems that GNOME decided to remove the interface tab because "basically everything there is a user experience design cop-out. It only belongs in a tweak UI tool." So now the only way to enable that option is hidden deep in the gconf settings.

Launch gconf-editor from the terminal or the "Run Application" dialog (Alt-F2).

Navigate to desktop>gnome>interface and check can_change_accels

Or just run this line in a terminal:

gconftool --set /desktop/gnome/interface/can_change_accels --type=bool True
  • 2
    Absolutely brilliant! Thanks... gconf-editor suits me fine ;) ... but I now understand why they removed from general access! It is so damn powerful, its scary. One mis-typed key while a menu is open changes that item's accelerator key (as intended by this feature)... and it does it wheter you meant to press that key or not. Its hair-trigger nature (where you don't normaally make silent mods) may lead to a few lost toes... I'll turn it on/off as needed... Go Linux! ... (I'm below 15 points.. can't mark up your anwer yet_
    – Peter.O
    Commented Oct 6, 2010 at 1:44
  • 1
    Doesn't seem to work in GNOME 3.4 on Precise using either gconf-editor or dconf-editor (latter case, using the key /org/gnome/desktop/interface/can-change-accels). Commented Nov 30, 2012 at 20:58
  • @Mechanicalsnail, see this answer for Precise, especially the "global menu" part.
    – user55822
    Commented Nov 30, 2012 at 21:30

Looks like this functionality is now in "Preferences/Keyboard Shortcuts".

For example, I usually pop in there to clear CTRL-ALT-DEL from the "Log out" option (double click on the entry, then press backspace.

Then hit the "Add" button and create a new entry called "Force Quit" which launches "xkill". Now double click on that and press CTRL-ALT-DEL.

Now whenever you have a window which isn't responding, just hit CTRL-ALT-DEL and click on the offending window.

  • 1
    I looked at "Preferences/Keyboard Shortcuts" before, and it seemed to deal with shortcuts on a system-wide basis. I want to specifically modify menu-item shortcut-keys (accelerators) ... and if possible, add my own menu-items.
    – Peter.O
    Commented Oct 5, 2010 at 23:20

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .