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In Windows, Windows Key + P changes how an attached monitor is attached. I primarilly used it to swap between mirrored and extended views.

Is there a similar hotkey in Ubuntu 14.04?

To clarify, I'm often in the situation where my built-in display is blank after being plugged into HDMI and suspendend. I think it just needs to be told to switch to a different display mode. I can't do this with a command, as I can't see what I'm typing.

I've googled, and my google fu doesn't appear to be working well

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  • Now there is a Super+P at 20.04 LTS! Hurray! Feb 18 '21 at 11:31
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If you don't find a simple built-in shortcut, you can do what I do on Xubuntu and use xrandr to switch the display output. All of this might seem like a pain in the ass, but I've found it to be rock solid reliable over the years (especially compared to relying on display auto-switching).

$ sudo apt-get install xrandr

So on my setup, this command switches to mirrored output:

xrandr --output HDMI1 --mode 1920x1080 --pos 0x0 --rotate normal --output VIRTUAL1 --off \
--output DP1 --off --output eDP1 --mode 1920x1080 --pos 2040x0 --rotate normal \
--same-as HDMI1 --output VGA1 --off

And this one switches to extended desktop:

xrandr --output HDMI1 --mode 1920x1080 --pos 0x0 --rotate normal --output VIRTUAL1 --off \
--output DP1 --off --output eDP1 --mode 1920x1080 --pos 2040x0 --rotate normal \
--output VGA1 --off

Obviously, these commands are too long to be typing in, so I save them to scripts called display_TV_mirror.sh and display_TV_extend.sh, and then I bind a shortcut key to each script. In regular Ubuntu, I think you can set the shortcuts in System Settings -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts. I use to separate scripts with two separate shortcut keys, but you could easily combine them into one switch with some toggle logic.

Note: To find out the exact command you want to use for xrandr, it is probably easier to use arandr at first, which is basically a gui interface to xrandr.

$ sudo apt-get install arandr
$ arandr

Then you can set up your desired config, save it to a file somewhere, then look at that file to find out what xrandr command is needed to get the setup you want.

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At least on my setup, I can switch monitor mirroring on with this command:

xrandr --output HDMI1 --same-as DP1

To turn off monitor mirroring, I use this command:

xrandr --output HDMI1 --pos 1920x0

In other words, I don't need to re-specify settings such as "--mode 1920x1080" and "--rotate normal". Simply changing between "--same-as" and "--pos" has been sufficient, at least in my case.

These commands have been handy for me when viewing my workplace screens from a remote laptop. My workplace screens are on a dual-monitor setup running Linux Mint, so I need an easy way to temporarily switch to mirror mode during my remote session. I can also switch mirroring on and off using the "Super-p" (Windows-p) Cinnamon keyboard shortcut ("Re-detect display devices"), but the keyboard approach sometimes crashes my VNC.

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