I try to optimize everything. One thing I do frequently is closing windows and closing tabs. Is it possible to set the F1 button to close windows in Ubuntu 14.04? (i.e. same behavior as ALT+F4) And scroll lock or F2 to close tabs (i.e. same behavior as CTRL+W)

Using the Keyboard --> Shortcuts, the F1 simply opens the help menu for the keyboard application. It cannot set it as shortcut "value". And there's no entry for closing tabs.

The latter may be application-specific. So a keyboard intercepter solution may be the way to go. If possible, I'd like ALT+F4 etc. to keep working.


You can keep the Alt+F4 shortcut if you define a new custom shortcut. Here are three possible solutions:

Using xbindkeys and xdotool

  1. Install the packages by opening a terminal and type:

    sudo apt-get install xdotool xbindkeys xbindkeys-config 
  2. Run xbindkeys-config from the terminal

    enter image description here

  3. Press New create a new key binding.

  4. Write F1 in the Key field to the left or press Get Key to grab a key or key combinations. Note that this may create a lot of gibberish such as Mod2 + F1 | m:0x10 + c:67 but it still works.

  5. Enter into the Action field to the left:

     xdotool getwindowfocus key alt+F4

    .... or whatever other key combination you want to execute.

  6. Press Apply. It works now.

Using Keyboard Settings and xdotool

  1. Install the xdotool package, open a terminal and type:

    sudo apt-get install xdotool
  2. Now define a custom keyboard shortcut using the System Settings Menu:

    enter image description here

    Set the command to xdotool getwindowfocus key alt+F4

  3. The next step requires to go back to the command line as you can't type F1 to define a new accelerator. So list all the defined custom shorcuts with:

    $ dconf list /org/gnome/settings-daemon/plugins/media-keys/custom-keybindings/

    The one you've just created should be the last one, here custom1. Type the following command to assign F1 to close the active window:

    dconf write /org/gnome/settings-daemon/plugins/media-keys/custom-keybindings/custom1/binding "'F1'"

    Adjust the custom<id> to match yours.

Your new F1 shortcut is ready to use (needless to log out or restart your system) and Alt+F4 still works.

Using Keyboard Settings and xte

For keys without special meaning to the Keyboard-application (like F2), you don't have to go through command line to do the key binding:

  1. Install xte:

    sudo apt-get install xautomation
  2. Create your new shortcut using the System Setting menu as explained for F1 just above but with the following command instead:

    xte 'keydown Control_L' 'keydown w' 'keyup Control_L' 'keyup w'
  3. Assign F2 to the shortcut, it works from the Shortcut window this time.

  • I do not have an `/org/`` directory so the dconf write step returns error: 0:expected value. I did however make the key binding of the xdotool call work with xbindkeys (using the xbindkeys-config interface). That was a bit easier than having to go command line but does require installing xbindkeys. You're welcome to update your answer with that solution or I can do it. I will accept your answer when there's a working solution. Thanks a lot! – Jonas Lindeløv Feb 13 '15 at 10:51
  • @JonasLindeløv I fixed the command (missing quotes around "'F1'"). The /org/... is not a path but a schema path used inside the dconf database. – Sylvain Pineau Feb 13 '15 at 10:55
  • It works! I've updated the answer with the xbindkeys-config which is the solution I chose. I hope it's ok. – Jonas Lindeløv Feb 13 '15 at 11:24
  • @JonasLindeløv Just approved your edit, thanks. – Sylvain Pineau Feb 13 '15 at 11:24
  • @SylvainPineau: you're a treasure-trove of knowledge! Upvoted and Q favourited! – Fabby Feb 15 '15 at 13:08

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