Ubuntu 17.10 - clean install

In older versions of Ubuntu (and in other operating systems, such as Windows), pressing Alt-Space opens the Window menu (the one that gives access to window options such as minimize, maximize, move window, etc). This is still true in Ubuntu 17.10. However, once that menu is open, it does not appear to be affected by the keyboard - for example, in previous Ubuntu versions, pressing Alt+Space, then M would minimize the window, Alt+Space, then X would maximize the window, etc.

Not in 17.10 - I haven't found a keystroke that will activate any of the menu items (I can use the arrow keys to highlight the items, but Enter doesn't select the item, nor does there appear to be an assigned accelerator key - such as M or X - to select the option).

Is there somewhere that these kinds of things can be set, or am I missing something blindingly obvious? (I know about, for example, Super+H to minimize - but that doesn't seem very intuitive to me, and would necessitate a learning curve to use - whereas the old standard keyboard shortcuts Alt+Space, M is well ingrained into my habits)...


  • Ubuntu changed the default DE from Unity, a heavily customized Gnome, to Gnome with just a few customizations, mostly cosmetics. You have to relearn how to do things in Gnome now.
    – user692175
    Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 22:42
  • I understand the change in desktop environment, and the necessity for learning some things about Gnome. But that doesn't really answer my question as to whether there is a way to customize things like this back to my own preferences. I have to assume there is a way, but how?
    – Tracy
    Commented Nov 3, 2017 at 12:39
  • 1
    I agree. I've always used Alt+Space, c to close windows but now I'll have to use Ctrl+w and hope I don't forgot NOT to use that in the browser (or Ctrl+Shift+t will be needed to reopen the tab). At least in 18.04 you can use Alt+Space then use the arrows, then enter, but using end to jump to the last entry (close) would be really nice (but you can't) :(
    – DJDaveMark
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 16:14
  • @Tracy I updated my answer to use custom keyboard shortcuts while sticking to the letters you're already familiar with.
    – DJDaveMark
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 13:19

3 Answers 3


In Ubuntu version 18.04, and maybe earlier (didn't try), you can find global shortcuts that are different but quite intuitive anyway:

  • Super + Up for Maximize
  • Super + Down for Restore (un-maximize)
  • Super + Left for View split on left
  • Super + Right for View split on right

While I was also very used to the original sequence Ctrl+Space, X, I found these shortcuts useful enough so that it did not cost much pain to learn it. HTH.


It is a bug - see bug 1710421 at LaunchPad.

The solution is to drop GNOME Shell and switch to:

  • GNOME FlashBack (sudo apt-get install gnome-panel to install)

    GNOME FlashBack window menu

  • MATE Desktop Environment (sudo apt-get install ubuntu-mate-desktop^ to install).

    MATE DE window menu

  • You can also use the Unity desktop. It's still available but you have to install it.
    – mchid
    Commented Dec 27, 2020 at 5:36

I'd suggest specifying your own custom keyboard shortcuts for these actions using Ctrl+Super (the two keys just to the left of Alt+Space):

  • Ctrl+Super+M → Minimize Window
  • Ctrl+Super+X → Toggle Maximization State
  • Ctrl+Super+C → Close Window
  • Ctrl+Super+R → Resize Window
  • Ctrl+Super+V or Ctrl+Super+Shift+M → Move Window


To easily move windows, use either Alt+Mouse_1 or Ctrl+Super+Mouse_1 or Super+Mouse_1.

To easily resize windows, use either Alt+Mouse_3 or Ctrl+Super+Mouse_3 or Super+Mouse_3 (the mouse wheel click) near one of the windows corners.


In 18.04 at least, with tab, arrow_up & arrow_down you can highlight the menu item, and Enter chooses the item.

Repeatedly using the tab key continuously cycles through the menu items (but not the arrow keys), and Shift+Tab cycles backwards.

So you can:

  • Alt+Space, Enter → Minimize Window
  • Alt+Space, Shift+Tab, Enter → Close window (last menu item)

Unfortunately the home/end/page_up/page_down keys currently don't do anything.

  • 2
    “ and Enter chooses the item. ” – not for me :( Commented Apr 1, 2020 at 8:24

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