Using the Windows key as a modifier key in Ubuntu

In my experience, by default Ubuntu seems to make the Windows key on keyboards a single key for the purposes of keyboard shortcuts. In other words, if you want to set a keyboard shortcut for an action to be Windows+D (for example, to have the desktop shown and all windows minimized when you hold down the Windows key and press the D key), Ubuntu will interpret this to mean you want the keyboard shortcut to be the Windows key itself (D doesn’t even enter into the picture).

So if you’re a Ubuntu user like me—you love keyboard shortcuts and don’t want the Windows key as a modifier key to go to waste—this simple tutorial should make you happy.

First, go to System > Preferences > Keyboard

Then, under the Layouts tab, select Layout Options

Under Alt/Win key behavior, select Super is mapped to the Win-keys. And then click Close.

You should now be able to go to System > Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts and use combinations of keys with the Windows key for keyboard shortcuts.


  1. Thanks a ton… my Win+D was working but somehow Win+L wasn’t. thanks again.

    @Andrew: you know what scares simple users like me from linux.. the need to remember the commands and to go into some obscure file and change a line, even for a very basic task. CLI is good.. i prefer that for some task but some simple things like changing the keyboard shortcuts, it should also have a simple GUI solution.

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