Xfce Shortcuts

Table of Contents

The Xfce desktop environment has a number of built-in shortcuts for manipulating the system, switching workspaces and launching applications. Mastery of these shortcuts will greatly reduce the amount of time spent clicking around menus and potentially boost your productivity.

NOTE: We will not cover all of the available shortcuts. You can look at the Keyboard menu discussed below in order to see them all. This article will cover some of the ones you are most likely to use.

NOTE on Key Terminology:

  • If your keyboard came from a Mac, the Alt key might be labeled Option instead.
  • If your keyboard came from a Mac, you likely have a Command key. If you have a Windows-based keyboard, you likely have a Windows key. These keys are referred to in the Linux world as the Super key (or Meta key in emacs and a few other contexts)
  • The ` key is sometimes called the grave or backtick. It is usually found above the Tab key, and shares its key with the tilde (~).

NOTE on Super Key in Xfce: One of the special features of Korora Xfce is the inclusion of Ksuperkey. This allows the Super key to be used as a shortcut by itself as well as to be used as part of a combination shortcut.

Changing the Default Shortcut Keybindings

We will be discussing the shortcuts as they exist on a freshly-installed instance of Korora Xfce. However, if you would like to change the default shortcuts to better suit your keyboard or workflow, you are free to do so by opening the Keyboard settings application, which can be reached by navigating through the following menu paths: Menu -> Settings -> Keyboard -> Application Shortcuts for Application and Session Shortcuts

Adding a new shortcut is simple. Select the Application Shortcuts tab, click on the Add button, type in the command to start the Application. Click OK and it will open another window asking for the key, press your chosen key(s) and the window will close. The shortcut has been saved and you can test it. or

Menu -> Settings -> Window Manager -> Keyboard for Window Mangement and Workspace shortcuts

There is no Add facility on this screen as all the available action are already listed. However you can change the existing shortcuts or add shortcut key combinations to those actions that don't currently have any.

Emergency Shortcuts

Launch a Console Terminal

If Xfce becomes unresponsive or you need to otherwise access a text-only console terminal outside of the window manager, enter the following command:

Ctrl + Alt + F2

You can switch back to the GUI by hitting:

Ctrl + Alt + F1

Session Shortcuts

Lock Screen

Ctrl + Alt + Del

Log Out of Current Session

Ctrl + Alt + L

Open the Whisker Menu and Search Bar


Note: the keyboard shortcut menu shows this shortcut as Alt + F1. This is part of the setup of Ksuperkey which makes the Super key more useful.


Take a Screenshot

Print / PrtScr

Take a Screenshot of the Current Window

Alt + PrtScr

Window Management

Cycle between open windows / applications

To cycle from left to right, use:

Alt + Tab

To cycle in the reverse direction, use:

Alt + Shift + Tab

NOTE: Xfce 4.12 added an option to have a preview of the Window instead of an icon when using ALT + Tab to cycle windows. The option uses the compositor so will only work when Compositing is on. This option can be turned off in Settings – Window Manager Tweaks – Compositing.

Show Desktop

Ctrl + Alt + D

Workspace Shortcuts

NOTE: You can have as many workspaces as you like. When the documentation refers to moving "left" or "right", it means referring to the workspace immediately to the left or right of your current workspace. For example, if you are currently on Workspace 3, moving to the left workspace would switch you to Workspace 2. Moving to the right would shift you to Workspace 4, etc.

Switch to left workspace

Ctrl + Alt + Left Arrow

Switch to right workspace

Ctrl + Alt + Right Arrow

Send current window to previous workspace

Ctrl + Alt + Home

Send current window to next workspace

Ctrl + Alt + End