Chapter 1. Basic Skills

Keyboard Skills

For almost every task that you can perform with the mouse, you can use the keyboard to perform the same task. Shortcut keys are keys that provide you with a quick way to perform a task.

You can use shortcut keys to perform general GNOME Desktop tasks and to work with interface items such as panels and windows. You can also use shortcut keys in applications. To customize your shortcut keys, use the Keyboard Shortcuts preference tool.

You can also modify the GNOME Desktop preferences to use keyboard accessibility features.

The following sections describe the shortcut keys that you can use.

General Shortcut Keys

General shortcut keys enable you to use the keyboard to perform general GNOME Desktop tasks. The following table lists some general shortcut keys:

Default Shortcut Keys

Function

Alt-F1

Opens the Applicantions Menu.

Alt-F2

Displays the Run Application dialog.

Print Screen

Takes a screenshot.

Alt-Print Screen

Takes a screenshot of the window that has focus.

Ctrl-Alt-right arrow

Switches to the workspace to the right of the current workspace.

Ctrl-Alt-left arrow

Switches to the workspace to the left of the current workspace.

Ctrl-Alt-up arrow

Switches to the workspace above the current workspace.

Ctrl-Alt-down arrow

Switches to the workspace below the current workspace.

Ctrl-Alt-d

Minimizes all windows, and gives focus to the desktop.

F1

Starts the online help browser, and displays appropriate online Help.

Window Shortcut Keys

Window shortcut keys enable you to use the keyboard to perform window tasks. The following table lists some window shortcut keys:

Default Shortcut Keys

Function

Alt-Tab

Switches between windows. When you use these shortcut keys, a list of windows that you can select is displayed. Release the keys to select a window.

Shift-Alt-Tab

Switches between windows in reverse order. Release the keys to select a window.

F10

Opens the first menu on the left side of the menubar.

Alt-spacebar

Opens the Window Menu.

Arrow keys

Moves the focus between items in a menu.

Return

Chooses a menu item.

Esc

Closes an open menu.

Shift-Ctrl-Alt-right arrow

Moves the current window to the workspace to the right of the current workspace.

Shift-Ctrl-Alt-left arrow

Moves the current window to the workspace to the left of the current workspace.

Shift-Ctrl-Alt-up arrow

Moves the current window to the workspace above the current workspace.

Shift-Ctrl-Alt-down arrow

Moves the current window to the workspace below the current workspace.

Ctrl-Alt-d

Minimizes all windows, and gives focus to the desktop.

Panel Shortcut Keys

Panel shortcut keys enable you to use the keyboard to perform panel tasks. The following table lists panel shortcut keys:

Default Shortcut Keys

Function

Ctrl-Alt-Tab

Switches the focus between the panels and the desktop. When you use these shortcut keys, a list of items that you can select is displayed. Release the keys to select an item.

Ctrl-F10

Opens the popup menu for the selected panel.

Tab

Switches the focus between objects on a panel.

Return

Chooses the selected panel object or menu item.

Shift-F10

Opens the popup menu for the selected panel object.

Arrow keys

Moves the focus between items in a menu. Moves the focus between interface items in an applet also.

Esc

Closes an open menu.

F10

Opens the Applications menu from the Menu Bar, if the Menu Bar is in a panel.

Application Shortcut Keys

Application shortcut keys enable you to perform application tasks. You can use shortcut keys to perform application tasks more quickly than if you use a mouse. The following table lists some application shortcut keys:

Shortcut Keys

Command

Ctrl-N

New

Ctrl-X

Cut

Ctrl-C

Copy

Ctrl-V

Paste

Ctrl-Z

Undo

Ctrl-S

Save

Ctrl-Q

Quit

Access Keys

A menubar is a bar at the top of a window that contains the menus for the application. An access key is an underlined letter in a menubar, menu, or dialog that you can use to perform an action. On a menubar, the access key for each menu is underlined.

To open a menu, press Alt, then press the access key. In the menu, the access key for each menu item is underlined. To choose a menu item, press the access key for the menu item. The following table shows example access keys from the Text Editor application:

Access Keys

Function

Alt-F

Opens the File menu.

N

Chooses the New item on the File menu.

You can also use access keys to access elements in a dialog. In a dialog, one letter in most dialog elements is underlined. To access a particular dialog element, press Alt, then press the access key. The following table shows an example access key from the Preferences dialog in the Text Editor application:

Access Key

Function

Alt-U

Gives focus to the Use default theme font check box.

You can use also other keys to navigate within a window or dialog.

Key

Function

Tab

Moves the focus from element to element in a window or dialog.

Arrow keys

Use the arrow keys to perform the following actions:

  • In a menubar, move the focus from one menu to the next menu. In an open menu, move the focus from one menu item to the next menu item.

  • Move the focus from one option to the next option to make your selection, for example, within a group of radio buttons in a dialog.

  • Change the value that a spin box displays.