Input Shortcuts, Tips, And Tricks
Nearly every function familiar to most desktops is somehow different in GNOME Shell. So, navigating the UI with a keyboard might feel more efficient than hunting around with a mouse. Thankfully, there are a lot of handy keyboard shortcuts available in GNOME 3.
|Windows Key||Opens Activities Overview|
|Alt + F1||Opens Activities Overview|
|Alt + F2||Opens Run Command prompt|
|Alt + Tab||Switches between open applications from left to right|
|Alt + Shift + Tab||Switches between open applications from right to left|
|Esc||Closes Activities Overview or current menu/dialog|
|Alt + ~ (tilde)||Opens the Application Switcher|
|Ctrl + Alt + Tab||Open the Accessibility Switcher which changes focus of different UI elements for keyboard control|
|Ctrl + Alt + Shift + R||Toggles Screencast Recorder on/off|
|Ctrl + Alt + Down Arrow||Switch to Workspace below current Workspace|
|Ctrl + Alt + Up Arrow||Switch to Workspace above current Workspace|
|Ctrl + Alt + Shift + Down Arrow||Moves currently selected window to the Workspace below current Workspace|
|Ctrl + Alt + Shift + Up Arrow||Moves currently selected window to the Workspace above current Workspace|
|Ctrl + F6||Switches between windows of active application|
|Alt + Esc||Switches between windows on current Workspace|
|Prt Scr||Takes a fullscreen screenshot|
|Alt + Prt Scr||Takes a screenshot of the currently selected window|
|Ctrl + Alt + Del||Log Out|
|Ctrl + Alt + L||Lock Screen|
|Alt + Spacebar||Toggles the menu of the currently selected menu|
|Alt + F10||Maximizes currently selected window|
|Alt + F5||Restores currently selected window|
|Alt + F4||Closes currently selected window|
|Alt + F7||Activates movement control of currently selected window|
|Alt + F8||Activates resize control of currently selected window|
|F10||Opens first menubar entry of currently selected application|
|F8||Selects divider in multi-paned applications|
|F1||Displays Help knowledge base for currently selected application|
Hopefully you've picked up on the fact that GNOME 3 has no on-screen task management, and the Activities overview is somewhat of a hassle. Fortunately, there is a new application-based Alt-Tab switcher.
The Application Switcher can be activated without auto-cycling through windows by holding down the Alt and ~ key. Being application-based (not window-based), the Application Switcher combines multiple windows of the same application into a single icon. Pressing the down arrow over an application icon displays thumbnails of all windows created by that application. You can use the right and left arrows to cycle through applications and windows.
Although this isn't a suitable replacement for on-screen task management facilitated by taskbars and docks, it can help shave off time you'd otherwise spend fooling around with the Activities Overview. Then again, keyboard shortcuts are never a sufficient remedy for UI design problems.
If you really rely on a mouse for navigation, you're not entirely left out in the cold. Despite the extra burden that GNOME Shell hits you with, there are a few helpful mouse tricks.
|Third Button Click (press scrollwheel) on Application Launcher||Opens application in new desktop|
|Double-click window Title Bar||Maximizes window|
|Right-click on Application Launcher||Opens contextual menu for the application|
|Ctrl + Left-click on Application Launcher||Opens new instance of application on current workspace|
|Ctrl + Scroll Wheel Up||Zooms in currently selected window|
|Ctrl + Scroll Wheel Down||Zooms out currently selected application|
|Scroll Wheel Up over Window in Activities Overview||Zooms in window preview|
|Scroll Wheel Down over Window in Activities Overview||Zooms out window preview|
Zoom Windows In The Overview
The Windows section of the Activities Overview can quickly get confusing if you have multiple windows of the same or similar applications open at once.
Using the mouse scroll wheel over any of the windows in the Overview zooms in on it for greater detail. This comes in useful if you find yourself with multiple visually-ambiguous applications open. Text editor and terminal junkies are sure to find this trick essential.
While GNOME 3 ditches the minimize and maximize buttons, right-clicking on window title bars brings up a menu that contains the option to minimize applications.
This appears to be the only way to minimize applications in GNOME Shell by default. With no task bar to speak of, who knows where they actually go? The window still appears in the Activities overview. But apparently, minimizing windows in GNOME 3 simply causes them to disappear from the windowing area.
Unlike Canonical, which developed the fantastic uTouch gesture language, the GNOME project is working with Qt and X.org developers to bring modern multi-touch support to all of Linux. There is no telling how long this will take. But many of you may have noticed how large screen elements like window title bars and the close button have become.
Although there are no current plans to support gestures, the enlarging of on-screen graphical elements has to be related to finger input.
There's another way you can tell that GNOME's developers were thinking about tablets: the centralized Activities Overview. In the Overview, the user interaction happens in the center of the screen. Windows are selected or moved to other workspaces from the center, out. Applications are also selected or pinned to the Dash in the same way. A centrally-oriented UI is good for touchscreen devices.
We can see how GNOME Shell might work well on slate-style tablets in the future. However, without a multi-touch framework, and with no hardware based on the software, it's anyone's guess when this might happen. If Unity is a release or two away from multi-touch nirvana, GNOME 3 is at least that far.