The powerful world of Debian keyboard shortcuts

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Debian comes with a powerful set of keyboard shortcuts that you can use to increase your productivity with the minimum of fuss. If you have a good handle on the keyboard shortcuts, you can avoid using the mouse; which saves a lot of time. You can also concentrate more on your work instead of following the cursor. Keyboard shortcuts are especially useful when you are editing a lot of text. Your hand muscles will actually thank you for avoiding the mouse. In this article, we’re going to mention some useful keyboard shortcuts for Debian and also show you how to create a custom keyboard shortcut for a task that you do a lot, like opening the Gnome Terminal.

Before proceeding with the article, please consider the following points:

  • The links mentioned in this article have been tried and tested on a Debian 10 Buster system.
  • The Superkey mentioned in this article refers to the Windows key on your keyboard.

Debian desktop shortcuts

You can use the following shortcuts to get the maximum benefit from the Debian desktop environment:

shortcut Utility
Ctrl + Alt + Del Use this shortcut to log out of Debian.
Alt + Tab / Super + Tab Use this shortcut to switch between open programs.
Ctrl + Alt + Tab Use this shortcut to switch between system controls such as Windows, Top Bar, and Desktop.
Ctrl + Alt + Esc Use this shortcut to switch directly between system controls.
Super + L Use this shortcut to lock the screen.
Super + A Use this shortcut to view all applications.
Super + V Use this link to view notifications if necessary.
Super + S Use this link to get an overview of open activities.
Alt + F1 Use this link to get an overview of open windows.
Alt + F2 Use this shortcut to open the Run Command dialog box.
Alt + F4 Use this shortcut to close the current window.
Alt + F5 Use this shortcut to un-maximize the current window.
Alt + F7 Use this shortcut to select the current window to move.
Alt + F8 Use this shortcut to resize the current window.
Alt + F10 Use this shortcut to minimize or maximize the current window.
Alt + space bar Use this shortcut to view the window menu that is used to maximize, minimize, move, close, and so on, the current window.
Super + Pageup Use this shortcut to switch to the workspace above.
super + page down Use this shortcut to switch to the lower work area.
Super + home Use this shortcut to switch to the first workspace.
Super + end Use this shortcut to go to the last workspace.
Shift + Super + Home Use this shortcut to move the window to the first work area.
Shift + Super + End Use this shortcut to move the window to the last work area.
Shift + Super + Up / Shift +

Super + Down

Use this shortcut to move the window up / down.
Shift + Super + Left / Shift + Super + Right Use this shortcut to move the window left / right.

Debian application shortcuts

You can use the following shortcuts to get the most out of your Debian applications:

shortcut Utility
Ctrl + 0 Use this shortcut to open a new file.
Ctrl + S Use this shortcut to save the current file.
Ctrl + P Use this link to print the current document.
Ctrl + W Use this shortcut to close the current file.
Ctrl + Q Use this shortcut to close the open application.
Ctrl + A Use this shortcut to select all elements / texts.
Ctrl + C Use this link to copy the selected elements / texts to the clipboard.
Ctrl + V Use this link to paste the copied elements / texts.
Ctrl + N Use this shortcut to create a new file in the currently open application.

Debian Print Screen Shortcuts

You can use the following shortcuts to quickly use Debian’s screen printing feature:

shortcut Utility
Print screen Use this shortcut to take a screenshot of your screen and save it in the Pictures folder.
Alt + print screen Use this shortcut to take a screenshot of the current window and save it in the Pictures folder.
Shift + Print Screen Use this shortcut to select an area that will be saved as a screenshot in the Pictures folder.
Ctrl + Alt +

Print screen

Use this shortcut to copy a screenshot of a window to the clipboard.
Shift + Ctrl +

Print screen

Use this shortcut to copy a screenshot of a selected area to the clipboard.
Ctrl + print screen Use this shortcut to copy a screenshot of your entire screen to the clipboard.

Debian Terminal shortcuts

You can use the following keyboard shortcuts to quickly and optimally execute terminal commands:

shortcut Utility
Ctrl + A Use this key combination to move the cursor to the beginning of the line.
Ctrl + E Use this keyboard shortcut to move the cursor to the end of the line.
Ctrl + C Use this shortcut to end the current process.
Ctrl + R Use this shortcut to search history based on the keywords you entered.
Ctrl + U Use this keyboard shortcut to delete the current line.
Ctrl + K Use this keyboard shortcut to delete the text on the right side of the cursor.
Ctrl + W Use this keyboard shortcut to delete the text in front of the cursor.
Ctrl + L Use this shortcut to clear the output of one or more terminal commands.
Alt + F Use this key combination to move the cursor forward one word.
Alt + B Use this keyboard shortcut to move the cursor back one word.
[letter] Enter a letter, then press Tab twice to list all commands that begin with that letter.

Create your own keyboard shortcut in Debian

Create a custom shortcut to open the Gnome Terminal

When I switched from Ubuntu to Debian, what I missed most was the Ctrl + Alt + T keyboard shortcut that I used very often to start the Terminal application. This is how you can create a shortcut in Debian to start the Terminal.

Open the Settings utility from the Application Launcher search or the down arrow in the top right corner of your screen.

The Settings utility opens in the most recently opened view in which you last opened Settings.

In the settings window’s left menu, click the Devices tab. Then click the Keyboard tab on the Devices menu. The following keyboard view is displayed in the right pane:

Alternatively, you can open the Settings utility directly in the keyboard view as follows:display

Search for keyboard shortcuts

In Settings, scroll down the Keyboard view and click + Button. The Add Custom Link dialog box appears.

Enter the following information in the Add Custom Shortcut menu:

Surname: terminal

Command: Gnome Terminal

Add a custom link

Shortcut: Set a shortcut by pressing the Set Shortcut button and then set a shortcut by pressing the Ctrl + Alt + T keys at the same time. The following dialog appears:

Link to open the terminal

Click the Add button and your new shortcut is now set up.

In the list of keyboard shortcuts, you can see the newly defined keyboard shortcut in the Custom Keyboard Shortcuts column as follows:

Summary of link details

Try this keyboard shortcut by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T. The terminal will appear every time you do this.

You can now work more efficiently by eliminating the mouse altogether and focusing more on your work by simply ignoring the cursor. You can use the shortcuts mentioned in this article to operate your desktop, terminal, applications and screenshots and save a lot of time.

The powerful world of Debian keyboard shortcuts