Linux Keyboard Shortcuts

Linux Keyboard Shortcuts

Linux Keyboard Shortcuts can make your Linux work much more efficient and many of you must have been in a situation where you are busy typing something significant and accidentally hit some keys which create major problems. When it comes to Linux, there is no ‘undo’ key to correct the mistakes caused due to the accidental hitting. Also, for correcting such mistakes, you need to properly know which keys you have pressed. This is where shortcuts come into the picture and help you recover from various issues. These shortcuts surely boost your productivity and add an extra plus to your workflow in the long run. You can also customize these and attain flexible typing.

Different Linux Keyboard Shortcuts

Having a good knowledge about shortcuts and employing them in the best possible way will give you more efficiency and reliability in your commuting when operating through Linux. These Linux keyboard shortcuts are best-suited for the desktop environment or it can be specifically customized through the window manager. So, let’s get started and walk through the universe of Linux Keyboard Shortcuts.

Ctrl + Alt + Backspace

This shortcut plays a vital role when your X is not responding to the commands. Also, if a particular program has locked your screen and there is no way out to recover from this situation, this short is the best choice for rescue. Hitting Ctrl + Alt + Backspace will definitely help you in logging out of X, instantly and bring you back to your login screen. This combination can be performed through all desktop environments as well as window managers.

Ctrl + Alt + Delete

This combination defines the true essence of ‘Big Kahuna’. When you are performing a task and suddenly the screen stops responding and everything else fails, and you need to reboot, this shortcut will surely help you out in starting the process of rebooting. You should keep in mind that choosing this combo will help you reboot but will lead to data loss. Ctrl + Alt + Delete can be performed through all desktop environments as well as the window managers.

Alt + Tab

This combo enables you to choose the window which you want to focus on by walking through multiple open windows on the screen. In short, this handy shortcut helps you escaping the process of grabbing the mouse and clicking in order to focus on a window with respect to the focus configuration. For cycling through multiple windows, you just need to press Alt + Tab thereby landing on a window you want. This combo is suitable for most of the desktop environments as well as window managers.

Ctrl + Alt + F

This is amongst the top-notch shortcuts you need to use carefully, as it enables switching to different computer-generated depots. If 6 is the default terminal you are working in, then grabbing Ctrl + Alt and pressing any of the function keys will help you switch to another terminal at ease. But you can perform your tasks only in a terminal window which is text-based; if you have an on-going GI and also the terminals which you are dealing with are Virtual. This combo successfully mitigates the issues related to the desktop. It is also useful in removing stationary apps without completely killing X.

Alt + Arrow key

When using Linux, you must have surely dealt with the pager which enables you to gain multiple of desktops at the same time. Without moving the mouse, you can just press Alt key alongside any of the arrow keys (left or right) to cycle from one desktop to the other. This feature can be benefitted only in terminal/console windows. These shortcuts are suitable for all window managers as well as desktop environments.

Ctrl + A and Ctrl + E

While working with a text editor such as Nano, you can get the end of the line with a combination of Ctrl + E and the beginning of a line with a combination of Ctrl + A.  In GUI applications like open offices, these shortcuts are worked in the way that they work in Regular desktop. With combination Ctrl + A, you can highlight the text on a page.

Ctrl + C

By using a combination of Ctrl + C, it is possible to end the process which is running in the terminal window. For example, you can end the process following with tail + f command with the combination of ‘Ctrl + A’ keys.

Ctrl + Z

By using the combination of Ctrl + Z you can send the process to the background. If you want the terminal back without killing the application alongside having a process running across the terminal, hold the Ctrl key and press Z. Using this combination of Ctrl + Z, you can send the process to the background.

Arrow Up or Arrow Down

To get rid of retyping command and recalling commands that have been run recently, up and down arrow key are used. In the terminal window, with the help of these keys, you can see the history of command that has issued.

Ctrl + R

This shortcut is nothing but a research command tool. With the combination of Ctrl + R, you can type or enter the character or string of a character in the system. Then, you return to commands which we have previously used. The command will appear in the system, by entering the switch that we have used. Later press enters to execute the command.


From this article, you must have understood some shortcuts of Linux. This article gives information about some simple shortcuts that will be beneficial in working efficiently. There are also numerous shortcuts beyond this list. Every shortcut is different and used in a specific environment. User is not limited to the default shortcuts of the keyboard. Many windows managers and desktops enable a user to create own keyboard shortcuts. With a Linux keyboard shortcut, you can work efficiently without having to move the hand from key to mouse and back. These shortcuts will surely improve the overall computer experience of the users.

That is all!