Debian comes with a powerful set of keyboard shortcuts that you can utilize in order to increase your productivity through minimum effort. When you have a good grip on the shortcuts, you can avoid using the mouse; which saves a lot of time. You can also focus more on your work rather than following the mouse pointer. Keyboard shortcuts are especially useful if you do a lot of text editing; your hand muscles will actually thank you for avoiding the mouse. In this article, we will mention some useful keyboard shortcuts for Debian and also show you how to create a custom shortcut for a task that you frequently perform, i.e, opening the Gnome Terminal.

Before heading forward to the article, please note the following points:

  • The shortcuts mentioned in this article have been tried and tested on a Debian 10 Buster system.
  • The Super key 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+Delete Use this shortcut to logout 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 directly switch 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 shortcut to view notifications, if any.
Super+S Use this shortcut to get an overview of open activities.
Alt+F1 Use this shortcut to get an overview of open windows.
Alt+F2 Use this shortcut to open the Run command dialog.
Alt+F4 Use this shortcut to close the current window.
Alt +F5 Use this shortcut to unmaximize the current window.
Alt+F7 Use this shortcut to select the current window for moving.
Alt+F8 Use this shortcut to resize the current window.
Alt+F10 Use this shortcut to minimize or maximize the current window.
Alt+Space Use this shortcut to view the window menu used to maximize, minimize, move, close, etc. the current window.
Super+Pageup Use this shortcut to move to the above workspace.
super+Pagedown Use this shortcut to move to the below workspace.
Super+Home Use this shortcut to move to the first workspace.
Super+End Use this shortcut to move to the last workspace.
Shift+Super+Home Use this shortcut to move the window to the first workspace.
Shift+Super+End Use this shortcut to move the window to the last workspace.
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 shortcut 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 items/text.
Ctrl+C Use this shortcut to copy the selected items/text to the clipboard.
Ctrl+V Use this shortcut to paste the copied items/text.
Ctrl+N Use this shortcut to create a new file in the currently open application.

Debian Screen Printing Shortcuts

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

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

PrintScreen

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

PrintScreen

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

Debian Terminal Shortcuts

You can use the following shortcuts to run terminal commands quickly in the most optimal manner:

Shortcut Utility
Ctrl+A Use this shortcut to move the cursor to the beginning of the line.
Ctrl+E Use this shortcut to move the cursor to the end of the line.
Ctrl+C Use this shortcut to kill the current process.
Ctrl+R Use this shortcut to search the history based on the entered keywords.
Ctrl+U Use this shortcut to delete the current line.
Ctrl+K Use this shortcut to delete the text at the right side of the cursor.
Ctrl+W Use this shortcut to delete the text before the cursor.
Ctrl+L Use this shortcut to clear the output of a terminal command(s).
Alt+F Use this shortcut to move the cursor forward by one word.
Alt+B Use this shortcut to move the cursor back by one word.
[letter]<tab><tab> Enter a letter and then tab twice to list all the commands beginning with that letter.

Creating your own Keyboard Shortcut in Debian

Creating A Custom Shortcut for Opening the Gnome Terminal

When I shifted from Ubuntu to Debian, what I was missing the most was the Ctrl+Alt+T shortcut that I very frequently used to launch the Terminal application. So here is how you can create a shortcut in Debian to launch the Terminal.

Open the Settings utility from the Application Launcher search or the downward arrow button located at the top right corner of your screen.

Debian Launcher

The Settings utility opens in the last view you were on when you last opened Settings.

Click the Devices tab from the left menu of the Settings window. Then, click on the Keyboard tab from the Devices menu. The following Keyboard view will be displayed in the right panel:

Keyboard Shortcuts

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

Search for keyboard shortcuts

Scroll down the Keyboard view in Settings and click the + button. The Add Custom Shortcut dialog will appear.

Enter the following information in the Add Custom Shortcut menu:

Name: Terminal

Command: gnome-terminal

Add custom shortcut

Shortcut: Set a shortcut by pressing the “Set Shortcut” button and then setting a shortcut by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T keys simultaneously. The following dialog will appear:

Shortcut to open the Terminal

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

In the Keyboard Shortcuts list, you will be able to see the newly set shortcut in the Custom Shortcuts column as follows:

Shortcut detail summary

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

You can now work more efficiently by avoiding the mouse altogether and focus more on your work by simply ignoring the cursor. You can utilize 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
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Karim Buzdar

About the Author: Karim Buzdar holds a degree in telecommunication engineering and holds several sysadmin certifications. As an IT engineer and technical author, he writes for various web sites. He blogs at LinuxWays.