LXDE/Openbox keyboard shortcuts cheat sheet

If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed that lately I’ve taken an interest in Unixy things. That’s right. Unixy is a word.

I’ve tried Ubuntu a few times but was never very happy with the performance. When I learned that Lubuntu can run the same packages as Ubuntu but is faster, I had to try it out. The difference in performance is noticeable. I’ve been running Lubuntu alongside my Windows 7 install for a week or so now and come to prefer it.

As it turns out, the difference in performance is mostly due to the LXDE desktop environment that comes bundled with the Lubuntu desktop installation. The slowness I experienced with Ubuntu was mostly due to the Unity desktop environment. (I had the same problem with GNOME on Ubuntu, although I liked its UI better than Unity’s.) I think this means that any ‘buntu distribution will be more responsive using LXDE instead of Unity.

I can’t function very well without keyboard shortcuts, and I can’t find a cheat sheet anywhere, so here’s one for you (but mostly for me). Some of these shortcuts are specific to LXDE while others are specific to Openbox – the window manager that comes with LXDE. You can modify any of them by going to ~/.config/openbox/ and opening the file ending with rc.xml. (See this page of the Openbox wiki for details.)

Note: The “super” key is usually bound to the Windows key on keyboards which have one.

Default LXDE/Openbox bindings

Action Binding
Go to desktop (direction) ctrl + alt + arrow
Go to desktop (number) super + f1/f2/f3/f4
Send to desktop shift + alt + arrow
Toggle show desktop super + d
Close window alt + f4
Hide window alt + esc
Window menu alt + space
Next window alt + tab
Previous window alt + shift + tab
Go to window (direction) super + shift + arrow
Toggle fullscreen f11

LXDE specific bindings

Action Binding Alt. binding
Window list (sticky) ctrl + alt + tab
PCMan File Manager super + e ctrl + alt + d
LXPanel Run super + r alt + f2
LXPanel Menu alt + f1 ctrl + esc
LXTask (task manager) ctrl + alt + del
Open terminal ctrl + alt + t
Lock screen ctrl + alt + l

Lubuntu specific bindings

Action Binding
Take a screenshot alt + print screen

I’m not sure about all of these, so let me know if I missed any or put them in the wrong places.

26 thoughts on “LXDE/Openbox keyboard shortcuts cheat sheet

  1. Christopher M

    only thing I dont see is there is no restart x with CTRL ALT backspace… I dont see a way to restart x blah!


  2. ishitcno1

    I use ubuntu 12.04 server 64bit and lxde. It’s faster and more clear than ubuntu 13.04 desktop on my laptop.
    Nice work of the shortcuts.

  3. gudrun

    Do you have any idea how to log out with a key binding?I entered the netbook session at log in screen and all I see is a black screen now.

  4. buisteric

    Hi, ALT-F1 doesn’t work on Ubuntu 14.04, and no other similar keys, e.g., Windows (Super), ALT-F10 (menu in Unity), etc. Seems there is no way to open the main menu with the keyboard.

    1. Dave Post author

      Seems I didn’t have that one listed either. I thought I remembered the super key opening the menu in Unity but that was a couple versions ago.

  5. Rune Jeppesen

    I like the Lubuntu as well.
    But I think a shortcut is messing with another tool I would like to user: Ternjs.

    When I try this demo on Ubuntu, Windows it works, but not on Lubuntu :(
    ctrl-space after ‘co’ in the demo box here: http://ternjs.net/doc/demo.html

    Do you have any idea how to solve this?

    1. Dave Post author

      Apparently ctrl + space maps to minimize/maximize window in Lubuntu. I’m not sure if this is a new one or if I missed it before. See if this works:

      I went to Menu > Preferences > Keyboard Input Methods and where it says Next Input Method I deleted the bind to control space.

      If not, then ctrl + space could be mapped to enable/disable input editor in IBus. See here.

      Failing that, try poking around in ~/.config/openbox.

      By the way, thanks for telling me about Tern. That is way cool!

      1. Rune Jeppesen

        Awesome! Now it works :-) Thank you.
        You’re welcome – yes it looks very promising (I haven’t been able to use it with ctrl space before now ;-)

  6. zimon

    Alt+(mouse button 1) will drag windows. This is useful when one has lxpanel configured on top of the screen and sometimes title bars of the windows still get under the lxpanel although there is not enabled “Allow windows to be placed within the dock’s area”. Only other way to get the window from under lxpanel is to change lxpanel location from top to somewhere else and then move window dragging from title bar, then restore lxpanel back to top.

    So. for search engines: “Q: how to change window location in LXDE when window title bar is under the panel (lxpanel) on top?” “A: Alt+(mouse button 1) allow you drag a window”

        1. Dave Post author

          Nah I’m using Unity on 14.04 as well. It’s a different box entirely, so I can’t say if all the performance problems were fixed. But, despite certain annoying features, I really like the way it looks.

          1. Christopher Marlow

            only problem I have with UNITY is when your in the workplace switcher where I see the 6 desktops and I go to move firefox from say workspace 2 to 1( by grabbing the window and dragging it to workspace 1) the screen freezes on the workspace switcher and I cant do anything but switch to a text terminal CTRL ALT F6 and kill lightdm and then restart it. =[

            1. Dave Post author

              Ouch, that’s annoying. I can’t say I use workspaces all that much, but I’ll try it out and let you know if I have the same prob.

  7. Pingback: A shortcut to move a window between workspaces in LXDE - Boot Panic

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