O'Reilly logo

Ubuntu Hacks by Bill Childers, Kyle Rankin, Jonathan Oxer

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Hack #48. Enable Your Multimedia Keyboard

Make the most of the additional keys on your multimedia keyboard.

When you press a key on your keyboard, it detects the key press and sends a corresponding "keycode," which is then matched using a lookup table that converts the keycode to a character. However, many modern keyboards have a variety of additional keys that typically return keycodes that aren't included in the standard lookup table, so Linux doesn't know what to do with them.

In Ubuntu, you can use these extra keys as shortcuts for such tasks as opening email, launching a browser, or changing audio volume. With the help of GNOME Preferences, you can configure some special actions, but for maximum flexibility, Hotkeys lets you completely customize shortcut-key behavior.

Assign GNOME Keyboard Shortcuts

If you want to create shortcuts only for basic tasks, start by opening System→Preferences→Keyboard Shortcuts to see a list of predefined actions, as shown in Figure 5-1.

Use System Preferences Keyboard Shortcuts to assign common actions to keys

Figure 5-1. Use System Preferences Keyboard Shortcuts to assign common actions to keys

Click on the shortcut entry for an action and then press the key combination you want to associate with it. For example, if you want F7 to launch your web browser, click the shortcut entry next to "Launch web browser" and then press F7. Changes are applied immediately, so there is no need to save the new settings.

The built-in GNOME ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required