Compiz Fusion Keyboard Shortcuts

For Linux users who are fortunate enough to be playing with the Desktop Effects on their favorite Linux distribution – mine is Ubuntu, here’s a list of keyboard shortcuts for the Compiz Fusion Desktop Effects that you may have been looking for. I have put together a list mainly because I’ve had a hard time finding a comprehensive list from a single location. I may have missed something, so please let me know. One more thing, the Super key is the Windows key in case you are wondering. Here are the shortcuts.

Desktop Effects1 Keyboard Shortcuts
Rotate Cube Mousewheel on Desktop
Switcher2 Alt + Tab
Shift Switcher3 Super + Tab (2 modes: flip and cover)
Ring Switcher Super + Tab – overrides Shift Switcher
Expo Super + E (toggle)
Film Effect Ctrl + Alt + Down Arrow4
Rotate Cube Manually Ctrl + Alt + Left Mouse Button
Scale Windows Alt + Shift + Up Arrow
Show/Clear Desktop Ctrl + Alt + D (toggle)
Snapping Windows Move a window across workspaces5
Screenshot Super + Left Mouse Button
Zoom In/Out Super + Mousewheel
Transparent Window Alt + Mousewheel
Resize Window Alt + F8
Move Window Alt + F7
Add Helper Super + P
Widget Layer F9 (toggle)
Water Effects Shift + F9 (toggle)
Fire Effects: On Super + Shift + Left Mouse Button
Fire Effects: Clear Super + Shift + C
Annotate: Draw Super + Left Mouse Button
Annotate: Start Super + 1
Annotate: End Super + 3
Group: Select Window(s) Super + S
Group: Group Windows Super + T
Group: Ungroup Windows Super + U
Group: Flip Windows Super + Right or Left Arrow

1 Effects have to be enabled to see results.
2 To see the full effect, have multiple windows or programs open.
3 To configure: Go to Advanced Desktop Effects Settings.
4 Use left and right arrow thereafter to move to workspaces.
5 Disables Wobbly Windows.

Make sure the effects are enabled to see results. You can do so by going to System – Preferences – Advanced Desktop Effects Settings. Some effects will disable others. For example, the Desktop Wall will disable the Desktop Cube, Snapping Windows will disable Wobbly Windows and many more. Please let me know if I missed something, so I can add more effects to the list.

44 thoughts on “Compiz Fusion Keyboard Shortcuts

  1. Tyler, the Super key is the Windows key. That’s what a lot of Linux users call it. I think just they are just trying to avoid saying Windows.

  2. Thanks for the comment. I am new to Linux. Right now I am using Sabayon. I only have 512 megs of ram and it moves really slow sometimes.

    Compiz is really cool! QUESTION>

    Is there a big difference in Sabayon and Debian Gnome? Debian is 4.5 gigs!

    Someone really needs to write a user’s manual for the top Linux Distros.


    What about the Bluetooth server in Linux? Is there a way to connect it to a PDA or regular cellphone?

  3. Tyler, I’m not familiar with Sabayon nor Gentoo, so I couldn’t tell you the nuances of a Gentoo-based vs Debian-based distros. Regarding your memory situation, you should look into getting bigger memory. Another thing to consider is to make sure your swap space is big enough. By the way, Bluetooth works in Ubuntu, but I have not personally have used it.

  4. Thanks for the very useful list! Just one thing that perhaps you are aware of, but which is not necessarily obvious from your wording: namely that there are two ways to rotate the cube using the mousewheel on the desktop.

    The first one is maybe the most obvious – roll the wheel to roll the cube one workspace at a time. The second is to click and hold the mousewheel on an empty bit of desktop and then move the mouse to freely move the cube.

    Cheers ears!

  5. Rich, that holding down the mouseweel is very helpful! Sure beats holding down 2 keys and a mouse button, thanks!

  6. One shortcut you haven’t got listed is to click the left and right mouse buttons at the same time, then move your mouse to freely rotate your cube.

  7. THE SUPER KEY –> its called formerly APPLE key.. at the mac world.. now its called COMMAND 😉 .. I think it would be a relatively neutral solution isntead of saying the bad “W” word 😉
    btw, thx for the nice work.. even if some of the effects do not work probably at my ubuntu.. I guess I simply have to configure it.. right ?

  8. thanks, I had my wiggly windows, but couldn’t figure out the rest of it. btw this makes vista’s Aero look like a pile of crap, this is fucking awesome.

  9. In the compiz config settings manager i enabled the desktop cube but i cant see any effects . what is happening ? is it that i dont know how to use it or is there any fault with my graphics . plz help me

  10. When I press Ctrl + Alt + D (toggle) and even some other commands

    the screen goes black .. then 4 lines of text appears, then i get logged of and then am put at the Unutnu Hardy login Screen

    Why does this happen? its really annoying


  11. Jeremy, Sounds like you’re restarting your Xserver. I get the same 4 lines of text when I reboot after making changes to xorg.conf. By the way, you can restart the Xserver using the Ctrl-Alt-Backspace keys. Save your work first.

  12. I love Linux!
    Vista becomes a pile of shit near this awesome effects!!!
    Wow! I’m impressed and my love for Linux grew in my heart!

    Thanks a lot for the shortcuts dude!
    And thanks the gang who have created the compiz fusion wonder!!!

  13. Nice collection, although most of the things not working in my fc8 warewolf. I guess my super key isn’t working properly. I would appreciate anyone who got compiz fusion running on fc8 and send me shot-cut list.

    Your helo is much appreciated. Long live Linux!

    1. KMN, that’s going to be to the key to some features in Compiz, the Super Key. I’m just curious more than anything why your Super Key is not working.

      1. Hmm.. that would be lack of my knowledge regarding compiz fusion…

        First of all, I wrote the above message short after installing compiz in my compaq presario laptop. However playing with a bit of it, then realized I was missing main and extra compiz plugins, so downloaded them by yum. Soon after everything was just going smooth. Compiz definitely blows out many M$ lovers choice of OS’s and stands up!

        Compiz not only presents pretty cute desktop but also increases usability. As a heavy desktop user and programmer I feel compiz definitely boosts up my productivity. Although I didn’t play much with recent OSX, I am damn sure compiz fusion adds on new dimension of desktop computing.

        Now cube. cylinder, switcher, shelf etc, all working in my fc8.

        My super key isn’t working I guess this about keyboard layout. I will have a look at it once I get time.

        Thanks for your concern. Have a good one.

        K M Nur
        Dhaka, Bangladesh

  14. hey thanks, I never knew that i have already this effects installed in my computer till I got this shortcuts WOW my desktop is so awesome thanks dude.

  15. What is that Super key ? I dont wanna be look stupid, but i’m not a english regular speaker and maybe i did not understood well. Thanks in advice.

  16. I have a IBM thinkpad T41 and my keyboard doesnt have a windows key nor an apple key what key would be the superkey?

  17. This is really cool. Thanks. I’m still missing one piece of the puzzle still. When I use something like Super + E to show my workspaces and then select one where I am running a Windowz VirtualBox VM, the keyboard is grabbed and I can’t switch back without clicking out of the VM window. What I would like is to have three OSes running (host + 2 guests running in full screen) set up where I can go from full screen VM to full screen VM, without having to exit full screen each time I want to switch. I am pretty sure it’s possible as I believe I have seen a video of it.

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