Alt+<key> window menu shortcuts cannot be disabled

Bug #1113420 reported by Dražen Lučanin on 2013-02-02
This bug affects 19 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
nautilus (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

I find the <alt> key ergonomically very useful (it can be pressed with a thumb without moving any of the "letter" fingers) and I would like to use it for many custom keyboard shortcuts (there is a reason why it plays such a big role in Emacs and the whole OS X for that matter).

Currently, though, <alt> is hardcoded to activate window menu entries (such as <alt>+F for the file menu, <alt>+E for the edit menu) and there is no way to surpass this functionality in all the applications. Personally, I find these shortcuts quite useless - they take you to "copy", "paste", and "open file" which have standard shortcuts anyway (with the exception of preferences, which for some reason don't have a standardized shortcut even though that's often the only thing a person looks for up there).

Expected behaviour

What I would like to see is a global option to disable these alt+<key> menu shortcuts to free up the <alt> key for other uses (similar to the option already available in gnome-terminal, only global). Preferably, activating this option would also remove the first-letter underlining in the menu to indicate to users that they can't acess it through shortcuts.

(I marked nautilus for apport to collect my version numbers, but this affects most applications - didn't know what the right target is)

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 12.10
Package: nautilus 1:3.5.90.really.3.4.2-0ubuntu4.1
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 3.5.0-23.35-generic
Uname: Linux 3.5.0-23-generic x86_64
ApportVersion: 2.6.1-0ubuntu10
Architecture: amd64
Date: Sat Feb 2 13:22:32 2013
ExecutablePath: /usr/bin/nautilus
 b'org.gnome.nautilus.window-state' b'geometry' b"'931x626+1+80'"
 b'org.gnome.nautilus.window-state' b'start-with-status-bar' b'true'
InstallationDate: Installed on 2012-10-19 (106 days ago)
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 12.10 "Quantal Quetzal" - Release amd64 (20121017.5)
MarkForUpload: True
SourcePackage: nautilus
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install)

Dražen Lučanin (kermit666) wrote :
Pjack Chen (pjack-chen) wrote :

This bug really annoy me too. I cannot use some Alt+<key> shortcut key in bash. ex: Alt+f, Alt + (left arrow key), Alt + (right arrow key)

In the terminal application in specific, you can disable the menu shortcuts
it in the options (otherwise I don't know how would I edit long commands).

For all the other applications, though, it is not possible to free
alt-shortcuts for other uses.

On Wed, May 29, 2013 at 12:59 PM, Pjack Chen <email address hidden> wrote:

> This bug really annoy me too. I cannot use some Alt+<key> shortcut key
> in bash. ex: Alt+f, Alt + (left arrow key), Alt + (right arrow key)
> --
> You received this bug notification because you are subscribed to the bug
> report.
> Title:
> Alt+<key> window menu shortcuts cannot be disabled
> To manage notifications about this bug go to:

Dražen Lučanin (kermit666) wrote :

BTW, Pjack Chen, you can mark this bug as "affecting you" on top of the page (under the bug title).

Dražen Lučanin (kermit666) wrote :

Woohoo! It seems that this is already possible! I just read this comment on an SO question

System Settings - Keyboard - Shortcuts tab - Windows section - Disable "Activate the window menu"

Although this is only alt+space initially, disabling it removes all the alt+<key> window menu shorcuts. Since this is the case, this bug report can be aimed at making that description clearer.

Dražen Lučanin (kermit666) wrote :

False alarm, it doesn't really work :(

It seemed to be working for Chromium, but not for all applications. Seems that Chromium didn't have these "shortcut" menu items - just alt+f mapping to its options.

The bug remains open...

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Oleksandr Senkovych (blackjack) wrote :

Alt+menu shortcut shortcuts doesn't work also (e.g. Alt+F should open &File menu)

ngsupb (ngsupb) wrote :

This issue is still in 14.04

Belarrius (belarrius) wrote :

Same bug here! on Ubuntu 14.04

I play at WoW with wine and the alt+a and alt+e bug my game!

It's not possible to disable alt+a or alt+e ....

I found a work around in ubuntu forum :

*** quote ***
To disable mnemonics you should create (if it doesn't already exist) ~/.gtkrc-2.0. This file should contain the line gtk-enable- mnemonics = 0 (you can add other GTK settings if you'd like). Then, restart for the changes to take effect (you may be able to log out then log in instead).

I don't know what are mnemonics, and it might depends on which version of gtk your application is using.

Elijah Lynn (elijah-lynn) wrote :

The above comment didn't work for me. It seems in Ubuntu 14.04, Nautilus uses GTK-3.0 and in 3.0 they moved away from the gtkrc files and use settings.ini files in various locations.

For Nautilus on Ubuntu 14.04:

Create the following path & file if it doesn't already exist.
Then add:
gtk-enable-mnemonics = 0
Then logout and log back in.


Better formatting here =>

midopa (midopa) wrote :

#13 that doesn't work for me.

According to GTK docs, this setting has been disabled since 3.10, which is what's on 14.04.

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