Cyberborean Chronicles

Using “win-key” in KDE

It is nearly impossible to buy a PC keyboard without a key with the flag icon, which is usually referred as a “Win-key”. It is, of course, a question if there are any logical reasons to stamp a particular private OS logo on a universal hardware, but I am not going to discuss it right now. Instead of that, let’s see how to use this additional key for improving Linux user productivity.

I have no idea what is it doing in Windows, but the greatest advantage of this key in KDE is that it does nothing by default. Also, this is a modifier key (like Shift, Ctrl or Alt), so it can be used for setting a lot of custom keyboard shortcuts. While the most of “Ctrl+” and “Alt+” combinations are usually reserved by applications, “Win+” is vacant and ideal for defining various global system shortcuts.

There is my experience of using Win-key combinations:

“Win” is for the windows, I think

The most of shortcuts are related to the windows and desktop management actions:

  • Win+Return maximizes a window and Ctrl+Win+Return makes it full-screen.
  • Win+Backspace minimizes a window.
  • Win+Esc closes a window.
  • Win+Space shows desktop (minimizes all windows).
  • Win+number (Win+1, Win+2…) switches to the given desktop. Also, Win+Up/Down switches to the previous or next desktop (I use vertical desktop pager).
  • Ctrl+Win+number and Ctrl+Win+Up/Down moves active window to the specified desktop.
  • Win+Menu shows a list of all windows on all desktops.


Win-key in combination with additional numeric keypad (aka “grey keys”) is used for controlling AmaroK audioplayer.

  • Win+GrayInsert is for play/pause.
  • Win+GrayPlus and Win+GrayMinus manage sound volume and Win+GrayMultiply mutes volume.
  • Win+GrayLeft/Win+GrayRight switches the tracks

Launching the applications

Combinations of the Win-key with alphabetic keys are used for quick launching the most needed applications and utilities. There are lot of them and it makes no sense to enumerate them here – every user has her own list of preferred software.

Win-key is a good thing, whatever a logo is there. Finally, everyone might put a penguin or K-gear sticker on it :-)

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