Configuration changes I did to Gnome 3 to fit my preferences

UI tweaks

Install “gnome-tweak-tool”

  • Fonts: for window titles, I put a 6px font
  • Windows titlebar: middle button shows menu, right button shades window

Set mouse to “sloppy focus” (mouse focus, i.e. does not require click to focus on a window)

$ gconftool-2 --type string --set /apps/metacity/general/focus_mode mouse

Useful key-bindings

  • Alt+F2 : launch command
  • Ctrl+Alt+Tab : switch to panel (so that you can navigate panel elements with the keyboard)
  • Ctrl+Shift+Alt+R: Start and end screencast recording
  • Ctrl+Alt+Up/Down arrow: Switch between workspaces
  • Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Up/Down arrow: Move the current window to a different workspace

Mouse movements:

  • Alt + click in window: moves window
  • Alt + middle-click in window: resizes window


You can change keyboard bindings by going to “User menu” -> “System preferences” -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts, I changed:

  • Launch command (was Alt + F2) changed to Alt + ESC
  • New terminal: Alt + F12

More UI customizations with devilspie

Remove the titlebar and other window decorations on Firefox and Terminals:


(if (is (application_name) "Iceweasel") (undecorate))


(if (is (window_class) "Gnome-terminal") (undecorate))


Fun with gsettings

$ gsettings list-schemas

$ gsettings list-keys

$ gsettings list-recursively

$ gsettings set show-date true


Special “quick run” (alt+f2) commands

Alt+F2 opens the “quick run” dialog (where you can type a program name). It also has a few special commands:

  • r : restart gnome-shell
  • lg : open the looking-glass (although, besides basic math, I haven’t found much use to it)

Hiding the top bar, except on overview mode

I’m not used to having a panel always on my screen, so I find the top bar in Gnome to be rather distracting and taking too much screen space. I created a new extension based on fpmurphy’s autohidetopbar to always hide the top bar, except in overview mode (the initial extension still displayed it if you place the mouse at the top of the screen, but I found that distracting too).

To install:

Alternatively, and since new versions often take a lot of time to approve, you can install from the git repository.

In a terminal:

cd ~/.local/share/gnome-shell/extensions/
git clone
gnome-shell-extension-tool -e hidetopbar

Programming gnome-shell extensions

Official documentation:

Tutorials by fpmurphy:

Tweener documentation:

Viewing errors while enabling/disaling extensions:

  • if you use gdm: ~/.cache/gdm/session.log
  • if you use xdm: ~/.xsession-errors