How To Show Desktop In GNOME 3

How to show desktop in GNOME 3

How do you show desktop in GNOME 3? GNOME is a wonderful desktop environment but it focuses more on switching between the applications. What if you want to close all the running windows and display just the desktop?

In Windows, you can do this by pressing Windows+D. In Ubuntu Unity, it is done with Ctrl+Super+D shortcut keys. But for some reason, GNOME has the shortcut key to show desktop disabled for some reasons.

When you press Super+D or Ctrl+Super+D, nothing happens. If you want to see the desktop, you’ll have to minimize all running windows one by one. It is not convenient specially if you have several application windows open.

In this quick tutorial, I am going to show you how to add keyboard shortcut to show desktop in GNOME 3.

Add shortcut key to show desktop in GNOME 3

I am using Antergos Linux with GNOME 3.18 in this tutorial, but the steps are applicable to any Linux distribution using any version of GNOME 3. Also, Antergos has Numix theme applied by default. So, you might not see your usual GNOME icons. But I believe the steps are straight forward and you can easily follow it.

Step 1

Go to System Settings. Click on the top right corner, from the drop down, click on the system settings icon.

System Settings in GNOME Antergos Linux

Step 2

When you are in System Settings, look for Keyboard settings.

Keyboard settings in GNOME 3

Step 3

In here, Go to Shortcuts tab and select Navigation from the left side pane. Scroll down a bit and look for Hide all normal windows. You’ll see that it has been disabled.

Shortcut keys in GNOME 3

Step 4

Click once on the key you want to edit, in this case, Hide all normal windows. You’ll see that it has been changed to New accelerator… Now whichever keys you will press, it will be assigned for showing the desktop.

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If you accidently press wrong key combination, just press backspace key and it will be disabled again. Click on it again and use the desired key combination.

Shortcut key edit in GNOME 3

Step 5

Once you have used the desired key combination, just close the system settings. There is no option for saving the changes because changes are saved instantly. In my case, I used Ctrl+Super+D to align it with the behavior in Ubuntu Unity.

Keyboard shortcut edit in GNOME

That’s it folks. Enjoy the shortcut to show desktop in GNOME 3. I hope you found this quick tutorial helpful. Any questions, suggestions or a word of thanks is always welcomed :)


  1. No plz.. In GNOME 3 showing the desktop is as easy as a Ctrl-Alt-Down/Up. You don’t need such functionality.

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