Ubuntu 18.04 Gnome like Unity (with Microsoft Windows Keyboard Shortcuts)

Some tweaks I learned about to make Ubuntu 18.04 Gnome behave more like Unity did, for those with 'muscle memory'.

Prerequisites

The following requirements need to be installed first:

  1. Open a Terminal window;
  2. Type:
    1. sudo apt install gnome-tweaks dconf-editor
  3. Accept installation of these and any dependencies;

Unity (Compiz) Spread Mode

Open Gnome Tweak Tool (called just 'Tweaks' in the Application Launcher.

  1. Navigate to 'Top Bar';
  2. Enable 'Activities Overview Hot Corner';
  3. Click on the tick-box icon on the lower edge of the window to apply.

Moving the mouse and holding pushed into the upper-left corner will spread out all windows.

Unity Application Launcher top-left

Open DConf Editor (called 'dconf Editor' in the Application Launcher).

  1. Navigate to org / gnome / shell / extensions / dash-to-dock;
  2. Set value 'show-apps-at-top' to 'On';
  3. Click on the tick-box icon on the lower edge of the window to apply.

Unity Windows controls left

Open DConf Editor.

  1. Navigate to org / gnome / desktop / wm / preferences / button-layout;
  2. Click Use default value to Off;
  3. Change Custom value from ":minimize,maximize,close" to "close,minimize,maximize:" (note the : colon and how you can specify the ordering to suit);
  4. Click on the tick-box icon on the lower edge of the window to apply.

Task Switcher show all (ungroup) applications

By default the <Alt> + <Tab> Task Switcher function groups together similar application windows, such as Terminal sessions. The following makes the Task Switcher show all open applications.

Open DConf Editor.

  1. Navigate to org / gnome / desktop / vm / keybindings / switch-applications
  2. Click Use default value to Off;
  3. Remove '<Alt>Tab' leaving just ['<Super>Tab'];
  4. Click on the tick-box icon on the lower edge of the window to apply;
  5. Navigate to org / gnome / desktop / vm / keybindings / switch-applications-backward
  6. Click Use default value to Off;
  7. Remove '<Shift><Alt>Tab' leaving just ['<Shift><Super>Tab'];
  8. Click on the tick-box icon on the lower edge of the window to apply;
  9. Navigate to org / gnome / desktop / vm / keybindings / switch-windows
  10. Click Use default value to Off;
  11. Insert ['<Alt>Tab'];
  12. Click on the tick-box icon on the lower edge of the window to apply;
  13. Navigate to org / gnome / desktop / vm / keybindings / switch-windows-backward
  14. Click Use default value to Off;
  15. Remove ['<Shift><Alt>Tab'];
  16. Click on the tick-box icon on the lower edge of the window to apply;

Gnome with Windows Shortcuts

If, like me, you're accustomed to the Windows ways of <Windows Key> + <M> for minimize all to desktop you'll find it opens the Message Tray (center-top drop-down with Calendar and Activities) instead. The actual key combination is set to <Super> + <D> ('Super' being the Linux term for 'Windows Key', because, reasons).

Message Tray

The first thing that needs changing is the key binding presently assuming the <Super> + <M> combination. Open DConf Editor (called 'dconf Editor' in the Application Launcher).

  1. Navigate to org / gnome / shell / keybindings / toggle-message-tray;
  2. Set 'Use default value' to 'Off';
  3. Edit the 'Custom value' box to contain just ['<Super>t'] (including the square brackets, per the original content);
  4. Click on the tick-box icon on the lower edge of the window to apply.

Note: The <Super> + <T> combination was selected partly because it still reflects the 'T' of 'Message Tray' (or 'Tasks') and because it appears unassigned to any other use.

Minimize All

Still within DConf Editor and <Super> + <M> freed-up in the previous steps:

  1. Navigate to org / gnome / desktop / wm / keybindings / show-desktop;
  2. Set 'Use default value' to 'Off';
  3. Edit the 'Custom value' box to contain just ['<Super>m'] (including the square brackets, per the original content);
  4. Click on the tick-box icon on the lower edge of the window to apply.

'Start / Run'

Continuing the Windows-learned key behaviours, <Windows> + <R> for 'Start / Run' is another memory muscle go-to combination.

Once again, within DConf Editor:

  1. Navigate to org / gnome / shell / keybindings / toggle-application-view;
  2. Set 'Use default value' to 'Off';
  3. Edit the 'Custom value' box to contain just ['<Super>r'] (including the square brackets, per the original content);
  4. Click on the tick-box icon on the lower edge of the window to apply.

This will be the equivalent of clicking on the Application Launcher; however, you can start typing in commands and the text-box automatically gains focus.

File Explorer

On Windows the File Explorer can be opened with the <Super> + <E> combination.

This time, within Settings:

  1. Navigate to Devices;
  2. Click on Keyboard;
  3. Scroll all the way down to a "+" ('plus') sign and click on it;
  4. Fill in the following:
    1. Name: File Manager;
    2. Command: nautilus -w;
    3. Shortcut: (click Set Shortcut...) and press <Super> + <E>;
    4. Click Add.

Notes: 'Name' can be anything you prefer; while 'nautilus' is the default Gnome file manager, it can be substituted for your preferred alternative tool. The use of the '-w' parameter causes Nautilus to open as a new window, mirroring the Windows behaviour.

Lock Screen

Thankfully this one is already catered for, so nothing to do here!