Get your CTRL+ALT+Fx keyboard shortcuts back in Ubuntu 11.10

I’m now using Ubuntu on my work desktop (nice change). My favourite IDE, IntelliJ Idea has a very useful shortcut CTRL+ALT+F7 to Show Usages of anything under the cursor. Its one of the most simple yet powerful features of the app. The unfortunate problem is that X11 uses CTRL+ALT+F<1..6> to switch between consoles and CTRL+ALT+F<7..9> to switch between desktops and it wins, so IntelliJ doesn’t respond to that useful shortcut anymore.

Tucked away in the Keyboard Layout control panel is an Options… button which brings up an options dialog with various options to configure your keyboard strokes – different to the normal Keyboard bindings you find in the normal Keyboard settings. These are more how you want the keys to be mapped rather than mapping them to functions. Under Miscellaneous compatibility options¬†you’ll find ‘Special keys (Ctrl+Alt+<key>) handled in a server‘ and ticking this gives your shortcuts back to the desktop apps.

Most *nix software wouldn’t assign shortcuts to the ctrl+alt+f<n> because its an accepted convention, but for software that works on multiple OS’, its nice to take this back.