Tip: How to change MATE system menu keyboard shortcuts

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Tip: How to change MATE system menu keyboard shortcuts

Postby mideal » Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:46 pm

Deutsche Anleitung "Tastenkürzel in Systemmenüs ändern" unter: http://dh.mideal.de/?p=17

The reason how I came to this tip doesn't exist English language distro directly (as ALT-Space-n usually IS the shortcut to minimize in Linux), but the instructions below can be used to eliminate problems with double assigned menu shortcuts (often seen in localizations - even in commercial software). Nevertheless I'll show the way to change the "minimize" function (as I translate this tip from my tip in a German forum:-)

For a longer period of time I bothered about German localized distributions that keyboard shortcut


doesn't minimize program windows (like in Windows (XP)).

I know well such citations "Linux is not Windows", "make a shortcut on your own" ...

Blabla. In German versions of Windows there is no shortcut to minimize windows and it is not possible to create one (without special software which you may not be allowed to use at work). Since Windows 3.0 the "ALT-Space-n" finger movements have been burned into my spinal cord, so if I work with Windows over the day and sit in front of my Linux Mint (Nadia 64 Mate) in the evening (or sometimes on both systems parallel or even with Windows in a virtual machine), I can almost get nuts with always the wrong menu entry getting called.

System menu shortcuts are handled by your windows manager which is marco in Linux Mint Mate. Shortcuts are defined by a underscore "_" (in Windows the "&"is used) and the following character, so "Mi_nimize" says that "n" will do exactly this when the menu is open. During development, internationalization (i18n) or lokalization (l10n) these keyboard shortcuts are store in .po-files. After program installation you can find them as *.mo-Dateien in your running system, in my case it was


The file location changes from language to language ("en" is for English), and they may vary in other distributions - it helps to search for "marco.mo" yourself. Backup the file first (very important, to check file length later). After that open the original using e.g. GHex (available with software administration, but will work even with Windows-Notepad) as root using sudo ghex. Open /usr/share/locale/en/LC_MESSAGES/marco.mo, search for "Mi_nimize" and change it (e.g. to "Minimi_ze"). Changing from "_M.." to ".._n.." in a German l10n brings up the next problem (mentioned in the beginning): double assignments of keyboard shortcut. I guess that will not happen with "Minimi_ze" in the English version, but "_n" is used for "move to another workplace" in German, so you'll have to change that entry, too. (I never used this function with keyboard shortcuts, so I didn't care much about which letter.) Save the file, and after restarting (log off/log on is enough) the new keyboard shortcut settings are active.

Check the file length before restarting (compare file properties with the backuped file) to be sure you didn't wreck anyhing. I'm not sure if changing the lengh will damage the file integrity, but I rather be on the safe side. The text strings are quite changeable, they aren't checked at all.

So if you ancounter any double assignments in any other software package (it happens all the time in translations, especially in new versions with added menu functions) it can pretty well assumed that you can fix it without any compile. Give it a try.

I'm looking for a similar, easy way to change menu keyboard entries for Firefox and Thunderbird
(see my thread for that: viewtopic.php?f=47&t=147390).

(Edit: German intro with link/Link auf deutsche Anleitung)
(Edit: link to FF&TB thread)
Last edited by xenopeek on Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Clarified subject that this is only for MATE, and not for other desktop environments.
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