Rpi keyboard short cuts

Raspberry Insider - Top 15 raspberry pi keyboard shortcuts

Top 15 raspberry pi keyboard shortcuts

So the Raspbian OS has been on the market for a while now, and we’ve seen it evolve from the days of Wheezy version, Jessie to the current Raspbian stretch. If you are anything like me, then you probably enjoy using shortcuts on your computer, regardless of the operating system you are on.

The Raspbian OS is based on Debian but optimized for Raspberry Pi Single board computers hence most of the shortcuts that run smoothly on Debian Stretch should work on the Raspbian operating system –the official OS for all Pi devices since 2015.

Let’s look at some of the most useful shortcuts for your Raspberry Pi:

  • Cmd+R –Launch ‘Run’

On your Raspberry Pi, this shortcut will open/start the ‘Run’ feature, which helps you open apps or execute other commands. An alternative to this shortcut is the ‘alt + f2.’

  • Cmd+E – Open An Explorer Window

This shortcut is used to open an explorer window on your Pi. You can use this to browse and transfer files to and from your device. This command is essential when you don’t have any mouse lying around. An alternative to this shortcut is the ‘ctrl + alt + d.’

  • ALT+SPACE+M –Move Or Resize Your Current Window.

This is another excellent shortcut that could make using your raspberry much easier. It enables you to move/ resize the current window using just arrow keys. You should also remember to press enter when done moving! Note: to see more window options, just press the ‘Alt-Space’ alone.

  • Windows + D –Hide Or Show Your Desktop

Another interesting shortcut is the Windows + D. This one helps you hide or display your desktop.  Another alternative related to this is the shift + alt + arrow,  which enables you to perform the ‘send to desktop’  function.

  • Alt+F11 –Switch to full screen.

This is another useful shortcut you can find your raspberry device. It is used to view your current window in full screen. This is an advantageous feature when doing anything from writing commands to watching movies on the system.

As we keep looking at other useful shortcuts for your Pi, it is important to remember that the letters; C,S,A, and W stand for the Control, Shift, Alt and Windows/meta /super keys on your Pi SBC computer.

  • Windows + F1/F2/F3/F4 – Switch Desktop

Ever wondered how to switch from one desktop to another on Pi?  Well, this shortcut helps you do just that. You can switch to any desktop by going through the f1, f2, f3, etc. keys ( this is number based switch). Ctrl + Alt + arrow is another key that helps you switch desktop ( direction based method).

  • ALT + F4 – Close Window

Using this shortcut, you can easily close the current windows that you are working on. It is important to always  remember to save all data before closing the window as not all apps will warn you which puts you at risk of losing data.

  • ALT + ESC – Hide Window

We’ve seen the ‘show/hide’ desktop shortcut. However, the ‘Alt + Esc’ helps you hide the window you are currently working on.

  • ALT + TAB – Go To The Next Window

Another useful shortcut on this list is the alt-tab that helps you move over to the next window. An alternative closely related to this is the alt + shift + tab, which switches over to the previous window.

  • CTRL + ALT + TAB – Open Windows List.

This shortcut pulls up the windows list, allowing you to switch to your desired window.

  • ALT + F1 – Menu

This shortcut is used to display the menu on the window you are working on. You can alternatively use ctrl + esc for this function.

  • CTRL + ALT + DEL – Launch Task Manager

Use this shortcut to run the task manager on your Raspberry Pi.

  • CTRL + ALT + T – Open Terminal

This is another interesting shortcut available for your Pi. It is used to Open terminal.

  • CTRL + ALT + L – Lock Your Screen

This shortcut is used to easily lock your screen when you are done using your Pi device.

  • ALT + PRINT SCREEN – Take A Screenshot

Say you want someone’s input on the code you are writing, or straight up help when you are stuck somewhere, use this shortcut to take quick screenshots.

Related Questions:

Question 1: What Are Some Common Raspberry Pi Commands?

Using commands on your Pi should almost come as second nature over time as commands make using the Raspbian operating system much easier. Let’s now look at some of the common Pi commands.


Many commands help provide you with more information about your system. These include;

  • cat /proc/meminfo:  Gives you memory information.
  • cat /proc/partitions: Gives you information on the number and sizes of any Sd cards or hard drives connected to your Pi.
  • cat /proc/version: displays system version info.
  • df –h: Gives information on the available disk space.
  • dpkg – –get–selections: displays all your currently installed packages.
  • Free: this command displays the available free memory on your Pi.
  • Hostname -I: Shows the IP address of your raspberry pi.
  • Lsusb: provides a list of all connected USB devices.


  • apt-get update: helps ensure that you are installing the latest version of packages on your system by synchronizing your system package list.
  • apt-get upgrade:  this command is used to upgrade all currently installed software packages.
  • Clear: this command clears the terminal screen.
  • Date: writes out the current date.
  • find /: this command searches the wholes system for file matching the name you put, then displays the results.
  • Poweroff: Shuts down the PC immediately. Another related command is ‘shutdown -h now’ which does the same thing.
  • raspi-config: This command launches the setting menu on your Pi.
  • reboot: Use this command to reboot immediately.
  • shutdown -h hh:mm:  this command tells the computer to shut down at the particular time.
  • Startx: if your Pi starts from the command line, you can use the above command to run the GUI (Graphical User Interface)


  • cd /abc/xyz: this command changes the file directory.
  • Cp: this command simply copies and pastes a specified file/files.
  • Mv: this command moves a file to a new specified location on the system.
  • Ls: this command lists all files within the selected directory together with their size and permissions. You can then apply other commands to move, copy or even delete the files.


  • Wget: this command is used to download a file from a specified URL and save it in on a folder within the Pi.
  • Ifconfig: used to check your wireless connection status.
  • iwlist wlan0 scan: this is a very useful command as it displays a list of all available wireless networks.
  • nmap: This command scans your Pi and lists all connected devices, plus any info associated with each including port number, protocol, MAC addresses, etc.
  • ping: is an excellent command that tests the connectivity status of two computers or devices on the same network.

Using these commands will enhance your experience with the Raspbian operating system. Whether you are missing a mouse or want to execute functions faster, combining shortcuts with commands is both enjoyable and time-saving.

Question 2: How to return to the command line in raspberry pi?

Say you open a file using idle on your Pi. Running the command without adding an ampersand (&) will make it a foreground process and hence your – pi@raspberrypi ~ $ – line will disappear leaving you with a blank window.  There are two methods to fix this and return to the command line:

  1. Adding an ampersand (&)  to your command line before running it is the best solution to avoid this. If you find that you didn’t do this, you can try quitting the current foreground process and go back to the command line.
  2. Another method involves converting the terminal window itself to a background task by typing in ^Z (control/Z) directly to the terminal window. The downside of this method is that the actual foreground process you opened earlier will be suspended.

Question 3: Is there a Raspberry Pi terminal emulator?

Yes! One of the best terminal emulator available for PIs is Putty. The software is entirely free and open source which is a plus as you get a lot of people around the world working on it. It is also used to transfer files via networks and as a serial console. It is available for most operating systems including Windows, Mac, and Linux and since Raspbian is a Debian based Os which is Linux based, hence you can install it on your raspberry device in few simple steps:

To install Putty: just run the following commands:

  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get install putty

Note: adding ‘Sudo’ gives you admin rights on the system.

Have fun!

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