While using an application on XFCE, pressing a keyboard shortcut\hotkey that overlaps with an XFCE hotkey, I find the XFCE hotkey effect taking place instead.

For instance, Eclipse IDE has the hotkey: Shift + Alt + S, while XFCE switches the keyboard layout by using the hotkey Shift + Alt.

So when I press Shift + Alt, the keyboard layout changes before I have the chance to complete the hotkey combination and press S.

A colleague suggested that this is because XFCE processes hotkeys when they are pressed, not when they are released.

I do not want to change these shortcuts because I use Windows and Linux all the time and I do not want to confuse my self.

My questions are:

  • How to configure XFCE to process hotkeys on key release, not on key pressing
  • Does Enlightenment, Gnome 3, Mate, Cinnamon handle keyboard hotkeys better than XFCE ? Or at least in the way I'm mentioning here, which is on key releasing, not on key presssing.
  • What other desktop environments handle hotkeys on releasing and not on pressing ?
  • FYI: My in-app hotkeys were working fine in XFCE until I installed Cinnamon, and later went back to XFCE (same Xubuntu 22.04.3 install). Disabling the new autostarted applications that Cinnamon added fixed it. There was one that bound the super key. Jan 31 at 3:32

2 Answers 2


It's an Xorg bug. Fixed here for Manjaro Linux. I had to follow these steps to manually skip PGP checking !

  • Tested on Ubuntu 16.04, works brilliant. Aug 28, 2018 at 8:35

Muhammad's answer wasn't quite enough to fix this for me. Particularly in the case using the Super (Windows) key. I'm using Arch Linux with XFCE installed. I'll explain how I fixed this problem.

  1. I downloaded the libxfce4ui source code from here (and used the instructions later): http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/blfs/view/7.8/xfce/libxfce4ui.html
  2. I downloaded the patch file for this library from this link: https://bugzilla.xfce.org/show_bug.cgi?id=7845
  3. I extracted the downloaded file from step 1 with tar xvf libxfce4ui-4.12.1.tar.bz2
  4. I navigated into the extracted folder and applied the patch from step 2 with cd libxfce4ui-4.12.1 and patch -p1 < patchfile
  5. I followed the instructions from download page in step 1 to build and install that library. You will need to install gcc if it is not installed already.

    ./configure --prefix=/usr --sysconfdir=/etc &&
    sudo make install

After a reboot, everything worked well! I hope this helps!

To answer your follow-up question, XFCE is an outlier, every other DE I've tried (Desktop Environment) handles key bindings on release instead of press. This includes:

  • Gnome
  • KDE
  • Cinnamon
  • Mate
  • LXDE
  • LXQT

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