Is it possible to take a keybind/keyboard shortcut and turn it into a CLI command or integrate that keybind/keyboard shortcut into a script that can then be executed in BASH?

I know this would be highly dependent on the terminal emu that one is using. for example: i'm using "terminator", and i want to fullscreen it with a command rather than the F11 keybind that it ships with. i could make a simple alias like this:

alias fullscreen="terminator -f"

the new alias only opens another terminator window in fullscreen, while the F11 keybind fullscreens the current terminator window. ideally, i would want to incorporate the keystroke.

I'm not even sure that this can be done. if there is any other details i am forgetting, just let me know.

2 Answers 2


If you want your terminal window to go fullscreen with a terminal command - specially if your goal is to make it terminal independent - you can use wmctrl like this (if you for some reason do not have it installed already just sudo apt-get install wmctr first) :

wmctrl -r :ACTIVE: -b toggle,fullscreen
  • This is very helpful for this particular case. but the fullscreen instance was just for an example, so the main question i have still stands. the kbshortcut-to-CLI command could apply in many other ways. so i imagine that it'd be sort of a specialized case-by-case sort of thing, so i suspect that there isn't a universal answer. Nov 6, 2019 at 22:06
  • Actually in that case you can use xdotool like this : xdotool key F11 and this will fire the global shortcut assigned to F11. you could even specify it such that it applies to a different open window than the one you have currently selected. You can try this for example xdotool selectwindow windowfocus key F11 . You will get a special cursor and any window you click on will get a F11 shortcut fired within it. Bear in mind that the selectwindow is just an example and using xdotool search [--name/--class] windowfocus key [F11] lets you fire that shortcut from another terminal.
    – Neticegear
    Nov 7, 2019 at 20:04
  • Again; very helpful. I will look into both of your suggestions. Thank you. Nov 7, 2019 at 20:39
  • one thing i forgot to mention was that even though xdotool is pretty much the go-to tool for window-mouse-keyboard interactions from a terminal (you can do some neat things with it, including quasi-immitating human mouse-keyboard interaction for some pesky web apps that expect you to keep window in focus while a timer runs down before letting you move onto the next slide ) sometimes may not be installed along with the newest kernels so give sudo apt install xdotool and givexdotool key F11 a try from any terminal window.
    – Neticegear
    Nov 7, 2019 at 21:10

bash allows you to use the bind command to attach a command to a key sequence. So

bind -x '"\ea": ls -l"

sets up the sequence Escape a to run the ls -l command. Depending on your terminal emulator and settings, you probably can probably use a modifier key such as Alt with the a to send this sequence.

This functionality is provided by the readline library. Other programs such as gdb also use this library and it can be configured via the ~/.inputrc file.

As @BarBar1234 has noted, there are a programs that can resize windows, iconify them etc. I like xdotool

For completeness I should mention that terminal programs such as xterm allow you to set up translations which allows, amongst other things, the ability to insert() strings.

  • This is also very helpful. I have not yet used the bind command, and it looks like it has way more to it than something as simple as my question. I will give this a try, though, because i can see this custom commands and keybinds as an issue coming up quite a lot in my future. I have xterm installed on my machine, and i intend of switching over to it asap. it has exactly the type of functionality i want. for now, i am stuck using Terminator, so i was hoping to emulate some of the features in xterm. I should probably learn both. Nov 7, 2019 at 21:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.