How do you open the window manager settings from the command line?

I'm trying to modify my keyboard shortcuts, but when i click the applications menu -> settings -> window manager nothing happens.

Hopefully by running it from the command line I can at least see if there has been an error.


I was able to find keyboard shortcuts in the file :~/.config/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/xfce-keyboard-shortcuts.xml. These match the values found from xfconf-query -c xfce4-keyboard-shortcuts -l as suggested below.

Unfortunately, only one of the keyboard shortcuts that I am trying to disable is in there. For example, super + up key is maximising windows and is not a binding that I can find using the above technique.

The reason why I am doing this is because the super key is stuck when trying to access via VNC. All solutions seem to suggest simply removing any bindings that use the super key.

  • it depends on what window manager you're running.
    – strugee
    Oct 28, 2013 at 5:23
  • Sorry, its xfce, the question was tagged with "xfce" but thats obviously not clear enough. Question edited.
    – muzzamo
    Oct 28, 2013 at 5:30
  • 1
    xfce is your desktop environment, not your window manager. you can run different window managers on top of the same desktop environment, which is why I asked.
    – strugee
    Oct 28, 2013 at 5:36
  • +1 for mentioning the relevant config file for the xfce window manager keyboard shortcuts Jun 21, 2016 at 7:50

3 Answers 3


Assuming you are using xfwm, the default window manager for Xfce, then you can access the configuration settings using Xfconf-query.

For example, to list all the properties in the panel, you would use:

xfconf-query -c xfce4-panel -l

There is a list of examples on the project page.

According to the Arch Wiki, you can also run xfce4-keyboard-settings to manage key binds.

  • So if i specifically wanted to edit keyboard shortcuts, how would I do this using xfconf-query? This is the output when i run xfconf-query: murray@echelon:/links/complete$ xfconf-query Channels: xsettings thunar-volman keyboards keyboard-layout xfwm4 xfce4-appfinder xfce4-session thunar xfce4-keyboard-shortcuts xfce4-panel
    – muzzamo
    Oct 28, 2013 at 5:35
  • Then you would use xfconf-query -c xfce4-keyboard-shortcuts -l to list the current properties and s to switch. I have also updated my answer with another approach.
    – jasonwryan
    Oct 28, 2013 at 5:42

Had the same problem - mine is rather that I can't get my polkit configured correctly and so all my sudo apps won't run - but I can run them from the command line. That'll do for now. But finding those was a pain. Use the "Application Finder" menu, and then when you see the list, double click the one you are looking for or look at the tool tip. It shows the app to launch and the path to find it. enter image description here


Dug up and examined the contents of /usr/share/applications/xfce-wm-settings.desktop representing the Window Manager icon in the main menu, and found the command to open the Window Manager settings from the command line to bexfwm4-settings.

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