I'm used to quickly closing windows on i3wm and SwayWM, where I would just press WIN+SHIFT+Q. I've already checked and there are no alternatives for elementary OS except ALT+F4, which is annoying since I have to press FN as well.

What is the terminal command ALT+F4 uses to close the currently highlighted window? I want to use that command in the Custom section of the Keyboard settings.

1 Answer 1


I've already checked and there are no alternatives for elementary OS except ALT+F4

Well that is the "alternative" if I see it from your point of view. But like KDE, GNOME and many others yours is the real alternative and a rarity of a non spoken rule to define ALT+F4 as a way to close active windows

In elementary OS's Pantheon we call it shortcut, you may keep calling it alternative

If I start to think where it came the idea of this shortcut (or alternative), I'll probably will have to go back to the 80's where a lot of Common User Access standards were written/defined and then Microsoft thought to use F4 better than Q in case a non English speaker will use the shortcut (associated with Quit) or a DVORAK layout user who will not have the Q up there

Also you could check System reserved shortcuts for GNOME in https://developer.gnome.org/hig/stable/keyboard-input.html.en

And for KDE you'll find them in https://docs.kde.org/trunk5/en/applications/fundamentals/kbd.html

All of them using the "alternative"

I understand you want something like XF86Close, a simple command. But doesn't work when I tested it.


In terms of kill the current active window, isn't simple to achieve but you could do it by binding

"xkill -id $(xprop -root | grep NET_ACTIVE_WINDOW\( | cut -d# -f2)"

, to a key

ref: https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?pid=897968#p897968


$ xdotool key Alt+F4

To install it: sudo apt install xdotool


$ wmctrl -c :ACTIVE:

To install it: sudo apt install wmctrl


You could play with xev

Check the outputs and remap it (/usr/share/X11/xkb/keycodes/evdev)

My ALT+F4 from xev:

KeyPress event, serial 38, synthetic NO, window 0x4a00001,
    root 0x6c6, subw 0x0, time 1732231, (-131,275), root:(500,652),
    state 0x10, keycode 64 (keysym 0xffe9, Alt_L), same_screen YES,
    XLookupString gives 0 bytes: 
    XmbLookupString gives 0 bytes: 
    XFilterEvent returns: False

FocusOut event, serial 38, synthetic NO, window 0x4a00001,
    mode NotifyGrab, detail NotifyAncestor

ClientMessage event, serial 38, synthetic YES, window 0x4a00001,
    message_type 0x132 (WM_PROTOCOLS), format 32, message 0x130 (WM_DELETE_WINDOW)

More info about map them and the use of xkb



  • Will this ask the program to quit, like pressing the X, or does it kill the program without saving the changes?
    – user16868
    Commented Dec 29, 2018 at 20:07
  • Just kill. From man xkill - This command does not provide any warranty that the application whose connection to the X server is closed will abort nicely, or even abort at all. All this command does is to close the connection to the X server. Many existing applications do indeed abort when their connection to the X server is closed, but some can choose to continue.. I added a few more ways.
    – Sebastian
    Commented Dec 29, 2018 at 20:46
  • Killing a program means most likely losing some data. What does pressing the X (close) button do? I'm guessing it tries to properly close the program. This is the action I want to achieve.
    – user16868
    Commented Dec 30, 2018 at 9:13

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