I have installed nautilus to enable desktop icons in elementary OS Loki. It works fine but is there any way to add a button that can I use to click and show desktop? Like the ones in Windows at right bottom corner?

Is there any command that I can write in Custom Command box in Hot Corners settings?

  • For a solution using Hot corners, see here: elementaryos.stackexchange.com/a/439/9
    – Gabriel
    Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 2:10
  • Is there any way to to show the desktop, at first, and later on when the desktop is showed again the windows I covered? Microsoft Windows behavior like Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 2:18

5 Answers 5


There are two easy options.

  1. Ctrl + right click on plank and go to preferences. There is a show desktop docklet.

  2. Hot corner solution. Install wmctrl

sudo apt install wmctrl

Then you can use wmctrl -k on in the custom command box.

  • This is not a command that you can quickly toggle. But it works for hiding all windows. Showing again...not so much. Commented May 29, 2017 at 8:28

I came looking for a solution to showing the desktop in a single key press and the solution of mapping wmctrl -k on to SUPER + D got the job done. Quite handy if you have a really funky conky monitoring configuration running on the desktop.

Note that the above seems to be a half solution though.

If you want to restore the windows you were working on afterwards then you need another keypress for wmctrl -k off to restore the applications. I mapped mine to SUPER + SHIFT + D for ease of memory.

Works like a charm.



There's an "elementary" Solution for it (pun intended)

  • Keep pressed CTRL
  • Right Click anywhere over
  • Click on Preferences
  • Click on Docklets enter image description here
  • Drag the Desktop icon into
  • Profit

Docklets in Spanish was translated as Agregados, a really bad translation must say. Better to keep it as Docklets

  • This dialog is also opened with the command /usr/bin/plank --preferences Commented Jun 10 at 18:04

Install Windows Management control or wmctrl: sudo apt install wmctrl

now, typing the following command in the terminal will show the desktop: wmctrl -k on

That is OK, but it is easier with a keyboard shortcut.

  • Open System Settings->Keyboard (or search keyboard in Applications for Loki 0.4 Elementary OS and possibly other distributions)

  • Go to 'Shortcuts tab

  • Go to 'Custom'

  • Click the '+' and type wmctrl -k on and 'Enter'

  • The shortcut will show is 'Disabled' on the right

  • Click on 'Disabled' and click on the shortcut you like for example the 'Windows' button + D, also known as 'Super + D' enter image description here

  • Try it: click you shortcut. You should see the desktop

That is it. You are done.

Note: this answer is basically the same as Alex's above, I just added more detailed steps (and tried to +1 his, but not enough reputation :)

  • I created an account here solely to upvote this complete answer.
    – james6125
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 14:25

First install wmctrl:

sudo apt install wmctrl

Then go to Keyboard -> Shortcuts and click on the last option "Custom". Add a new command by clicking on the "+" on the bottom of the window. Insert the command:

wmctrl -k on

First, it will be displayed as "Disable", all you have to do is set the shortcut you want you. In my case, I've set "super+d" enter image description here

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