The elementary OS Challenge was amazing, and this community is 100% to blame for that! Not only did eOS team members Cassidy James and Daniel Fore show up to the party, but hundreds of elementary OS veterans gave endless assistance to the rookies in the group. The Linux community is the best community on the planet, full stop.

The challenge is over, but I wanted to collect some of the best tips and tricks that emerged from our Telegram group. If you stumble across this as a brand new elementary OS user, I hope they'll help make your experience a great one.


Productivity Tips

From Cassidy James | @CassidyJames

1) My favorite window/workspace related productivity tip: bottom-left hotcorner as Multitasking Overview. It's not quite a multitouch gesture, but then you can two-finger swipe between workspaces.

2) Set a Compose Key in keyboard settings. Then you can tap it and other keys to do special characters. Super handy for US keyboard layouts that lack all kinds of special characters.

3) Middle-click (or three-finger-tap) Panel indicator icons to toggle them on/off.

From Ilyosjon Kamoldinov | @ilyosjon09

Tired of switching workspaces using arrow keys or mouse? You can switch to specific workspace basing on its order using a Super + 1-9 shortcut. For example: if you have 5 workspaces, you can quickly switch to workspace 2 just by hitting Super + 2.

Another cool trick of workspaces is moving current window to any other workspace quickly. Press Super + Alt + right/left or 1-9 to move current active window to target workspace.

From Me | @KillYourFM

Elementary OS doesn’t include a traditional minimize window button, but you have easy alternatives that are built in:

  1. Simply click the app icon on the dock again to minimize its window
  2. Right click the titlebar of any app to minimize it.
  3. Use the keyboard shortcut Super+H to Hide the active window.

Terminal Tips

From Ray Gervais | @GervaisRay

1) To remove orphaned packages left on your system:

$ sudo apt-get autoremove

2) The command [!!] repeats a previous command with anything prefixed before it. For example:

$ apt-get install

(oops, you forgot sudo!)

$ sudo !!

Result: sudo apt-get install

3) I highly recommend those who work in the terminal to watch this video (also follow the YouTuber!):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zuwa8zlfXSY


Install elementary OS On MacBooks

From Kalyani Gadgil | @GadgilKalyani

To install Elementary OS (or most Linux distros) on MacBooks, special drivers for WiFi adapters need to be installed. Find out which network adapter you’re using with the command:

 lspci -nnk | grep 0280 -A3

If it says Broadcom Limited BCM4360 802.11ac Wireless Network Adapter [14e4:43a0], you will need different drivers.

Install Elementary OS, then restart the computer and access the liveBoot. We need to install the necessary dependencies and the bcmwl drivers via the liveBoot because it has access to the Internet. Here are the full instructions and discussion from StackOverflow.

Commands needed as follows:

   $ sudo mkdir /media/target
   $ sudo mount /dev/sda2 /media/target
   $ sudo mount ‐‐bind /dev /media/target/dev
   $ sudo mount ‐‐bind /proc /media/target/proc
   $ sudo mount ‐‐bind /sys /media/target/sys
   $ sudo chroot /media/target
   $ sudo apt install bcmwl-kernel-source

Tweaking elementary OS

From ꜱᴩʀɪᴛᴇ➀

I’ve always felt that the default title bar height was too tall especially for non-GTK apps that won’t utilize customized header bars anyway. So here’s a CSS snippet you can use to take back some vertical space from said apps. Useful for laptops. To use, just open the Terminal and do:

sudo io.elementary.code /usr/share/themes/elementary/gtk-3.0/apps.css

And paste this code at the bottom of the file and save.

There are tutorials all over the web for re-enabling the system tray icons on elementary OS using the old ayatana package but afterwards, you are left with app tray icons that have an awkwardly huge gap between them. To make the gap smaller, open the Terminal and do:

sudo io.elementary.code /usr/share/themes/elementary/gtk-3.0/apps.css

And look for .composited-indicator. Once you find it, change it so the padding is set to 0.

.composited-indicator {
       padding: 0 0px;
   }

These are basically my “essential” tweaks for elementary OS myself. I also maintain a shared Simplenote document where I put all current and future tweaks I discover or come up with.

From Dionatan Simioni | @blogdiolinux

1) I miss the tray icons, so, we can put it back: https://goo.gl/HU2EJa

2) I also have a “to do list” for after install: https://goo.gl/i3C6UH

3) And finally, for those who miss the desktop workflow: https://goo.gl/ypZpHY

From @Eugene__619

Have you ever wondered how to create a custom desktop shortcut in elementary or other distro?

Some .appimage apps won't create them for you or some apps were specifically made for other distros, or some apps don't have an installer. My personal example is Blender 2.80, gafferhq, substance painter and substance designer.

Here how to do it step by step:

1) Open your favorite text editor (such as Code, built in to eOS)

2) Paste and edit that example:

       [Desktop Entry]
       Name=Name of your application
       GenericName= for example "web browser"
       Comment= you can left a tooltip and/or describe what that app do.
       Keywords= that used for search. Whenever I installing chrome I always add a spyware to that list.
       Exec=/path/to/your/app
       Icon=/path/to/your/icon or you can use icon from icon pack. just simply type name of app
       Terminal=true/false if you want that app run in terminal for example I set that value true when I run gafferhq. In that way I always have a additional information.
       Type=Application/Link/Directory.
       Categories=Could be Graphics;3DGraphics;

3) Save that file as a .desktop and move or make a link to that file in /usr/share/applications. Personally, I usually make a link to that file.

Move: (mv stands for move)

sudo mv /path/to/your/entry.desktop /usr/share/applications/entry.desktop

Link: (ln stands for link and -s means you creating a soft link.)

sudo ln -s /path/to/your/entry.desktop /usr/share/applications/entry.desktop

4) If you done it right new entry should be added to your application menu.


Heaps of enthusiastic thank-yous to the entire elementary OS community for chipping in and making our first distro challenge a success.

Want to join a great elementary OS Telegram group? https://t.me/elementaryosusers

See ya next time!