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GNOME’s Overlay Help For Keyboard S/C & Touch Gestures

There isn’t anything new to this, other that is “marked” as one of the GTK priorities on the 2014 Developer Experience Hackfest. What it does, is to display the keyboard shortcuts (potentially touch gestures too) in an overlay window, for GNOME Apps and GNOME Shell.

The overlay window is activated with “F1”, and the general help (yelp) will be available with another button through it.


  • Discover shortcuts and gestures without having to hunt for them
  • Prioritize the display of items
  • Intelligently display only items that make sense for available input methods
  • Show context specific items


The very impressive work that it will be available ..”soon”!

[caption id="attachment_25928" align="aligncenter" width="640"]clocks-stopwatch-overlay Applications which are divided into different views initially present shortcuts for the current view only.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_25929" align="aligncenter" width="640"]clocks-stopwatch-show-all-overlay Pressing the Show All toggle button allows the shortcuts for all views to be displayed at once.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_25927" align="aligncenter" width="640"]gedit-overlay If an application doesn’t have separate views, all its shortcuts are shown, and there isn’t a Show All button. Potentially interesting shortcuts are highlighted.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_25930" align="aligncenter" width="640"]shell-overlay-help Pressing F1 in the Activities Overview shows overlay help for system shortcuts.[/caption]

These are just mockups, but I won’t say that they may come, they may not. This work will definitely come, maybe slightly different but we will see it. At least this is the plan.

Implementation hasn’t been started yet, but hopefully it will be here by GNOME 3.16 release (my speculation!). Besides with the extensive use of Popovers (that they don’t display s/c), shortcuts are hard to be discovered. That makes Overlay Help a strong necessity.

GNOME OS Overlay Help Wiki    GNOME Overlay Help Designs

There are not plans to edit shortcuts from Overlay; Please do read the above wiki for more info about how is going to work!

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