Kali Linux users have a lot of typing ahead of them. The process of gathering reconnaisance information before launching an attack, and finally using penetration testing tools against a target system, usually involves a lot of keystrokes and maybe a few command line terminals.

To maximize your productivity in Kali and save yourself some time, you can learn some keyboard shortcuts. In this guide, we've compiled a bunch of useful keyboard shortcuts into a cheat sheet, so you can refer back to it any time you need. We'll also show you how to create your own keyboard shortcuts.

In this tutorial you will learn:
  • Kali Linux keyboard shortcuts cheat sheet
  • How to create custom keyboard shortcuts
List of Kali Linux keyboard shortcuts
List of Kali Linux keyboard shortcuts
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Kali Linux
Software N/A
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # - requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ - requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Kali keyboard shortcuts

In this guide, we're assuming you're using Xfce, the default desktop environment for Kali. Other environments, like GNOME and KDE, may have different keyboard shortcuts than the ones listed here.

General shortcuts

Keyboard shortcut Description
Ctrl + Alt + T Open a new command line terminal
Alt + F4 Close current window
Alt + F11 Maximize current window
PrtSc Take a screenshot
Super + PrtSc Open Kazam (screenshot/screencast tool)
Alt + F3 Open Application Finder

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Terminal shortcuts

Keyboard shortcut Description
Ctrl + D Close terminal window
Ctrl + C Cancel currently running command
Ctrl + L Clear terminal
Ctrl + + Zoom in
Ctrl + - Zoom out
Ctrl + A Move cursor to beginning of line
Ctrl + B Move cursor backward one character
Ctrl + E Move cursor to end of line
Ctrl + F Move cursor forward one character


Create custom keyboard shortcuts

Again, these steps are for the Xfce desktop environment. Other environments also have their own keyboard shortcut menus, so the steps below should still apply.

  1. Search for "keyboard" in the application launcher to open the keyboard settings menu.

    Open the keyboard settings menu to access shortcuts
    Open the keyboard settings menu to access shortcuts
  2. Select the "Application Shortcuts" tab. You can see all currently configured keyboard shortcuts, and add your own with the "add" button at the bottom. If you want to get rid of any shortcuts, you can highlight them and click "remove."

    List of configured keyboard shortcuts, where we can also add our own
    List of configured keyboard shortcuts, where we can also add our own

Closing Thoughts

In this guide, we saw some useful keyboard shortcuts for Kali Linux. We also saw how to configure custom keyboard shortcuts. This can help improve your workflow, as it saves keystrokes and will keep you from reaching for the mouse as often. Most of the terminal shortcuts will also apply for any Linux system, so they can be useful regardless of what distro you're using.

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