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setxkbmap - set the keyboard using the X Keyboard Extension
setxkbmap [ args ] [ layout [ variant [ option ... ] ] ]
The setxkbmap command maps the keyboard to use the layout determined by
the options specified on the command line.
An XKB keymap is constructed from a number of components which are com-
piled only as needed. The source for all of the components can be
found in /usr/X11R7/lib/X11/xkb.
Specifies the name of the compatibility map component used to
construct a keyboard layout.
Specifies the name of an XKB configuration file which describes
the keyboard to be used.
Specifies the numeric device id of the input device to be
updated with the new keyboard layout. If not specified, the
core keyboard device of the X server is updated.
Specifies the display to be updated with the new keyboard lay-
Specifies the name of the geometry component used to construct
a keyboard layout.
-help Prints a message describing the valid input to setxkbmap.
Adds a directory to the list of directories to be used to
search for specified layout or rules files.
Specifies the name of the keycodes component used to construct
a keyboard layout.
Specifies the name of the keymap description used to construct
a keyboard layout.
Specifies the name of the layout used to determine the compo-
nents which make up the keyboard description. The -layout
option may only be used once. Multiple layouts can be specified
as a comma-separated list.
Specifies the name of the keyboard model used to determine the
components which make up the keyboard description. Only one
model may be specified on the command line.
Specifies the name of an option to determine the components
which make up the keyboard description; multiple options may
be specified, one per -option flag. Note that setxkbmap adds
options specified in the command line to the options that were
set before (as saved in root window properties). If you want to
replace all previously specified options, use the -option flag
with an empty argument first.
-print With this option setxkbmap just prints component names in a
format acceptable by xkbcomp (an XKB keymap compiler) and
exits. The option can be used for tests instead of a verbose
option and in cases when one needs to run both the setxkbmap
and the xkbcomp in chain (see below).
-query With this option setxkbmap just prints the current rules,
model, layout, variant, and options, then exits.
Specifies the name of the rules file used to resolve the
requested layout and model to a set of component names.
Specifies the name of the symbols component used to construct a
-synch Force synchronization for X requests.
Specifies the name of the types component used to construct a
Specifies which variant of the keyboard layout should be used
to determine the components which make up the keyboard descrip-
tion. The -variant option may only be used once. Multiple vari-
ants can be specified as a comma-separated list and will be
matched with the layouts specified with -layout.
Specifies level of verbosity in output messages. Valid levels
range from 0 (least verbose) to 10 (most verbose). The default
verbosity level is 5. If no level is specified, each -v or
-verbose flag raises the level by 1.
Prints the program's version number.
USING WITH xkbcomp
If you have an Xserver and a client shell running on different comput-
ers and some XKB configuration files on those machines are different,
you can get problems specifying a keyboard map by model, layout, and
options names. This is because setxkbmap converts its arguments to
names of XKB configuration files according to files that are on the
client-side computer, then sends these file names to the server where
xkbcomp has to compose a complete keyboard map using files which the
server has. Thus if the sets of files differ in some way, the names
that setxkbmap generates can be unacceptable on the server side. You
can solve this problem by running the xkbcomp on the client side too.
With the -print option setxkbmap just prints the file names in an
appropriate format to its stdout and this output can be piped directly
to the xkbcomp input. For example, the command
setxkbmap us -print | xkbcomp - $DISPLAY
makes both steps run on the same (client) machine and loads a keyboard
map into the server.
Xwayland is an X server that uses a Wayland Compositor as backend.
Xwayland acts as translation layer between the X protocol and the Way-
land protocol but does not manage the keymaps - these are handled by
the Wayland Compositor.
Changing the keymap with setxkbmap is not supported by Xwayland. In
most instances, using setxkbmap on Xwayland is indicative of a bug in a
shell script and setxkbmap will print a warning. Use the Wayland Com-
positor's native XKB configuration methods instead.
X Version 11 SETXKBMAP(1)