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 compiled only as needed. The source for all of the components can be found in /usr/share/X11/xkb.
- -compat name
Specifies the name of the compatibility map component used to construct a keyboard layout.
- -config file
Specifies the name of an XKB configuration file which describes the keyboard to be used.
- -device device
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.
- -display display
Specifies the display to be updated with the new keyboard layout.
- -geometry name
Specifies the name of the geometry component used to construct a keyboard layout.
Prints a message describing the valid input to setxkbmap.
- -I directory
Adds a directory to the list of directories to be used to search for specified layout or rules files.
- -keycodes name
Specifies the name of the keycodes component used to construct a keyboard layout.
- -keymap name
Specifies the name of the keymap description used to construct a keyboard layout.
- -layout name
Specifies the name of the layout used to determine the components which make up the keyboard description. The -layout option may only be used once. Multiple layouts can be specified as a comma-separated list.
- -model name
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.
- -option name
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.
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).
With this option setxkbmap just prints the current rules, model, layout, variant, and options, then exits.
- -rules file
Specifies the name of the rules file used to resolve the requested layout and model to a set of component names.
- -symbols name
Specifies the name of the symbols component used to construct a keyboard layout.
Force synchronization for X requests.
- -types name
Specifies the name of the types component used to construct a keyboard layout.
- -variant name
Specifies which variant of the keyboard layout should be used to determine the components which make up the keyboard description. The -variant option may only be used once. Multiple variants can be specified as a comma-separated list and will be matched with the layouts specified with -layout.
- -verbose|-v [level]
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.
If you have an Xserver and a client shell running on different computers 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.