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 Post subject: [One][Ice][Two] How To switch between keyboard layouts
PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 3:20 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 20, 2010 8:56 am
Posts: 2132
Class: LXPanel Howto
Difficulty: A tiny bit of text editing, know your keyboard layout codes
Time: No time at all, really
Desirability: Situational: Linguists are going to want this, for sure.


This is a howto about ways of switching keyboard layout on the fly in Peppermint OS.

Ready, setxkbmap, go

The most straightforward way of changing layout in Peppermint OS is to go through preferences -> keyboard / mouse and select a new layout from the dialogue. The change happens immediately and the window can be left open for switching back.

For the heavy layout switcher, though, this is a touch cumbersome, so there's also a keyboard layout switcher applet available as a plugin to lxpanel. To make this useful, we first have to add some keyboard layouts to switch between.

Note: If you already know the code for your keyboard map, don't bother with this step -- it can confuse as mintInput doesn't actually list (as far as I can tell) every possible keyboard map available, but only a selection. However, if you don't know the code corresponding to the keymap you want, look for it in the keyboard/mouse dialogue; it lists a good selection. The country code system it uses should be pretty clear. If you can't find it there, then you might find it listed in the directory /usr/share/X11/xkbd/symbols. If you're still unsure, Google for your keyboard map code, or ask on the forums if all else fails, and we will try to help.

Open the text editor and create ~/.linuxmint/skl

cd .linuxmint
gedit skl

Use the following stanzas and add as many keyboard layouts as you like to the 'setxkbmap' line, e.g. I have


setxkbmap gb,fr

For GB and French layouts. So the format is comma separated, no spaces between layouts.

If you want to, at this stage, you can also add options, for example to have the alt + shift keys together switch layouts, too.

setxkbmap gb,fr -option "grp:alt_shift_toggle"

If you're interested in adding more options and finding out the full capabilities of setxkbmap, then

man setxkbmap

for the relevant manual page.

Save and close. Make it executable.

chmod +x skl

Further, run the command to update the layouts.


There shouldn't be any errors. If all has gone well, right click on the clock and select add/remove panel items, click the add button and select the keyboard layout switcher. Left clicking on it will switch between the keyboard layouts; there are also options to set a default layout, application specific layouts and whether to put letters or a flag as the icon in the right click -> "Keyboard Layout Switcher" Settings dialogue.


Last edited by enginerd on Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:16 am, edited 7 times in total.
Thanks to unforgiven8419 for suggesting binding switching layouts to a key. Thanks to vallvall for Peppermint 2 update.


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