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This article describes how to set up a Korean language environment. It does not cover setting up Korean input on the console.


To use any Korean input method, you need to have Korean fonts installed. Install ttf-nanumAUR from the AUR. If you also want Korean monospaced fonts, install ttf-nanumgothic_codingAUR from the AUR. If you want to view and use Yethangul(옛한글), install ttf-unfonts-core-ibxAUR font.

See also Fonts#Korean.


You should have ko_KR.UTF-8 enabled in /etc/locale.gen. It is recommended that you always use a .UTF-8 locale rather than the ko_KR.EUC-KR locale. For more information, read locale.

Input methods

The following input methods are available for Korean:



Nabi is a standalone Korean input method, developed by Choe Hwanjin, offering many unique features, such as Yethangul support.

Install the nabi-gitAUR package.

Once you have finished the installation, add the following to xprofile, xinitrc, or xsession:

export XIM=nabi
export XIM_ARGS=
export XIM_PROGRAM="nabi"
export XMODIFIERS="@im=nabi"
export GTK_IM_MODULE=xim
export QT_IM_MODULE=xim

Once you restart the X session, nabi will autostart by default. The default Korean keyboard layout is Dubeolsik(두벌식). If you need a different Korean keyboard layout (e.g. Sebeolsik or Dubeolsik Yetgul), click on the system tray icon of nabi, and select a input method from the menu that pops up.


Install scim-hangul.

Now add the following to the user's .xinitrc, .xprofile, or .xsession:

export GTK_IM_MODULE="xim"
export QT_IM_MODULE="scim"
scim -d
Note: The above environment variables differ slightly from the ones recommended in the scim article. We are adding export GTK_IM_MODULE="xim" instead of GTK_IM_MODULE=”scim". This allows us to input Korean in apps such as Chrome and Chromium (though with issues discussed above), and to use backspace properly in GTK+3 applications such as gedit.


Follow the instructions in User:Isaac914/uim to install uim and to get it running. Return to this section after uim is installed and running as the default input method.

Open the uim preferences window by running :

$ uim-pref-gtk (Or, uim-pref-gtk3/uim-pref-qt4)

Within global settings, check on the Specify default IM checkbox. Then, set Byeoru as default. You may also want to disable input methods that you do not plan on using by clicking on the 'edit' button. If you want to quickly switch between Korean and other languages (other than English), check the enable IM switching by hotkey checkbox, and set a hotkey to switch between enabled IMEs.

When you are done with the global preferences, find Byeoru in the tree menu on the left side of the preferences window. From there, you can set the Korean keyboard layout you want to use (e.g. 3 beol), specify the korean/Hanja dictionary that Byeoru will use, and other miscellaneous settings. Then, click on Byeoru Keybinding 1 in the tree menu. Set the hotkey you want to use to enable/disable Byeoru. Most Korean users use Ctrl+space or shift+space.

Note: If you want to use the right Alt key to switch from Korean to English and vice versa, go to the #Using the Right alt key to switch input methods section.

If all went properly, you should now be able to use UIM-byeoru to type in Korean.


Tango-inaccurate.pngThe factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.Tango-inaccurate.png

Reason: These issues were apparently experienced November 2014, they should be rechecked, reported to upstream if still present and their bug report linked here. (Discuss in Talk:Localization/Korean#)
As of November 2014, IBus sometimes doesn't recognize user-set hotkeys for IM switching. This means that you may need to click on the IBus systray icon every time to want to switch input methods.
uim-byeoru may cause Opera to crash.
scim-hangul, as of November 2014, has issues with Google Chrome and Chromium web browsers. With the default environment variables, you cannot input Korean in Google Chrome or Chromium. scim also causes problems in Gedit as of November 2014. When scim-hangul is active, pressing backspace does not work properly. A workaround for both these issues will be explained in #scim-hangul. However, even with this workaround applied, Chrome/Chromium users may find that the preedit string disappears when the spacebar or any other modifier key is pressed. There is currently no known workaround for this issue.
Fcitx-hangul has issues with Google Chrome and Chromium. Some users have reported that fcitx only recognizes Google Chrome/Chromium's URL bar as an input window only after their themes have been changed.
nabi-gitAUR is a standalone Korean input method that is being developed by Choehwanjin. Nabi provides many unique features, such as Yethangul support. If you only need to use Korean and English input, you may want to install nabi. Currently, nabi causes an issue with chromium. When you press the spacebar, the preedit string will be placed after the space, causing your input to look like this: 한 글입력 에문제 가있습니다


In some cases, Libreoffice will not take Korean input from any input method. To resolve this issue, try adding export OOO_FORCE_DESKTOP="gnome" to .xinitrc, .xprofile, or .xsession.

Tips and Tricks

Using the Right alt key to switch input methods

You can use the right Alt key (e.g. '한/영키') to switch between Input methods if you are using uim, scim, or nabi. To do this, add the following lines after the environment variables that start your input method:

xmodmap -e 'remove mod1 = Alt_R'
xmodmap -e 'keycode 108 = Hangul'
xmodmap -e 'remove control = Control_R'
xmodmap -e 'keycode 105 = Hangul_Hanja'

Then, in the settings of your input method, add the right Alt key as a hotkey to switch IMEs. The right Alt key has been remapped to a non-modifier key called "Hangul". The script above also allows you to use the right Ctrl key (e.g. '한자키') to activate Hanja input. The right Ctrl key should also have been remapped to "Hangul_Hanja". Add this key as a Hanja hotkey within the settings of your input method. If adding that to your .xprofile or .xinitrc file did not work, create a script containing those four lines and set it to auto execute when your desktop environment starts up.