Extra keyboard keys in Xorg
When we are in a graphical environment we may want to execute a command when certain key combination is pressed. There are some ways of doing that and they are covered on this page.
Map keysyms to actions
There are multiple ways to do that:
- The most portable way using low level tools, such as acpid. Not all keys are supported, but configuration in uniform way is possible for keyboard keys, power adapter connection and even headphone jack (un)plugging events.
- The universal way using Xorg utilities (e.g. Xbindkeys) and eventually your desktop environment or window manager tools.
- The quicker way using a third-party program to do everything in GUI, such as the Gnome Control Center or Keytouch.
Using your Desktop Environment tools
Gnome Control Center is quite complete for the extra keyboard keys management. In fact it can directly detect scancodes which means that it can map any key seen by the kernel.
Keyboard shortcuts can be configured in System Settings -> Shortcuts and Gestures.
If you use Xmonad as a stand alone window manager, you can edit the xmonad.hs to add unbound keyboard keys. You just need to find the Xf86 name of the key (such as XF86PowerDown) and look it up in
/usr/include/X11/XF86keysym.h. It will give you a keycode (like 0x1008FF2A) which you can use to add a line like the following in the keybindings section of your
((0, 0x1008FF2A), spawn "sudo pm-suspend")
Open your ~/.i3/config and just bind the keysym to a command:
bindsym XF86MonBrightnessDown exec xbacklight -dec 10 bindsym Print exec scrot
Using third-party programs
A simple X hotkey daemon with a powerful and compact configuration syntax.
Available as AUR.AUR and AUR in
KeyTouch is a program which allows you to easily configure the extra function keys of your keyboard. This means that you can define, for every individual function key, what to do if it is pressed.
See the detailed article: keytouch.
From actkbd home page:
- actkbd (available in AUR) is a simple daemon that binds actions to keyboard events. It recognises key combinations and can handle press, repeat and release events. Currently it only supports the linux-2.6 evdev interface. It uses a plain-text configuration file which contains all the bindings.
A sample configuration and guide is available here.
xbindkeys allows advanced mapping of keysyms to actions independently of the Desktop Environment.