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Xmodmap is a utility for modifying keymaps and pointer button mappings in Xorg.
On a Linux system using Xorg, there are two types of keyboard values: keycodes and keysyms.
- The keycode is the numeric representation received by the Linux kernel when a keyboard key or a mouse button is pressed.
- The keysym is the value assigned to the keycode. For example, when you press the A key on the keyboard, it generates keycode 73. Keycode 73 is mapped to the keysym 0×61 which corresponds to the letter a in the ASCII table.
- The keysyms are managed by Xorg in a table of keycodes defining the keycode-keysym relations. The command
xmodmapcan be used to show/modify that key table.
- install it from the official repositories. provides a graphical front-end to xmodmap, you can
Print the current keymap table formatted into expressions:
$ xmodmap -pke
keycode 57 = n N
Each keymap is followed by the
keysyms it is mapped to. The above example indicates that the keycode
57 is mapped to the lowercase n, while the uppercase N is mapped to keycode
Each keysym column in the table corresponds to a particular key combination:
Not all keysyms have to be set, but if you want to assign a latter keysym without assigning earlier ones set them to
You can check which keymap corresponds to a key on your keyboard with xev.
XF86Mail). Those keycodes can be found in:
You can create your own map and store it in your home directory (i.e.
~/.Xmodmap). Print the current keymap table into a configuration file:
xmodmap -pke > ~/.Xmodmap
Make the desired changes to
~/.Xmodmap and then test the new configuration with:
To activate your custom table when starting Xorg add the following:
if [ -s ~/.Xmodmap ]; then xmodmap ~/.Xmodmap fi
Alternatively, edit the global startup script
You can also make temporary changes for the current session. For example:
xmodmap -e "keycode 46 = l L l L lstroke Lstroke lstroke" xmodmap -e "keysym a = e E"
For example this can be useful if your right Control key is not working like your left one but you would like it to.
At first you have to delete/clear the signals that should be edited. In the beginning of your
!clear Shift !clear Lock clear Control !clear Mod1 !clear Mod2 !clear Mod3 clear Mod4 !clear Mod5 keycode 8 = ...
Write the new signals at the end of
keycode 255 = !add Shift = Shift_L Shift_R !add Lock = Caps_Lock add Control = Super_L Super_R !add Mod1 = Alt_L Alt_R !add Mod2 = Mode_switch !add Mod3 = add Mod4 = Control_L Control_R !add Mod5 =
If you get the following error message
X Error of failed request: BadValue (integer parameter out of range for operation) it means the key you are trying to add is already in another modifier, so remove it using "remove MODIFIERNAME = KEYSYMNAME". Running
xmodmap gives you a list of modifiers and keys that are assigned to them.
The natural scrolling feature available in OS X Lion (mimicking smartphone or tablet scrolling) can be replicated with xmodmap. Since the synaptics driver uses the buttons 4/5/6/7 for up/down/left/right scrolling, you simply need to swap the order of how the buttons are declared in
~/.Xmodmap and append the following line to the file:
pointer = 1 2 3 5 4 7 6 8 9 10 11 12
Note how the 4 and 5 have been reversed.
Then update xmodmap:
To return to regular scrolling simply reverse the order of the 4 and 5 or delete the line altogether. For more information check Peter Hutterer's post, Natural scrolling in the synaptics driver, or the Reverse scrolling direction ala Mac OS X Lion? forum thread.
Accents on US keyboards
The following is an example configuration:
AltGr + e -> é AltGr + r -> è AltGr + a -> à AltGr + u -> ù AltGr + i -> ì AltGr + o -> ò AltGr + c -> ç AltGr + [ -> « AltGr + ] -> » AltGr + ; -> dead diaresis (ï, ü, etc.) AltGr + 6 -> dead circumflex (î, ê, etc.)
This is an xmodmap file which remaps keys to match the above example.
clear Mod1 clear Mod2 ! us.map with a few redefinitions keycode 9 = Escape Escape keycode 10 = 1 exclam keycode 11 = 2 at at keycode 12 = 3 numbersign keycode 13 = 4 dollar dollar keycode 14 = 5 percent currency keycode 15 = 6 asciicircum dead_circumflex keycode 16 = 7 ampersand braceleft keycode 17 = 8 asterisk bracketleft keycode 18 = 9 parenleft bracketright keycode 19 = 0 parenright braceright keycode 20 = minus underscore backslash keycode 21 = equal plus keycode 22 = BackSpace Delete keycode 23 = Tab Tab keycode 24 = q keycode 25 = w keycode 26 = e E eacute keycode 27 = r R egrave keycode 28 = t keycode 29 = y keycode 30 = u U ugrave keycode 31 = i I igrave keycode 32 = o O ograve keycode 33 = p keycode 34 = bracketleft braceleft guillemotleft keycode 35 = bracketright braceright guillemotright keycode 36 = Return keycode 37 = Control_L keycode 38 = a A agrave keycode 39 = s keycode 40 = d keycode 41 = f keycode 42 = g keycode 43 = h keycode 44 = j keycode 45 = k keycode 46 = l keycode 47 = semicolon colon dead_diaeresis keycode 48 = apostrophe quotedbl keycode 49 = grave asciitilde dead_grave keycode 50 = Shift_L keycode 51 = backslash bar keycode 52 = z keycode 53 = x keycode 54 = c C ccedilla keycode 55 = v keycode 56 = b keycode 57 = n keycode 58 = m keycode 59 = comma less apostrophe keycode 60 = period greater quotedbl keycode 61 = slash question keycode 62 = Shift_R keycode 63 = KP_Multiply keycode 64 = Alt_L Meta_L keycode 65 = space space keycode 66 = Caps_Lock keycode 67 = F1 F11 keycode 68 = F2 F12 keycode 69 = F3 F13 keycode 70 = F4 F14 keycode 71 = F5 F15 keycode 72 = F6 F16 keycode 73 = F7 F17 keycode 74 = F8 F18 keycode 75 = F9 F19 keycode 76 = F10 F20 keycode 77 = Num_Lock keycode 78 = Scroll_Lock keycode 79 = KP_7 keycode 80 = KP_8 keycode 81 = KP_9 keycode 82 = KP_Subtract keycode 83 = KP_4 keycode 84 = KP_5 keycode 85 = KP_6 keycode 86 = KP_Add keycode 87 = KP_1 keycode 88 = KP_2 keycode 89 = KP_3 keycode 90 = KP_0 keycode 94 = less greater bar keycode 95 = F11 F11 keycode 96 = F12 F12 keycode 108 = KP_Enter keycode 109 = Control_R keycode 112 = KP_Divide keycode 113 = Mode_switch keycode 114 = Break keycode 110 = Find keycode 98 = Up keycode 99 = Prior keycode 100 = Left keycode 102 = Right keycode 115 = Select keycode 104 = Down keycode 105 = Next keycode 106 = Insert keycode 116 = Mode_switch ! right windows-menu key, redefined as Compose key keycode 117 = Multi_key add Mod1 = Alt_L add Mod2 = Mode_switch