Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I type dvorak, but I don't like to confuse other users by having it be a system-wide default.

I have a script that runs setxbmap dvorak that I can call when I want dvorak and likewise another script that runs setxbmap us when I want qwerty.

For X, that's fine. How do I get this behavior in the real console (Ctrl-Alt-F3)?

i.e. how can I change the console keymap to dvorak without setting a system-wide default. Having to sudo to do it is fine, but it can't be the default keymap for any console user.

Resources like this and this seem to be explaining how to permanently alter the system but I need to change it on the fly temporarily.

In BSD this was possible by using wsconsctl.

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The command you're looking for is loadkeys. Use sudo loadkeys dvorak to switch temporarily, and sudo loadkeys us (or whatever your qwerty keymap is) to get back.

You can use one of these methods to make it so sudo loadkeys doesn't actually require your password from you (I suggest method 2.)

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.