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Is there a tool to quickly create custom keyboard layouts?

For example to achieve this: http://tex.stackexchange.com/a/86559/1871


Producing Unicode characters in secondary layers, but based on US international (Alt GR-dead keys)

This is mainly to type math in using Unicode, but keeping the default layer to be US international.

Maybe there is one prepared already that is pretty general, if so then how to install it?

This question is not about generating short-cuts in a particular application but to change the system's keyboard layout.

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1 Answer 1

I think this tool might work for you although I've never used it. keyboardlayouteditor

If it doesn't work then with a little patience you can create a custom keyboard layout by yourself.

I know it's not a quick way to do it but by doing it this way you will learn something.

If you decide to do it by yourself then the only thing you need to do is edit a file located in /usr/share/x11/xkb/symbols.

Inside the folder "symbols" you will find all the keyboard layout files.

Backup the file you want to use, in your case the "us" file.

To backup the file open a terminal and type:

cp /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/us /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/us_backup

Now open the "us" file:

sudo gedit /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/us

You will see something like this:

// Alphanumeric section
key <TLDE> {    [     grave,    asciitilde  ]   };
key <AE01> {    [     1,    exclam      ]   };
key <AE02> {    [     2,    at      ]   };
key <AE03> {    [     3,    numbersign  ]   };
key <AE04> {    [     4,    dollar      ]   };
key <AE05> {    [     5,    percent     ]   };
key <AE06> {    [     6,    asciicircum ]   };
key <AE07> {    [     7,    ampersand   ]   };
key <AE08> {    [     8,    asterisk    ]   };
key <AE09> {    [     9,    parenleft   ]   };
key <AE10> {    [     0,    parenright  ]   };
key <AE11> {    [     minus,    underscore  ]   };
key <AE12> {    [     equal,    plus        ]   };

The key <xxxx> entries are the name of the keys and the {[]}; entries are the symbols

The image below will show you the key codes:

enter image description here

Now to create your custom keyboard layout you need to replace the contents of {[]}; with the symbol names you want.

For example in order to replace the exclamation mark with the dollar symbol change the following line

key <AE01> {    [     1,    exclam      ]   };

to this:

key <AE01> {    [     1,    dollar      ]   };

After you finish editing your custom keyboard save the file and restart your computer.

In case you want to go back to your original "us" keyboard layout open a terminal and type the following:

sudo cp /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/us_backup /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/us

For further reading:

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Thanks, I couldn't make KeyboardLayout to work because of a dependency problem with antlr3 (python). The manual way seems to be viable, but I can't find any example were pure unicode characters are included into the layout: this charvolant.org/~doug/xkb/html/… says that a file /usr/X11R6/include/X11/keysymdefh has that info but I can't find it in my system. –  alfC Apr 2 '13 at 20:38
If you can't find keysymdefh open a terminal and type: sudo apt-get install x11proto-core-dev –  kalpetros Apr 2 '13 at 21:21

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