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On Thinkpad T400, my left Alt key has stopped working. Since I have never used the super key in LXDE in Ubuntu 16.04, I did the following to modify the super key as if it were the left Alt key.

First I need to find out the relevant information about the two keys by running xev.

When I press the left Alt key, xev doesn't output anything. I can only deduce the information about the left Alt key from the right Alt key. When I press the right Alt key,

KeyPress event, serial 48, synthetic NO, window 0x2800001,
    root 0xb2, subw 0x0, time 942676, (262,45), root:(264,68),
    state 0x0, keycode 108 (keysym 0xffea, Alt_R), same_screen YES,
    XLookupString gives 0 bytes: 
    XmbLookupString gives 0 bytes: 
    XFilterEvent returns: False

KeyRelease event, serial 48, synthetic NO, window 0x2800001,
    root 0xb2, subw 0x0, time 942812, (262,45), root:(264,68),
    state 0x8, keycode 108 (keysym 0xffea, Alt_R), same_screen YES,
    XLookupString gives 0 bytes: 
    XFilterEvent returns: False

When I press the super key,

KeyPress event, serial 48, synthetic NO, window 0x2800001,
    root 0xb2, subw 0x0, time 943386, (262,45), root:(264,68),
    state 0x0, keycode 133 (keysym 0xffeb, Super_L), same_screen YES,
    XLookupString gives 0 bytes: 
    XmbLookupString gives 0 bytes: 
    XFilterEvent returns: False

KeyRelease event, serial 48, synthetic NO, window 0x2800001,
    root 0xb2, subw 0x0, time 943498, (262,45), root:(264,68),
    state 0x40, keycode 133 (keysym 0xffeb, Super_L), same_screen YES,
    XLookupString gives 0 bytes: 
    XFilterEvent returns: False

Then in a bash shell, after I run

xmodmap -e "keycode 133 = Alt_L"

the super key sometimes works as left Alt key, e.g.

  • when I switch to the first tab of firefox by Alt+1 (via super+1).

But the super key sometimes doesn't work as left Alt key, e.g.

  • when I switch to the first tab of lxterminal by Alt+1 (via super+1),
  • when I want to switch between the windows of different applications by Alt+tab via super+tab (strangely, Alt_R + tab doesn't work either, although Alt_L + tab worked when the left Alt key worked before).
  • when I work in Emacs, which requires to use Alt key a lot,
  • When I want to invoke a program, by firstly Alt + F2 via super + F2
  • When I want to close the window of a program, by Alt + F4 via super + F4

I was wondering why the super key doesn't work as the left Alt key in all the cases?

I followed https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/86933/swap-alt-and-super/86936#86936 and https://askubuntu.com/a/296437/1471, but I might have missed something, and I also notice that they are trying to swap two working keys, instead of substitute one nonworking key with a working key.

Thanks.

  • I think you also need to execute remove Mod1 = Alt_L and add Mod1 = Super_L – Lok Lam Cheng Apr 19 '18 at 14:07
  • Thanks. Could you explain a little what they mean? – Tim Apr 19 '18 at 16:09

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