EDIT: Thanks for your help. I realise the original post was not very clear...

When using the system layout I have no problems using the default VS Code shortcuts. When I configure multiple non-system keyboard layouts (I am using the xfce4-keyboard-settings in XFCE) the defaults shortcuts no longer work.

This appears to be system-wide problem. When I create a dummy application shortcut using the "Application Shortcuts" tab in xfce4-keyboard-settings I can successfully create a shortcut using more than 3 (i.e. 4 or 5) keys if using the system layout. This is not possible when using non-system keyboard layouts: the maximum possible keys for a shortcut is 3. I have tried this on two laptops with different layouts, one using Xubuntu 18.04 and one using Linux Mint XFCE 19.2, and confirm this problem -- there is a limit on the number of key presses being registered using non-system keyboard layouts.

I have limited understanding of how keyboard layouts are handled by default in these two distros but it appears there may be a bug with how non-system layouts are handled. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • with multiple keyboard layouts enabled there is a limit on the number of key combinations registered - what do you mean by that? enabled- do you mean added? by key combinations do you mean shortcuts? how is that limited to 3? You mean when you select ANY different layout than de default one your global shortcuts are not working? Or is this limited to some programs like VS Code and their specific internal short-keys?
    – cipricus
    Sep 30, 2019 at 9:21
  • Thanks for your help with this. I've updated the original post to make it clearer. Yes, this problem applies to any keyboard layout other than system layout and, as updated above, seems to be a system-wide problem not a VS Code specific one -- that's just the program I was using when I first noticed the problem. Oct 10, 2019 at 13:41

1 Answer 1


An issue related to keyboard-layouts in Xubuntu 18.04 was reported (on Jan 2018)
and was later confirmed as a bug.
It is not identical to the problem you are having, but may have the same origin.
see cannot switching keyboard layout with xfce4-keyboard-settings.

(as of Oct 2019, there is no indication someone is working on it)

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