I'm at a loss as to how to make the Hebrew keyboard layout/input work.

The following methods do not work:

  1. "Download Hebrew language support. You can do this from the Install/Remove Languages section of "Language Support".

    System Settings -> Keyboard Layout -> "+" -> "Hebrew" -> Add
    System Settings -> Keyboard Layout -> Options -> Keys to Change Layout -> mark [alt]+[shift] 
    (this step is optional, only if you want that custom keyboard shortcut)


  2. setxkbmap -option grp:switch,grp:alt_shift_toggle,grp_led:scroll us,he

The second option (the code) works for arabic, but not for hebrew. If I try to set it to hebrew, I get the following error message: "Error loading new keyboard description"

Is the shorthand for Hebrew not "he"?? If so, how can I find out what it is?

The first option seems simple, but the available keyboard layouts are unavailable, and the Add button can't be pushed. I know that the instructions are for Ubuntu, but Lubuntu has a similar enough setup. (Yes, I've already installed the Hebrew Language Pack).

Alt+Shift+L doesn't switch to anything. (iBus doesn't even show on the system tray, even when clicked to do so).

How can I solve this?

Questions? Comments? Criticisms?

  • Out of curiousity: did you have the Hebrew layout working with Ubuntu (as opposed to Lubuntu) before? Apr 9, 2013 at 7:40

2 Answers 2


This works for other languages as well, just replace the shorthand for your specific language

FOR 12.04

To add the Hebrew language support you have to use:

setxkbmap -option grp:switch,grp:alt_shift_toggle,grp_led:scroll us,il

The shorthand for Hebrew is il

To make the change permanent, just press Ctrl+Alt+T on your keyboard to open Terminal. When it opens, run the command below:

gksudo gedit /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/autostart

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Enter your password, and click OK. Once the file open up, add the lone as shown in the image below. Once done save and exit.

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FOR 12.10

Right click on the panel, and click on Panel Settings as shown below.

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When it opens, click on Panel Applets, and then click on Add as shown below.

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Choose Keyboard Layout Handler, and then click on Add as shown below.

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Then high-lite Keyboard Layout Handler, and click on Edit as shown below.

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and then click on add, as shown below.

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Once it opens choose Hebrew, or any other language you desire, and click OK as shown below.

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Once you're done you will be able to switch between layouts from the panel icon, by clicking on it as shown below.

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I am using Lubuntu. I went into preferences and chose Lxkeymap which allowed me to choose Hebrew for my keyboard. Haven't found a keyboard shortcut but I'm glad to be able to type in Hebrew again.

Hope that was helpful. I did download Hebrew language though under; preferences and then language support.

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