I am trying to play around with some keyboard layouts in Ubuntu. Now there is a program called showkey which lets me see the keycode for any key pressed in the terminal. Is there any command to get the corresponding character for a specific keycode. For example when I type in

sudo showkey
//I get the response in the form
keycode num press/release

I was just wondering if I have the keycode, can I get the character mapping back so that I know which character I actually pressed?


Run xev from a terminal. This will give you a new window.

Place your mouse pointer in this window, type some keys and watch for results in the terminal.

  • 2
    xev -even keyboard for keyboard only events – MInner Nov 19 '16 at 20:13
  • 6
    @Minner do you mean xev -event keyboard? – diracdeltafunk Feb 21 '18 at 4:28

In order to get a terminal print-out of all key codes and corresponding keys, run the following command in a terminal:

xmodmap -pk

It's not easy to view in a (small) terminal window, so if you want to save the output to a file, just add the command to let the terminal output be saved in a file (in your current working directory in the terminal):

xmodmap -pk > mykeyboard.txt

Full description of how to use xmodmap here.

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