I have a netbook with an AZERTY layout. I've changed it to "bépo" to try it, but now I've reset it to a french layout.

While all the apps have taken the change into account, Ubuntu's login manager still uses bépo, making entering passwords a challenge. I've enabled the virtual keyboard for the time being so that I could login again.

I don't remember what I had done in the first place to switch the login screen to bépo, but now I can't switch it back.

enter image description here

EDIT : In the keyboard settings page, if I click "use system defaults", then everything is in bépo ! Where is this different keyboard layout set ?

ANOTHER EDIT : Here's what did not work :

  1. Changing the layout in settings
  2. using the "use system defaults" checkbox in settings
  3. sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration
  4. changing it in Xconf
  5. adding a line in /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf
  6. sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales
  7. slaming head against desk
  8. dpkg-reconfigure lightdm
  9. sudo gsettings set org.gnome.libgnomekbd.keyboard layouts "['fr']"
  10. combinations of the above

enter image description here

Is it possible to relaunch the keyboard configuration tool that's in ubuntu's setup ? The thing has automatic layout detection and it changes the setting everywhere.

  • maybe try to switch your keyboard with this command : sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration , or did i missunderstand something ?
    – Private
    Aug 5, 2013 at 15:07
  • I had tried sudo dpkg-reconfigure lightdm, will try yours now
    – Manu
    Aug 5, 2013 at 15:14
  • Nope, it's still the same keyboard at the login screen.
    – Manu
    Aug 5, 2013 at 15:17
  • 1
    If one of the answers solved your problem, please accept it. (even if it's your own)
    – kiri
    Feb 17, 2014 at 10:32

5 Answers 5


What did seem to work for me was this suggestion: change /etc/default/keyboard.

Banging head on desk indeed, this is ridiculous.

  • 1
    This did work for me, on Xubuntu 14.04 LTS. Apr 21, 2015 at 17:33
  • You can find more info or examles how to configure at xfree86.org/current/XKB-Config2.html#3
    – kasi
    Feb 8, 2017 at 10:31
  • 1
    This is a bad solution for people switching between different layouts.
    – MPi
    May 18, 2018 at 7:57

From terminal, run the following command to set the language layouts (you can set maximum four layouts) for your lightdm login screen:

gsettings set org.gnome.libgnomekbd.keyboard layouts "['us\taltgr-intl', 'fr']"

With the above command you set English (International) and French layouts, but you can change them as you wish.

To see the current layouts, you can use:

gsettings get org.gnome.libgnomekbd.keyboard layouts

Now, you should be able to use the keyboard icon from the top-right of your screen:

keyboard icon

Next is a screen capture from my login screen (I used gsettings set org.gnome.libgnomekbd.keyboard layouts "['us\taltgr-intl', 'gr', 'ro']" in terminal). As you can see, I can change the language layout as I wish:

login screen

  • I thought of that of course, only "french/bépo" appears in that list.
    – Manu
    Aug 21, 2013 at 19:36
  • @Manu Why don't you add another one keyboard layout? Aug 21, 2013 at 19:39
  • 1
    I keep doing that, the layout at the login screen are not the same as the layouts once logged in
    – Manu
    Aug 21, 2013 at 19:46
  • 1
    @Manu Then use this command from terminal to set layouts (you can set maximum four layouts): gsettings set org.gnome.libgnomekbd.keyboard layouts "['us\taltgr-intl', 'fr']" (for English - International and French). To see the current layouts, use: gsettings get org.gnome.libgnomekbd.keyboard layouts Aug 21, 2013 at 19:56
  • I tried "['fr']" but that did not work. Problem is the layout is already in French, but in the wrong variant.
    – Manu
    Aug 21, 2013 at 20:10

Must have been a weird lightdm bug.

Lightdm got the new keyboard layout once I changed the login manager to gdm, then back to lightdm, even though simply doing dpkg-reconfigure lightdm did nothing.

So here it is :

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gdm

(set gdm as the login manager when asked)

sudo dpkg-reconfigure lightdm

(set it as the login manager when asked)

sudo apt-get remove gdm

Then, restart.

Changing a keyboard layout in linux is serious business.


What helped me was to enter shell alt+ctrl+f1 and close lightdm

sudo service lightdm stop


dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration


sudo service keyboard-setup restart

I ran those commands as user and as root, then when I started lightdm

sudo service lightdm start

the keyboard was fixed.


Make a short-key in System Settings > Keyboard Layout > Options under "key(s) to change layout" to switch layouts.

You can see detailed answer here Keyboard shortcut for Lockscreen not working

  • 3
    The layout change key doesn't seem to have any effect on the login screen.
    – poolie
    May 20, 2014 at 4:12

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