I am using Ubuntu 12.04. The keyboard layout is English US everywhere except for the Command Line where it works in English UK. Terminal also has English US. How do I change the default keyboard layout in Command Line to English US?

Also, I think it might be worth noting here, that when I had installed Ubuntu (dual boot with Windows 8. 1), I had initially set the language as English UK, but later changed it to English US from the system settings.

  • 4
    What exactly is the "Command Line" as opposed to the terminal? Do you mean a virtual console (tty)? – terdon Mar 16 '14 at 4:22
  • CTRL + ALT + F2 brings up the Command Line – Evelyn Mar 16 '14 at 12:00
  • lang=en_US.UTF-8 – Evelyn Mar 16 '14 at 22:06
  • 1
    @terdon I think you second guessed yourself, Ctrl+Alt+F2 should indeed be a virtual terminal (the 'Run Dialog' is plain Alt+F2). I'm not sure if console-setup is installed by default, but perhaps the OP should try sudo dpkg-reconfigure console-setup? – steeldriver Mar 17 '14 at 2:03
  • @steeldriver you are absolutely correct, I did not notice the Ctrl! Thanks, that makes this answerable! – terdon Mar 17 '14 at 2:07

Update 2017-04-13: This seems to have changed in recent Ubuntu versions and running sudo apt-get install console-common will try to remove other packages. So, for recent Ubuntu versions, use this instead (Tested in 17.04):

sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration

The simplest way would indeed be as @steeldriver suggested to open a terminal and run this command:

sudo apt-get install console-common

That will install the console-common package and in the process allow you to chose your console layout. If that is already installed, use this to bring up the same wizard and set the layout:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure console-data

Tested on 13.10, and taken from here.

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    Using Ubutnu 14.04 I was able to set the keyboard on a text-console. But after a reboot it would be reset to the previous settings. Only after issuing a sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configurationI was able to set it permanently. – MadMike Oct 5 '15 at 20:59
  • Seems like a bit of kludge to do something so seemingly simple - but hey, it worked on a Raspberry PI (running raspbian), so cool, thanks. – demaniak Sep 20 '16 at 12:57
  • 5
    This doesn't work anymore with 16.04. Installing console-common wants to remove packages cryptsetup, plymouth, lightdm, and some others. dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration does work however. – Olaf Dietsche Oct 3 '16 at 15:43
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    Goddamn it. After I ran this command and reboot, it stuck at the purple blank screen. Turns out this command also removed plymouth and unity. @OlafDietsche is right! – zeng_overflow Apr 4 '17 at 17:05
  • > sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration This worked for me. – josephdpurcell Aug 30 '19 at 0:22

Run this command:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration

This worked for me.

  • I needed to reboot so that it takes effect, could you mention it in the answer? Cheers – Augustin Riedinger Jan 4 '18 at 16:50
  • @AugustinRiedinger I didn't have to reboot to get that into effect. – defiant Apr 5 '18 at 8:45
  • 1
    No reboot is required. – Miguel Ortiz Nov 20 '18 at 14:02
  • 1
    Yes, running 16.04 (Thinkpad T430) and sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration worked a treat for me. Did not have to reboot just chose Generic 105 Int Keyboard and UK layout to recover my Keyboard after it had mysteriously change to US layout... Thanks – Dig Feb 27 '20 at 14:48
  • I had to logout and back in to have it taking effect. [i3wm] – Zheng Qu Nov 10 '20 at 12:31

The above didn't work for me, but this did. From terminal enter the following command:

setxkbmap us
  • This worked for me when using Chrome Remote Desktop to Mint even though the keyword layout is correct when logged in normally. – zzapper Jan 11 '17 at 17:42
  • 2018 - working on Ubuntu 11.x – AK_ Jan 21 '18 at 19:47
  • and me wanting to go the other way (mint) setxkbmap gb – zzapper May 7 '19 at 16:17
  • setxkbmap working on arch (loadkeys not) – hrvoj3e Jun 5 '19 at 11:19
  • Works on LUbuntu 20_04 – Timo Jul 8 '20 at 18:00

I have a console only (without X) Linux running inside a VirtualBox. Needed to change layout from US keyboard to a German one. This worked for me:

loadkeys de

To make it permanent:

localectl set-keymap de
  • 8
    Thanks to you I found the solution for me, running my server in VNC. Your command changes it temporarily. To make it permanent I used localectl set-keymap de. – Alex Apr 11 '17 at 14:26
  • Thanks. This works on a fresh server 16.04 install out of the box. The above setxkbmap solution requires to install some X11 utils, which IMHO did not seem the right thing to do on a server. – CatMan May 9 '18 at 17:38
  • For Spanish use: loadkeys es – Lorenzo Lerate Aug 4 '18 at 13:02
  • @Alex, Command not found – Black Oct 4 '19 at 11:37
  • I am on LUbuntu 20?04. Does not work, do I have to reload the terminal or restart pc – Timo Jul 8 '20 at 17:57

I'm running 14.04 LTS with a standard US keyboard. My problem was that I had relied on the installer to choose US-Intl for me and it caused "dead keys" and improper formation of the " and ' keys (as well as others I don't know about, I'm sure).

After a lot of frustration and trial and error, I ran the "sudo apt-get install console-common" suggestion and it fixed my problem, but only while I was logged in.

When I logged out, restarted the server and back in, it failed.

It only took hold permanently when I executed the "sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration" command and specified the generic US keyboard.

"setxkbmap" did not work for me.

It seems that (I don't KNOW) setxkbmap is obsolete in 14.04 LTS.

  • setxkbmap gb worked for me just now in 16.04.01 LTS – Mike Sep 30 '16 at 10:49

On Ubuntu/Debian you have /etc/default/keyboard config file which actually manages the keyboard layout on your distro. When you boot your system the /etc/default/keyboard file is read by setup scripts along with other config files. If you look at the output of /etc/default/keyboard file you can see my keybord layout is set to german de :


# Consult the keyboard(5) manual page.


It is not good idea (like other config files) to directly change the attributes of /etc/default/keyboard file.

To change the layout or model of your keyboard always use following command:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration

Additional Information.

You should probably also change your locale!

Use locale -a to show all possible languages:

$ locale -a

If your locale is not in the above list, then you have to generate it:

$ sudo locale-gen fr_FR.UTF-8
Generating locales...
  fr_FR.UTF-8... done
Generation complete.

The default settings are stored in /etc/default/locale:

You can either manually configure it, or use the tool:

update-locale LANG=de_DE.UTF-8

More details (german source).

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