I am using Ubuntu 14.04 and I have been experiencing the following issue with former releases as well.

I am using a German keyboard layout. However, I am missing the key to display the pipe- / inequality-signs (which on German keyboards is supposed to be left to the Y key).

I already tried to add or remove different German keyboard layouts using system settings but non of the layouts include this key. The best I could get so far is to have access to t he following symbols: » and «. However, these are not the appropriate German inequality signs plus the pipe symbol is missing.

See this screenshot of my German keyboard layout:

enter image description here

  • In the picture you show, it looks like the < and > are available with shift+alt gr. The lack of a pipe sounds like a bad flaw in the design. Have you looked at other German language keyboards (eg Swiss German or Austria) to see if any of them are in fact a better match?
    – Jon Hanna
    May 6, 2014 at 12:31
  • Indeed, shift+alt gr leads to the following symbols: and . Again, they seem to be not the correct inequation symbols. The correct ones should be way larger. Also alternative German language keyboards are missing the symbols. May 6, 2014 at 12:50
  • 1
    Yeah, that's a single quotation mark. Certainly useful for some styles of writing German, but it's hard to get by without >, < and |.
    – Jon Hanna
    May 6, 2014 at 13:07
  • You can try to modify the keyboard layout as I did for my Spanish keyboard. rlog.rgtti.com/2014/05/01/… (PS: wow, a keyboard layout that seems as bad as the Italian one!)
    – Rmano
    May 6, 2014 at 14:27

1 Answer 1


It might be, that the wrong keyboard model is selected. To view currently installed keyboard model issue:

setxkbmap -print | grep geometry

If you see pc104 there you will have a 104 key layout where the > < | key is not defined.

In order to use a typical German 105 keys keyboard, you have to choose the "pc105" type, labeled "Generische PC-Tastatur mit 105 Tasten (Intl)" in the German localization of Ubuntu on installation. To change this later you can issue

sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration

or edit /etc/default/keyboard as root. My file looks as following:


# Consult the keyboard(5) manual page.



On Xfce you can change the setting for your user only as well. The respective option is in Settings/Keyboard Settings/Layout. Nevertheless, since I don't use Unity or Gnome, I have no idea where the respective setting is hidden there (if someone knows: please update this answer).

  • It appears the keyboard mode setting can not be changed from Unity GUI (at least I have not found it).
    – Takkat
    May 6, 2014 at 18:09
  • 1
    Simple and plain. The dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration command was the solution. May 7, 2014 at 14:21

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