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I want to copy a keyboard layout in /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/ and change it and then produce a new layout from it.

How can I add a new keyboard layout (named e.g. "mylayout")?

Update #1:

Files I changed to add a new layout:

  • /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/irwinxp (originally the same as ir):

    // Iranian keyboard layout
    
    ////////////////////////////////////////
    // Persian layout,
    // based on
    // Information Technology – Layout of Persian Letters and Symbols on Computer Keyboards
    // ISIRI 9147 – 1st Edition
    // Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran
    // http://www.isiri.org/UserStd/DownloadStd.aspx?id=9147
    // http://behnam.esfahbod.info/standards/isiri-keyboard-9147.pdf
    //
    // Author: Behnam Esfahbod <behnam@esfahbod.info>
    //
    
    default  partial alphanumeric_keys
    xkb_symbols "pes" {
        name[Group1]= "Persian";
    
        include "ir(pes_part_basic)"
        include "ir(pes_part_ext)"
    
        include "nbsp(zwnj2nb3nnb4)"
        include "level3(ralt_switch)"
    };
    
    
    partial alphanumeric_keys
    xkb_symbols "pes_keypad" {
        name[Group1]= "Persian (with Persian Keypad)";
    
        include "ir(pes_part_basic)"
        include "ir(pes_part_keypad)"
    
        include "nbsp(zwnj2nb3nnb4)"
        include "level3(ralt_switch)"
    };
    
    partial hidden alphanumeric_keys
    xkb_symbols "pes_part_basic" {
    
        // Persian digits
        key <AE01> { [ Farsi_1, exclam,     grave           ] };
        key <AE02> { [ Farsi_2, 0x100066c,  at          ] };
        key <AE03> { [ Farsi_3, 0x100066b,  numbersign      ] };
        key <AE04> { [ Farsi_4, 0x100fdfc,  dollar          ] };
        key <AE05> { [ Farsi_5, 0x100066a,  percent         ] };
        key <AE06> { [ Farsi_6, multiply,   asciicircum     ] };
        key <AE07> { [ Farsi_7, Arabic_comma,   ampersand       ] };
        key <AE08> { [ Farsi_8, asterisk,   enfilledcircbullet  ] };
        key <AE09> { [ Farsi_9, parenright, 0x100200e       ] };
        key <AE10> { [ Farsi_0, parenleft,  0x100200f       ] };
    
        // Persian letters and symbols
        key <AD01> { [ Arabic_dad,      Arabic_fathatan,    degree      ] }; // 2: Arabic_sukun
        key <AD02> { [ Arabic_sad,      Arabic_dammatan,    VoidSymbol  ] }; // 2: Arabic_dammatan
        key <AD03> { [ Arabic_theh,     Arabic_kasratan,    0x13a4      ] }; // 2: Arabic_kasratan
        key <AD04> { [ Arabic_qaf,      Arabic_fathatan,    VoidSymbol  ] };
        key <AD05> { [ Arabic_feh,      Arabic_comma,       VoidSymbol  ] }; // 2: Arabic_damma
        key <AD06> { [ Arabic_ghain,    Arabic_semicolon,   VoidSymbol  ] }; // 2: Arabic_kasra
        key <AD07> { [ Arabic_ain,      Arabic_fatha,       VoidSymbol  ] };
        key <AD08> { [ Arabic_heh,      Arabic_hamza_above, 0x100202d   ] }; // 2: Arabic_shadda
        key <AD09> { [ Arabic_khah,     bracketright,       0x100202e   ] };
        key <AD10> { [ Arabic_hah,      bracketleft,        0x100202c   ] };
        key <AD11> { [ Arabic_jeem,     braceright,     0x100202a   ] };
        key <AD12> { [ Arabic_tcheh,    braceleft,      0x100202b   ] };
    
        key <AC01> { [ Arabic_sheen,    Arabic_fatha,       VoidSymbol  ] }; // 2: Arabic_hamzaonwaw
        key <AC02> { [ Arabic_seen,     Arabic_damma,       VoidSymbol  ] }; // 2: Arabic_hamzaonyeh
        key <AC03> { [ Farsi_yeh,       Arabic_kasra,       Arabic_alefmaksura ] }; // 2: Arabic_yeh
        key <AC04> { [ Arabic_beh,      Arabic_shadda,  VoidSymbol  ] }; // 1: Arabic_hamzaunderalef
        key <AC05> { [ Arabic_lam,      0x10006c0,  VoidSymbol  ] };// 2: Arabic_hamzaonalef
        key <AC06> { [ Arabic_alef,     Arabic_maddaonalef, 0x1000671   ] };
        key <AC07> { [ Arabic_teh,      Arabic_tehmarbuta,  VoidSymbol  ] };
        key <AC08> { [ Arabic_noon,     guillemotright,     0x100fd3e   ] };
        key <AC09> { [ Arabic_meem,     guillemotleft,      0x100fd3f   ] };
        key <AC10> { [ Arabic_keheh,    colon,          semicolon   ] };
        key <AC11> { [ Arabic_gaf,      quotedbl,       quotedbl    ] }; // 2: Arabic_semicolon
    
        key <AB01> { [ Arabic_zah,      Arabic_kaf,     VoidSymbol  ] };
        key <AB02> { [ Arabic_tah,      0x1000653,      VoidSymbol  ] };
        key <AB03> { [ Arabic_zain,     Arabic_jeh,     VoidSymbol  ] };
        key <AB04> { [ Arabic_ra,       Arabic_hamzaonwaw   ,0x1000656  ] }; // 2: Arabic_superscript_alef ٰ
        key <AB05> { [ Arabic_thal,     0x100200c,      0x100200d   ] };
        key <AB06> { [ Arabic_dal,      Arabic_hamza_above, Arabic_hamza_below  ] };
        key <AB07> { [ Arabic_hamzaonyeh,   Arabic_hamza,       ellipsis    ] }; // 1: Arabic_peh
        key <AB08> { [ Arabic_waw,      greater,        comma       ] };
        key <AB09> { [ period,      less,           apostrophe  ] };
        key <AB10> { [ slash,       Arabic_question_mark,   question    ] };
    
        key <TLDE> { [ 0x100200d,       division,       asciitilde  ] };
        key <AE11> { [ minus,       Arabic_tatweel,     underscore  ] };
        key <AE12> { [ equal,       plus,           0x1002212   ] };
        key <BKSL> { [ Arabic_peh,      bar,            0x1002010   ] }; // 1: backslash
    };
    
    partial hidden alphanumeric_keys
    xkb_symbols "pes_part_ext" {
    
        // Persian and ASCII digits
        key <AE01> { [ 0x10006f1,   exclam,     grave,          1   ] };
        key <AE02> { [ 0x10006f2,   0x100066c,  at,         2   ] };
        key <AE03> { [ 0x10006f3,   0x100066b,  numbersign,     3   ] };
        key <AE04> { [ 0x10006f4,   0x100fdfc,  dollar,         4   ] };
        key <AE05> { [ 0x10006f5,   0x100066a,  percent,        5   ] };
        key <AE06> { [ 0x10006f6,   multiply,   asciicircum,        6   ] };
        key <AE07> { [ 0x10006f7,   Arabic_comma,   ampersand,      7   ] };
        key <AE08> { [ 0x10006f8,   asterisk,   enfilledcircbullet, 8   ] };
        key <AE09> { [ 0x10006f9,   parenright, 0x100200e,      9   ] };
        key <AE10> { [ 0x10006f0,   parenleft,  0x100200f,      0   ] };
    };
    
    partial hidden alphanumeric_keys
    xkb_symbols "pes_part_keypad" {
    
        // Persian digits and Mathematical operators
        key <KPDV> { [ division,    XF86_Ungrab ] };
        key <KPMU> { [ multiply,    XF86_ClearGrab  ] };
        key <KPSU> { [ 0x1002212,   XF86_Prev_VMode ] };
        key <KPAD> { [ plus,    XF86_Next_VMode ] };
    
        key <KPEN> { [ KP_Enter ] };
        key <KPEQ> { [ equal    ] };
    
        key <KP7>  { [ KP_Home, 0x10006f7   ] };
        key <KP8>  { [ KP_Up,   0x10006f8   ] };
        key <KP9>  { [ KP_Prior,    0x10006f9   ] };
    
        key <KP4>  { [ KP_Left, 0x10006f4   ] };
        key <KP5>  { [ KP_Begin,    0x10006f5   ] };
        key <KP6>  { [ KP_Right,    0x10006f6   ] };
    
        key <KP1>  { [ KP_End,  0x10006f1   ] };
        key <KP2>  { [ KP_Down, 0x10006f2   ] };
        key <KP3>  { [ KP_Next, 0x10006f3   ] };
    
        key <KP0>  { [ KP_Insert,   0x10006f0   ] };
        key <KPDL> { [ KP_Delete,   0x100066b   ] };
    };
    
    
    ////////////////////////////////////////
    // Kurdish Layout
    
    partial alphanumeric_keys
    xkb_symbols "ku" {
        include "tr(ku)"
        name[Group1]= "Kurdish (Iran, Latin Q)";
    };
    
    partial alphanumeric_keys
    xkb_symbols "ku_f" {
        include "tr(ku_f)"
        name[Group1]= "Kurdish (Iran, F)";
    };
    
    partial alphanumeric_keys
    xkb_symbols "ku_alt" {
        include "tr(ku_alt)"
        name[Group1]= "Kurdish (Iran, Latin Alt-Q)";
    };
    
    ////////////////////////////////////////
    // Kurdish Soranî Bahdînî (Arabic) keyboard layout,
    // based on the Kurdî Soranî Bahdînî keyboard from KurdITGroup
    // which is based on National Iranian Keyboard Standard (ISIRI 2901:1994),
    // with additions.
    //
    // Copyright (C) 2006 Erdal Ronahî, published under the GPL v2
    //
    // Special copyright note: author explicitly permitted to license this 
    // layout under MIT/X11 license, for details see
    // https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=9541
    //
    // Author: Erdal Ronahî  <erdal.ronahi@gmail.com>
    //
    // Kurdish Arabic-Latin Layout for Soranî
    
    partial alphanumeric_keys
    xkb_symbols "ku_ara" {
        name[Group1]= "Kurdish (Iran, Arabic-Latin)";
    
        // Other 3-Level symbols
        key <TLDE> { [ 0x100200d,       division,       asciitilde  ] };
        key <BKSL> { [ backslash,       bar,            ccedilla, Ccedilla  ] };
    
        // Digits
        key <AE01> { [ 1,   exclam,     0x10006f1,  grave       ] };
        key <AE02> { [ 2,   at,         0x10006f2,  at      ] };
        key <AE03> { [ 3,   numbersign, 0x10006f3,  0x100066b   ] };
        key <AE04> { [ 4,   dollar,     0x10006f4,  0x100fdfc   ] };
        key <AE05> { [ 5,   percent,    0x10006f5,  0x100066a   ] };
        key <AE06> { [ 6,   asciicircum,    0x10006f6,  multiply    ] };
        key <AE07> { [ 7,   ampersand,  0x10006f7,  Arabic_comma    ] };
        key <AE08> { [ 8,   asterisk,   0x10006f8,  enfilledcircbullet  ] };
        key <AE09> { [ 9,   parenright, 0x10006f9,  0x100200e   ] };
        key <AE10> { [ 0,   parenleft,  0x10006f0,  0x100200f   ] };
        key <AE11> { [ minus,       Arabic_tatweel,     underscore  ] };
        key <AE12> { [ equal,       plus,           0x1002212   ] };
    
        key <AD01> { [         Arabic_qaf,            X,  q,  Q ] };
        key <AD02> { [         Arabic_waw,            X,  w,  W ] };
        key <AD03> { [          0x10006d5,   Arabic_heh,  e,  E ] };
        key <AD04> { [         Arabic_ra ,    0x1000695,  r,  R ] };
        key <AD05> { [         Arabic_teh,   Arabic_tah,  t,  T ] };
        key <AD06> { [          0x10006cc,    0x10006ce,  y,  Y ] };
        key <AD07> { [  Arabic_hamzaonyeh, Arabic_hamza,  u,  U ] };
        key <AD08> { [         Arabic_hah,   Arabic_ain,  i,  I ] };
        key <AD09> { [          0x10006c6, Arabic_hamzaonwaw,  o,  O ] };
        key <AD10> { [          0x100067e,  Arabic_theh,  p,  P ] };
        key <AD11> { [ bracketright,    braceright, ucircumflex, Ucircumflex    ] };
        key <AD12> { [ bracketleft,     braceleft,  scedilla, Scedilla  ] };
    
        key <AC01> { [ Arabic_alef, Arabic_maddaonalef, a, A    ] };
        key <AC02> { [ Arabic_seen,     Arabic_sheen,   s, S    ] };
        key <AC03> { [  Arabic_dal,     Arabic_thal,    d, D    ] };
        key <AC04> { [  Arabic_feh, Arabic_hamzaunderalef,  f, F    ] };
        key <AC05> { [   0x10006af,     Arabic_ghain,   g, G    ] };
        key <AC06> { [  Arabic_heh,     0x100200c,  h, H    ] };
        key <AC07> { [   0x1000698, Arabic_hamzaonalef, j, J    ] };
        key <AC08> { [   0x10006a9,     Arabic_kaf, k, K    ] };
        key <AC09> { [  Arabic_lam,     0x10006b5,  l, L    ] };
        key <AC10> { [  Arabic_semicolon,   colon,      ecircumflex, Ecircumflex    ] };
        key <AC11> { [  apostrophe,     quotedbl,   icircumflex, Icircumflex    ] };
    
        key <AB01> { [ Arabic_zain,     Arabic_dad, z, Z    ] };
        key <AB02> { [ Arabic_khah,     Arabic_sad, x, X    ] };
        key <AB03> { [ Arabic_jeem,     0x1000686,  c, C    ] };
        key <AB04> { [   0x10006a4,     Arabic_zah, v, V    ] };
        key <AB05> { [ Arabic_beh,      0x1000649,  b, B    ] };
        key <AB06> { [ Arabic_noon, Arabic_tehmarbuta,  n, N    ] };
        key <AB07> { [ Arabic_meem, Arabic_tatweel,     m, M    ] };
        key <AB08> { [ Arabic_comma,    greater,    comma       ] };
        key <AB09> { [ period,      less,       apostrophe  ] };
        key <AB10> { [ slash,       Arabic_question_mark,   question    ] };
    
        include "nbsp(zwnj2nb3)"
        include "level3(ralt_switch)"
    };
    
    // EXTRAS:
    
    /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    //
    // Generated keyboard layout file with the Keyboard Layout Editor.
    // For more about the software, see http://code.google.com/p/keyboardlayouteditor
    //
    // Version 0.2, fixed AD09.
    //
    // Layout by Ernst Tremel, http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=9365469&postcount=32
    // Creation of this file by Simos Xenitellis.
    
    partial alphanumeric_keys
    xkb_symbols "ave"
    {
        name[Group1] = "Avestan";
    
        key <AB01> { [ U10B30,         U10B32 ] }; // 𐬰 𐬲 
        key <AB02> { [ U10B11,         U10B12 ] }; // 𐬑 𐬒 
        key <AB03> { [ U10B17,          UE102 ] }; // 𐬗  
        key <AB04> { [ U10B2C,         U10B13 ] }; // 𐬬 𐬓 
        key <AB05> { [ U10B20,         U10B21 ] }; // 𐬠 𐬡 
        key <AB06> { [ U10B25,         U10B27 ] }; // 𐬥 𐬧 
        key <AB07> { [ U10B28,         U10B29 ] }; // 𐬨 𐬩 
        key <AB08> { [ U10B3C,         U10B39 ] }; // 𐬼 𐬹 
        key <AB09> { [ U10B3E,         U10B3D ] }; // 𐬾 𐬽 
        key <AB10> { [ U10B3F, periodcentered ] }; // 𐬿 · 
    
        key <AC01> { [ U10B00,         U10B01 ] }; // 𐬀 𐬁 
        key <AC02> { [ U10B2F,         U10B31 ] }; // 𐬯 𐬱 
        key <AC03> { [ U10B1B,         U10B1C ] }; // 𐬛 𐬜 
        key <AC04> { [ U10B1F,         U10B16 ] }; // 𐬟 𐬖 
        key <AC05> { [ U10B14,         U10B15 ] }; // 𐬔 𐬕 
        key <AC06> { [ U10B35,          UE100 ] }; // 𐬵  
        key <AC07> { [ U10B18,         U10B24 ] }; // 𐬘 𐬤 
        key <AC08> { [ U10B10,          UE101 ] }; // 𐬐  
        key <AC09> { [ U10B2E,          UE103 ] }; // 𐬮  
        key <AC10> { [ U10B3B,         U10B3A ] }; // 𐬻 𐬺 
        key <AC11> { [ U10B1D                 ] }; // 𐬝 
    
        key <AD01> { [ U10B22,         U10B23 ] }; // 𐬢 𐬣 
        key <AD02> { [ U10B33,         U10B34 ] }; // 𐬳 𐬴 
        key <AD03> { [ U10B08,         U10B09 ] }; // 𐬈 𐬉 
        key <AD04> { [ U10B2D,         U10B26 ] }; // 𐬭 𐬦 
        key <AD05> { [ U10B19,         U10B1A ] }; // 𐬙 𐬚 
        key <AD06> { [ U10B2B,         U10B2A ] }; // 𐬫 𐬪 
        key <AD07> { [ U10B0E,         U10B0F ] }; // 𐬎 𐬏 
        key <AD08> { [ U10B0C,         U10B0D ] }; // 𐬌 𐬍 
        key <AD09> { [ U10B0A,         U10B0B ] }; // 𐬊 𐬋
        key <AD10> { [ U10B1E                 ] }; // 𐬞 
        key <AD11> { [ U10B06,         U10B07 ] }; // 𐬆 𐬇 
        key <AD12> { [ U10B02,         U10B03 ] }; // 𐬂 𐬃 
    
        key <AE01> { [ U10B78                 ] }; // 𐭸 
        key <AE02> { [ U10B79                 ] }; // 𐭹 
        key <AE03> { [ U10B7A                 ] }; // 𐭺 
        key <AE04> { [ U10B7B                 ] }; // 𐭻 
        key <AE05> { [ U10B7C                 ] }; // 𐭼 
        key <AE06> { [ U10B7D                 ] }; // 𐭽 
        key <AE07> { [ U10B7E                 ] }; // 𐭾 
        key <AE08> { [ U10B7F                 ] }; // 𐭿 
    
        key <BKSL> { [ U10B04,         U10B05 ] }; // 𐬄 𐬅 
        key <LSGT> { [ U10B04,         U10B05 ] }; // 𐬄 𐬅 
    };
    
  • Part of /usr/share/X11/xkb/rules/evdev.xml containing all modifications:

    ...
       <layout>
          <configItem>
            <name>ir</name>
    
            <shortDescription>fa</shortDescription>
            <description>Persian</description>
            <languageList>
              <iso639Id>per</iso639Id>
            </languageList>
          </configItem>
          <variantList>
            <variant>
              <configItem>
                <name>pes_keypad</name>
                <description>Persian (with Persian Keypad)</description>
              </configItem>
            </variant>
            <variant>
              <configItem>
                <name>ku</name>
    
                <shortDescription>ku</shortDescription>
                <description>Kurdish (Iran, Latin Q)</description>
                <languageList>
                  <iso639Id>kur</iso639Id>
                </languageList>
              </configItem>
            </variant>
            <variant>
              <configItem>
                <name>ku_f</name>
    
                <shortDescription>ku</shortDescription>
                <description>Kurdish (Iran, F)</description>
                <languageList>
                  <iso639Id>kur</iso639Id>
                </languageList>
              </configItem>
            </variant>
            <variant>
              <configItem>
                <name>ku_alt</name>
    
                <shortDescription>ku</shortDescription>
                <description>Kurdish (Iran, Latin Alt-Q)</description>
                <languageList>
                  <iso639Id>kur</iso639Id>
                </languageList>
              </configItem>
            </variant>
            <variant>
              <configItem>
                <name>ku_ara</name>
    
                <shortDescription>ku</shortDescription>
                <description>Kurdish (Iran, Arabic-Latin)</description>
                <languageList>
                  <iso639Id>kur</iso639Id>
                </languageList>
              </configItem>
            </variant>
          </variantList>
        </layout>    
        <layout>
          <configItem>
            <name>irwinxp</name>
    
            <shortDescription>fa</shortDescription>
            <description>Persian-WinXP</description>
            <languageList>
              <iso639Id>per</iso639Id>
            </languageList>
          </configItem>
          <variantList>
            <variant>
              <configItem>
                <name>pes_keypad</name>
                <description>Persian (with Persian Keypad)</description>
              </configItem>
            </variant>
            <variant>
              <configItem>
                <name>ku</name>
    
                <shortDescription>ku</shortDescription>
                <description>Kurdish (Iran, Latin Q)</description>
                <languageList>
                  <iso639Id>kur</iso639Id>
                </languageList>
              </configItem>
            </variant>
            <variant>
              <configItem>
                <name>ku_f</name>
    
                <shortDescription>ku</shortDescription>
                <description>Kurdish (Iran, F)</description>
                <languageList>
                  <iso639Id>kur</iso639Id>
                </languageList>
              </configItem>
            </variant>
            <variant>
              <configItem>
                <name>ku_alt</name>
    
                <shortDescription>ku</shortDescription>
                <description>Kurdish (Iran, Latin Alt-Q)</description>
                <languageList>
                  <iso639Id>kur</iso639Id>
                </languageList>
              </configItem>
            </variant>
            <variant>
              <configItem>
                <name>ku_ara</name>
    
                <shortDescription>ku</shortDescription>
                <description>Kurdish (Iran, Arabic-Latin)</description>
                <languageList>
                  <iso639Id>kur</iso639Id>
                </languageList>
              </configItem>
            </variant>
          </variantList>
        </layout> 
        <layout>
          <configItem>
            <name>iq</name>
    ...
    

But now, with these changes the new Persian-WinXP layout does not obey irwinxp and irwinxp is igored. Instead ir controls Persian-WinXP.

Update #2:

Unity has a problem with my new layout. The new layout icon is dark. But it works well.

dark layout icon

Note: I use Ubuntu 14.04.

1

2 Answers 2

42

Creating custom keyboard layout

For example, I'm looking to add a new modified English (international AltGr dead keys) US layout with swapped r,R & t,T. I will name it XY swapped:RT English (international AltGr dead keys).

  1. Create new symbols file:

    sudo nano /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/xy

     default  partial alphanumeric_keys
     xkb_symbols "basic" {
    
        name[Group1]= "XY swapped:RT English (international AltGr dead keys)";
    
        include "us(altgr-intl)"
    
     // my custom changes:
    
        key <AD04> { [        t, T,           ediaeresis,   Ediaeresis      ] };
        key <AD05> { [        r, R,           thorn,        THORN           ] };
    
    
        include "level3(ralt_switch)"
     };
    

    include "us(altgr-intl)" means it inherits all key from that layout only key overridden here.

    You may use Keyboard Layout Editor which is a GUI program that helps create or edit XKB keyboard layouts. Thanks to @Glutanimate

  2. Add the new layout declaration to /usr/share/X11/xkb/rules/evdev.xml (copy & modify us layout section)

    Reference: Make new variant keyboard layout available in Settings?

    sudo gedit /usr/share/X11/xkb/rules/evdev.xml

     ...
     <layout>
       <configItem>
         <name>xy</name>
    
         <shortDescription>en</shortDescription>
         <description>XY swapped:RT English (international AltGr dead keys)</description>
         <languageList>
                  <iso639Id>eng</iso639Id>
                  <iso639Id>fra</iso639Id>
                  <iso639Id>ger</iso639Id>
         </languageList>
       </configItem>
       <variantList>
       </variantList>
     </layout>
     ...
    
  3. Delete xkb cache.

     sudo rm /var/lib/xkb/*.xkm
    

    Notes:

    To load changes to the layouts menu simply restart gnome-keyboard-preferences; relaunching the window manager should not be necessary.

    There is a change in Ubuntu version 13.10 which causes the keyboard settings cache to not refresh after files in "/usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols" are modified. It looks like changes just don't get applied. To force the cache refreshing a one should delete *.xkm files from "/var/lib/xkb".

    Reference: Howto: Custom keyboard layout definitions

    or

     sudo dpkg-reconfigure xkb-data
    

    Reference: Why did 13.10 break my custom keyboard layout?

    Custom keyboard layout

Reply to fix OP modifications

  • (Update #1 wrong parent layout) You have modified xkb_symbols "pes_part_basic" which is in irwinxp file: that's ok.

    but xkb_symbols "pes" in irwinxp file still:

      include "ir(pes_part_basic)"
    

    which should be:

      include "irwinxp(pes_part_basic)"
    
  • (Update #2 custom icon) If <shortDescription>en</shortDescription> changed to <shortDescription>xy</shortDescription>. So the new layout will distinct from En and it will appear as Xy.

    Most probably there will be no icon for it in ubuntu-mono. Then the indicator will dynamically generate new one which may not follow current theme.

    1. Copy any layout icons for dark/light mono themes:

       sudo cp /usr/share/icons/ubuntu-mono-dark/status/22/indicator-keyboard-En.svg /usr/share/icons/ubuntu-mono-dark/status/22/indicator-keyboard-Xy.svg
       sudo cp /usr/share/icons/ubuntu-mono-light/status/22/indicator-keyboard-En.svg /usr/share/icons/ubuntu-mono-light/status/22/indicator-keyboard-Xy.svg
      
    2. SVG files are just XML. Open then for editing and change text value from En to Xy:

       sudo nano /usr/share/icons/ubuntu-mono-dark/status/22/indicator-keyboard-Xy.svg
       sudo nano /usr/share/icons/ubuntu-mono-light/status/22/indicator-keyboard-Xy.svg
      

      Example:

       <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="no"?>
       <svg width="22" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" version="1.1" height="22">
        <defs>
         <mask id="m">
          <rect y="0" x="0" style="fill:#fff" height="22" width="22"/>
          <text y="15.5" x="5" style="font-size:12;font-family:Ubuntu;font-weight:500;fill:black">Xy</text>
         </mask>
        </defs>
        <rect style="fill:#dfdbd2" mask="url(#m)" rx="2" height="20" width="20" y="1" x="1"/>
       </svg>
      
    3. Update theme cache:

       sudo update-icon-caches /usr/share/icons/ubuntu-mono-*/            
      
    4. Logout/login

      new layout with custom icon

Other Helpful References

7
  • 1
    Now it is a more complete guide than help.ubuntu.com/community/…. Thanks. btw, I wonder if I need to add the new layout name to other files in /usr/share/X11/xkb/rules/.
    – user69453
    Jun 15, 2014 at 17:39
  • 1
    yep @user69453 , :). As it works no need. They seem having same information in different formats, most probably a migration process from one format to other, we may expect disappearance of some of them next releases. Not sure, if I get any reference for that I will add it.
    – user.dz
    Jun 15, 2014 at 18:07
  • 1
    Great answer! Just a quick tip: You can use KeyboardLayoutEditor to quickly generate custom symbols files. Jun 15, 2014 at 22:42
  • Adding a flag picture is also necessary for KDE. An option in KDE can show country flag instead of layout label. For my artificial layout label is shown instead of a flag.
    – user69453
    Jun 22, 2014 at 9:26
  • 1
    Just for completeness sake: Here's another very helpful resource about XKB configuration on Linux Aug 15, 2014 at 23:20
2

I've been using variations of the above answer for a number of years but things started to break with newer versions of Ubuntu and possibly due to the switchover to Wayland so I looked for another way.

It appears a more convenient and cleaner (since it's all in userspace) way of specifying keyboard layout customisations has been introduced. This has been tested on 22.04 LTS and 21.10 under GNOME/Wayland.

Here's an example that remaps the PrtSc ("print screen") key as the "menu" key. I find this useful on my ThinkPad keyboard, as it has this less useful (IMHO) former key in lieu of the latter.

mkdir -p ~/.config/xkb/{symbols,rules}
cd ~/.config/xkb
cat > rules/evdev << EOF
! option = symbols
  custom:prtscmenu = +custom(prtscmenu)

! include %S/evdev
EOF
cat > symbols/custom << EOF
partial modifier_keys
xkb_symbols "prtscmenu" {
  key <PRSC> { [ Menu ] };
};
EOF

In the above, we've created a couple of files called rules/evdev and symbols/custom in the .config/xkb directory of our home directory. Note: no need for sudo or modifying any system file.

In those files, we've defined a custom option, which we've called prtscmenu (you can use what you like, just replace all occurrences of the string), and finally we've used the "familiar" XKB syntax to override the <PRSC> ("print screen") key as desired. The syntax is the same as the one used in the accepted answer.

Finally, in order to apply this option (or disable it), on top of whichever keyboard happens to be loaded, one just needs to run:

# apply custom layout:
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.input-sources xkb-options "['custom:prtscmenu']"
# disable custom layout:
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.input-sources xkb-options "[]"

These can easily be set as aliases to make things even easier.

A couple more points:

  • You can have multiple such customizations defined and apply them separately (the xkb-option GSettings above accepts an array)
  • Unlike the accepted answer, this won't generate a wholly separate layout. So let's say you switch between different layouts in your workflow - say US and your own locale - you could apply the same prtscmenu customization atop each layout.

Source & credit: https://who-t.blogspot.com/2020/02/user-specific-xkb-configuration-part-1.html

3
  • using the synthetic "MENU" key that you define above works great for picking AUTOCORRECT entries in Google Docs; however, it stopped working in GMAIL... do you know why? Also was wondering what the alias <MENU> = COMP ; line means in the xkb file
    – Jonathan
    May 5 at 1:27
  • if we use your method of putting the xkb modifiers in $HOME/.config does that make the keyboard layout change if we sudo -s to root in a shell?
    – Jonathan
    May 5 at 1:29
  • @Jonathan: configuration in $HOME/.config affects the user running the Desktop Environment (GNOME), which is typically the user you log in as. If you run sudo -s in a terminal window, you'll be escalating your privileges as root in that window but the GNOME DE will still be running as your user account so the modification will continue to apply to the complete environment, regardless of your terminal window running a root session. It's probably not advisable to run the DE (ie: login) as root.
    – sxc731
    May 5 at 13:51

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