When I installed 16.04, I mistakenly chose the German keyboard layout. My computer is a Japanese computer with Japanese keys, but I regularly use several languages. How can I change the default system layout for all of my languages without reinstalling the OS? I cannot for the life of me find a GUI or CLI way to do this. Many thanks for your help.

  • Is it sufficient to change it for your own user? In that case System Settings -> Text Entry should be what you need. – Gunnar Hjalmarsson Apr 29 '16 at 15:44
  • Gunnar, thanks for your suggestion. I can add and remove text entry methods just fine, but this doesn't seem to solve the problem for me. Even if I add another Japanese text entry method, the keyboard layout doesn't change. E.g., I press the @ key and another character comes out. Also, I would prefer to change the default layout, as my passwords on the login key also depend on symbols that have unique locations on the Japanese keyboard. – Slim Down May 4 '16 at 1:46

I'm not able to reproduce the problem you have mentioned in comments, i.e. that enabling a Japanese keyboard layout wouldn't make a difference. I added Japanese, and the resulting keyboard layout looks like this:

Japanese keyboard layout

Then I opened gedit, switched to "Ja" via the input source indicator, and the expected characters according to the image above appeared when I typed.

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  • Gunnar, thank you for your kind help and persistence. Having not worked previously, I re-added "Japanese" within All Settings / Text Entry, and this time, it seems to have worked, both for "Japanese" and the "Japanese (Mozc)(iBus)" that I normally use. While I am pleased, I am most puzzled as to why it worked this time and not before. In any case, thank you. – Slim Down May 4 '16 at 5:47
  • @SlimDown: Glad that you made it work. :) – Gunnar Hjalmarsson May 4 '16 at 6:38
  • I have just recently set up another machine and run into the same issue. This time, I opened up IBus preferences in a terminal, ibus-setup and un-toggled Advanced --> Use system keyboard layout. Again, I'm not sure why, but this seems to have worked. Anyone still having issues after following the method above, try the IBus preferences. – Slim Down Aug 26 '16 at 3:56

In a shell:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration
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  • ubibene, thank you for your suggestion. I tried your suggestion and configured my board for Japanese layout, then rebooted, but the problem persists. I.e., the outputs do not match the keys I press. Not sure what the problem is. Could this be a bug? – Slim Down May 4 '16 at 1:54
  • @SlimDown: What's the output of cat /etc/default/keyboard? – Gunnar Hjalmarsson May 4 '16 at 4:51
  • # KEYBOARD CONFIGURATION FILE # Consult the keyboard(5) manual page. XKBMODEL="asus_laptop" XKBLAYOUT="jp" XKBVARIANT="OADG109A" XKBOPTIONS="" BACKSPACE="guess" – Slim Down May 4 '16 at 5:47
  • @SlimDown: That ought to be applied by the login greeter. Can't tell why it isn't for you. – Gunnar Hjalmarsson May 4 '16 at 6:35
  • 3
    Great solution. – Marc van Dongen Jun 30 '16 at 8:24

Install "Japanese iBus MOZC" Keyboard:

sudo apt-get install ibus-mozc mozc-server mozc-utils-gui

Re-login (this is important!) and find mozc in System Settings -> Text Entry when you click the + button.

If "your" Japanese is not listed, enter this command in shell


After that you should have these Japanese keyboard input sources in Text Entry when you click the + button: Japanese (Dvorak), Japanese (Kana), Japanese (Kana 86), Japanese (Macintosh), Japanese (Mozc)(IBus), Japanese (OADG 109A), Japanese (PC-98xx Series)

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  • PeterN, thank you for your suggestions. I should have mentioned in my question that I regularly use Japanese iBus MOZC, and have already tried un- and reinstalling, with reboots. I also tried your second suggestion in a terminal, but that did not seem to solve the problem. – Slim Down May 4 '16 at 1:54

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