Skip site navigation (1)Skip section navigation (2)

FreeBSD Manual Pages


home | help
XMODMAP(1)							    XMODMAP(1)

       xmodmap	- utility for modifying	keymaps	and pointer button mappings in

       xmodmap [-options ...] [filename]

       The xmodmap program is used to edit and display the  keyboard  modifier
       map  and	 keymap	 table that are	used by	client applications to convert
       event keycodes into keysyms.  It	is usually run from the	user's session
       startup	script to configure the	keyboard according to personal tastes.

       The following options may be used with xmodmap:

       -display	display
	       This option specifies the host and display to use.

       -help   This option indicates that a brief description of  the  command
	       line arguments should be	printed	on the standard	error channel.
	       This will be done whenever an unhandled argument	 is  given  to

	       This  option  indicates	that  a	 help  message	describing the
	       expression grammar used in files	and with -e expressions	should
	       be printed on the standard error.

	       This  option indicates that xmodmap should print	logging	infor-
	       mation as it parses its input.

       -quiet  This option  turns  off	the  verbose  logging.	 This  is  the

       -n      This  option  indicates that xmodmap should not change the map-
	       pings, but should display what it would do, like	 make(1)  does
	       when given this option.

       -e expression
	       This option specifies an	expression to be executed.  Any	number
	       of expressions may be specified from the	command	line.

       -pm     This option indicates that the current modifier map  should  be
	       printed	on  the	standard output.   This	is the default mode of
	       operation if no other mode options are specified.

       -pk     This option indicates that the current keymap table  should  be
	       printed on the standard output.

       -pke    This  option  indicates that the	current	keymap table should be
	       printed on the standard output in the form of expressions  that
	       can be fed back to xmodmap.

       -pp     This  option  indicates	that the current pointer map should be
	       printed on the standard output.

       -       A lone dash means that the standard input should	be used	as the
	       input file.

       The filename specifies a	file containing	xmodmap	expressions to be exe-
       cuted.  This file is usually kept in the	user's home directory  with  a
       name like .xmodmaprc.

       The  xmodmap  program  reads  a list of expressions and parses them all
       before attempting to execute any	of them.  This makes  it  possible  to
       refer to	keysyms	that are being redefined in a natural way without hav-
       ing to worry as much about name conflicts.

       The  list  of  keysym  names  may  be  found   in   the	 header	  file
       _X11/keysymdef.h_  (without the XK_ prefix), supplemented by the	keysym
       database	  /usr/local/share/X11/XKeysymDB.   Keysyms  matching  Unicode
       characters  may	be  specified  as  "U0020"  to	"U007E"	and "U00A0" to
       "U10FFFF" for all possible Unicode characters.

       keycode NUMBER =	KEYSYMNAME ...
	       The list	of keysyms is assigned to the indicated	keycode	(which
	       may be specified	in decimal, hex	or octal and can be determined
	       by running the xev  program).   Up  to  eight  keysyms  may  be
	       attached	 to  a	key, however the last four are not used	in any
	       major X server implementation.  The first keysym	is  used  when
	       no  modifier  key  is pressed in	conjunction with this key, the
	       second with Shift, the third when the Mode_switch key  is  used
	       with  this  key	and  the  fourth when both the Mode_switch and
	       Shift keys are used.

       keycode any = KEYSYMNAME	...
	       If no existing key has the specified list of  keysyms  assigned
	       to  it, a spare key on the keyboard is selected and the keysyms
	       are assigned to it.  The	list of	keysyms	may  be	 specified  in
	       decimal,	hex or octal.

       keysym KEYSYMNAME = KEYSYMNAME ...
	       The  KEYSYMNAME on the left hand	side is	translated into	match-
	       ing keycodes used to perform the	corresponding set  of  keycode
	       expressions.  Note that if the same keysym is bound to multiple
	       keys, the expression is executed	for each matching keycode.

       clear MODIFIERNAME
	       This removes all	entries	in the modifier	map for	the given mod-
	       ifier,  where valid name	are: Shift, Lock, Control, Mod1, Mod2,
	       Mod3, Mod4, and Mod5 (case does not matter in  modifier	names,
	       although	 it  does  matter  for all other names).  For example,
	       ``clear Lock'' will remove all any keys that were bound to  the
	       shift lock modifier.

	       This  adds  all	keys containing	the given keysyms to the indi-
	       cated modifier map.  The	keysym names are evaluated  after  all
	       input expressions are read to make it easy to write expressions
	       to swap keys (see the EXAMPLES section).

	       This removes all	keys containing	the  given  keysyms  from  the
	       indicated modifier map.	Unlike add, the	keysym names are eval-
	       uated as	the line is read in.  This allows you to  remove  keys
	       from  a	modifier  without having to worry about	whether	or not
	       they have been reassigned.

       pointer = default
	       This sets the pointer map back to its default settings  (button
	       1 generates a code of 1,	button 2 generates a 2,	etc.).

       pointer = NUMBER	...
	       This  sets  the	pointer	 map  to  contain the indicated	button
	       codes.  The list	always starts with the first physical  button.
	       Setting a button	code to	0 disables events from that button.

       Lines that begin	with an	exclamation point (!) are taken	as comments.

       If  you	want  to  change  the binding of a modifier key, you must also
       remove it from the appropriate modifier map.

       Many pointers are designed such that the	first button is	pressed	 using
       the  index  finger  of the right	hand.  People who are left-handed fre-
       quently find that it is more comfortable	to reverse  the	 button	 codes
       that  get  generated  so	 that  the primary button is pressed using the
       index finger of the left	hand.  This  could  be	done  on  a  3	button
       pointer as follows:

	    %  xmodmap -e "pointer = 3 2 1"

       Many  applications  support the notion of Meta keys (similar to Control
       keys except that	Meta is	held down instead of Control).	However,  some
       servers	do  not	have a Meta keysym in the default keymap table,	so one
       needs to	be added by hand.  The following command will attach  Meta  to
       the  Multi-language key (sometimes labeled Compose Character).  It also
       takes advantage of the fact that	applications that need a Meta key sim-
       ply  need  to get the keycode and don't require the keysym to be	in the
       first column of the keymap table.  This means  that  applications  that
       are  looking for	a Multi_key (including the default modifier map) won't
       notice any change.

	    %  xmodmap -e "keysym Multi_key = Multi_key	Meta_L"

       Similarly, some keyboards have an Alt key but no	 Meta  key.   In  that
       case the	following may be useful:

	    %  xmodmap -e "keysym Alt_L	= Meta_L Alt_L"

       One  of	the more simple, yet convenient, uses of xmodmap is to set the
       keyboard's "rubout" key to generate an  alternate  keysym.   This  fre-
       quently	involves  exchanging Backspace with Delete to be more comfort-
       able to the user.  If the ttyModes resource in xterm is	set  as	 well,
       all terminal emulator windows will use the same key for erasing charac-

	    %  xmodmap -e "keysym BackSpace = Delete"
	    %  echo "XTerm*ttyModes:  erase ^?"	| xrdb -merge

       Some keyboards do not automatically generate less than and greater than
       characters  when	 the  comma  and period	keys are shifted.  This	can be
       remedied	with xmodmap by	resetting  the	bindings  for  the  comma  and
       period with the following scripts:

	    ! make shift-, be <	and shift-. be >
	    keysym comma = comma less
	    keysym period = period greater

       One  of	the more irritating differences	between	keyboards is the loca-
       tion of the Control and CapsLock	keys.  A common	use of xmodmap	is  to
       swap these two keys as follows:

	    ! Swap Caps_Lock and Control_L
	    remove Lock	= Caps_Lock
	    remove Control = Control_L
	    keysym Control_L = Caps_Lock
	    keysym Caps_Lock = Control_L
	    add	Lock = Caps_Lock
	    add	Control	= Control_L

       This  example  can be run again to swap the keys	back to	their previous

       The keycode command is useful for assigning the same keysym to multiple
       keycodes.   Although  unportable,  it  also  makes it possible to write
       scripts that can	reset the keyboard to a	known  state.	The  following
       script  sets  the  backspace  key  to generate Delete (as shown above),
       flushes all existing caps lock bindings,	makes the CapsLock  key	 be  a
       control	key, make F5 generate Escape, and makes	Break/Reset be a shift

	    ! On the HP, the following keycodes	have key caps as listed:
	    !	  101  Backspace
	    !	   55  Caps
	    !	   14  Ctrl
	    !	   15  Break/Reset
	    !	   86  Stop
	    !	   89  F5
	    keycode 101	= Delete
	    keycode 55 = Control_R
	    clear Lock
	    add	Control	= Control_R
	    keycode 89 = Escape
	    keycode 15 = Caps_Lock
	    add	Lock = Caps_Lock

       DISPLAY to get default host and display number.

       X(7), xev(1), setxkbmap(1), XStringToKeysym(3), Xlib  documentation  on
       key and pointer events

       Every  time  a  keycode expression is evaluated,	the server generates a
       MappingNotify event on every client.  This can  cause  some  thrashing.
       All  of	the  changes  should  be  batched  together  and done at once.
       Clients that receive keyboard input  and	 ignore	 MappingNotify	events
       will not	notice any changes made	to keyboard mappings.

       Xmodmap	should	generate  "add"	and "remove" expressions automatically
       whenever	a keycode that is already bound	to a modifier is changed.

       There should be a way to	have the remove	expression accept keycodes  as
       well  as	keysyms	for those times	when you really	mess up	your mappings.

       Jim Fulton, MIT X Consortium, rewritten	from  an  earlier  version  by
       David Rosenthal of Sun Microsystems.

X Version 11			 xmodmap 1.0.8			    XMODMAP(1)


Want to link to this manual page? Use this URL:

home | help