loadkeys(1) — Linux manual page


LOADKEYS(1)                General Commands Manual               LOADKEYS(1)

NAME         top

       loadkeys - load keyboard translation tables

SYNOPSIS         top

       loadkeys [ -a --ascii ] [ -b --bkeymap ] [ -c --clearcompose ] [ -C
       '<FILE>' | --console=<FILE> ] [ -d --default ] [ -h --help ] [ -m
       --mktable ] [ -p --parse ] [ -q --quiet ] [ -s --clearstrings ] [ -u
       --unicode ] [ -v --verbose ] [ -V --version ] [ filename...  ]

DESCRIPTION         top

       The program loadkeys reads the file or files specified by
       filename....  Its main purpose is to load the kernel keymap for the
       console.  You can specify console device by the -C (or --console )

RESET TO DEFAULT         top

       If the -d (or --default ) option is given, loadkeys loads a default
       keymap, probably the file defkeymap.map either in @DATADIR@/keymaps
       or in /usr/src/linux/drivers/char.  (Probably the former was user-
       defined, while the latter is a qwerty keyboard map for PCs - maybe
       not what was desired.)  Sometimes, with a strange keymap loaded (with
       the minus on some obscure unknown modifier combination) it is easier
       to type `loadkeys defkeymap'.


       The main function of loadkeys is to load or modify the keyboard
       driver's translation tables.  When specifying the file names,
       standard input can be denoted by dash (-). If no file is specified,
       the data is read from the standard input.

       For many countries and keyboard types appropriate keymaps are
       available already, and a command like `loadkeys uk' might do what you
       want. On the other hand, it is easy to construct one's own keymap.
       The user has to tell what symbols belong to each key. She can find
       the keycode for a key by use of showkey(1), while the keymap format
       is given in keymaps(5) and can also be seen from the output of


       If the input file does not contain any compose key definitions, the
       kernel accent table is left unchanged, unless the -c (or
       --clearcompose ) option is given, in which case the kernel accent
       table is emptied.  If the input file does contain compose key
       definitions, then all old definitions are removed, and replaced by
       the specified new entries.  The kernel accent table is a sequence of
       (by default 68) entries describing how dead diacritical signs and
       compose keys behave.  For example, a line

              compose ',' 'c' to ccedilla

       means that <ComposeKey><,><c> must be combined to <ccedilla>.  The
       current content of this table can be see using `dumpkeys


       The option -s (or --clearstrings ) clears the kernel string table. If
       this option is not given, loadkeys will only add or replace strings,
       not remove them.  (Thus, the option -s is required to reach a well-
       defined state.)  The kernel string table is a sequence of strings
       with names like F31. One can make function key F5 (on an ordinary PC
       keyboard) produce the text `Hello!', and Shift+F5 `Goodbye!' using

              keycode 63 = F70 F71
              string F70 = "Hello!"
              string F71 = "Goodbye!"

       in the keymap.  The default bindings for the function keys are
       certain escape sequences mostly inspired by the VT100 terminal.


       If the -m (or --mktable ) option is given loadkeys prints to the
       standard output a file that may be used as /usr/src/linux/drivers‐
       /char/defkeymap.c, specifying the default key bindings for a kernel
       (and does not modify the current keymap).


       If the -b (or --bkeymap ) option is given loadkeys prints to the
       standard output a file that may be used as a binary keymap as
       expected by Busybox loadkmap command (and does not modify the current

UNICODE MODE         top

       loadkeys automatically detects whether the console is in Unicode or
       ASCII (XLATE) mode.  When a keymap is loaded, literal keysyms (such
       as section) are resolved accordingly; numerical keysyms are converted
       to fit the current console mode, regardless of the way they are
       specified (decimal, octal, hexadecimal or Unicode).

       The -u (or --unicode) switch forces loadkeys to convert all keymaps
       to Unicode.  If the keyboard is in a non-Unicode mode, such as XLATE,
       loadkeys will change it to Unicode for the time of its execution.  A
       warning message will be printed in this case.

       It is recommended to run kbd_mode(1) before loadkeys instead of using
       the -u option.

OTHER OPTIONS         top

       -a --ascii
              Force conversion to ASCII.

       -h --help
              loadkeys prints its version number and a short usage message
              to the programs standard error output and exits.

       -p --parse
              loadkeys searches and parses keymap without action.

       -q --quiet
              loadkeys suppresses all normal output.

       -V --version
              loadkeys prints version number and exits.

WARNING         top

       Note that anyone having read access to /dev/console can run loadkeys
       and thus change the keyboard layout, possibly making it unusable.
       Note that the keyboard translation table is common for all the
       virtual consoles, so any changes to the keyboard bindings affect all
       the virtual consoles simultaneously.

       Note that because the changes affect all the virtual consoles, they
       also outlive your session. This means that even at the login prompt
       the key bindings may not be what the user expects.

FILES         top

              default directory for keymaps.

              default kernel keymap.

SEE ALSO         top

       dumpkeys(1), keymaps(5)

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the kbd (Linux keyboard tools) project.
       Information about the project can be found at 
       ⟨http://www.kbd-project.org/⟩.  If you have a bug report for this man‐
       ual page, send it to kbd@lists.altlinux.org.  This page was obtained
       from the project's upstream Git repository
       ⟨https://github.com/legionus/kbd.git⟩ on 2020-09-18.  (At that time,
       the date of the most recent commit that was found in the repository
       was 2020-09-08.)  If you discover any rendering problems in this HTML
       version of the page, or you believe there is a better or more up-to-
       date source for the page, or you have corrections or improvements to
       the information in this COLOPHON (which is not part of the original
       manual page), send a mail to man-pages@man7.org

kbd                              6 Feb 1994                      LOADKEYS(1)

Pages that refer to this page: dumpkeys(1)kbd_mode(1)localectl(1)setleds(1)setmetamode(1)showkey(1)unicode_start(1)ioctl_console(2)reboot(2)console_ioctl(4)keymaps(5)vconsole.conf(5)setkeycodes(8)systemd-localed(8)systemd-localed.service(8)systemd-vconsole-setup(8)systemd-vconsole-setup.service(8)