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 XMODMAP(1)                     X Version 11                      XMODMAP(1)
                                 Release 6.1

 NAME    [Toc]    [Back]
      xmodmap - utility for modifying keymaps in X

 SYNOPSIS    [Toc]    [Back]
      xmodmap [-options ...] [filename]

 DESCRIPTION    [Toc]    [Back]
      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

 OPTIONS    [Toc]    [Back]
      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 xmodmap.

              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
              information 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
              mappings, 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.

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

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 XMODMAP(1)                     X Version 11                      XMODMAP(1)
                                 Release 6.1

      -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
      executed.  This file is usually kept in the user's home directory with
      a name like .xmodmaprc.

 EXPRESSION GRAMMAR    [Toc]    [Back]
      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
      having to worry as much about name conflicts.

      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.

      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
              matching keycodes used to perform the corresponding set of
              keycode expressions.  The list of keysym names may be found in
              the header file <X11/keysymdef.h> (without the XK_ prefix) or
              the keysym database <XRoot>/lib/X11/XKeysymDB, where <XRoot>
              refers to the root of the X11 install tree.  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
              modifier, 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

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 XMODMAP(1)                     X Version 11                      XMODMAP(1)
                                 Release 6.1

              indicated 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
              evaluated 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 to pointer map to contain the indicated button
              codes.  The list always starts with the first physical 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.

 EXAMPLES    [Toc]    [Back]
      Many pointers are designed such that the first button is pressed using
      the index finger of the right hand.  People who are left-handed
      frequently 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
      simply 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

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 XMODMAP(1)                     X Version 11                      XMODMAP(1)
                                 Release 6.1

      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
      frequently involves exchanging Backspace with Delete to be more
      comfortable to the user.  If the ttyModes resource in xterm is set as
      well, all terminal emulator windows will use the same key for erasing

           %  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
      location of the Control and Shift Lock 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

      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 lock.

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 XMODMAP(1)                     X Version 11                      XMODMAP(1)
                                 Release 6.1

      On an HP HIL keyboard, the following keycodes have key caps as listed:

           !     101  Backspace
           !      55  Caps_Lock
           !      14  Control_L
           !      15  Break hpReset
           !      86  Cancel
           !      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

 ENVIRONMENT    [Toc]    [Back]
      DISPLAY to get default host and display number.

 SEE ALSO    [Toc]    [Back]
      X(1), xev(1), Xlib documentation on key and pointer events

 BUGS    [Toc]    [Back]
      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.

 AUTHOR    [Toc]    [Back]
      Jim Fulton, MIT X Consortium, rewritten from an earlier version by
      David Rosenthal of Sun Microsystems.

 Hewlett-Packard Company            - 5 -             HP-UX 11.23 March 2003
[ Back ]
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