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Keyboard Layout switching in KDE and GNOME


Keyboard layouts can be easily changed through Keyboard layout applet in KDE , instead of typing on the command line in a shell (xmodmap, setxkbmap).

Open KDE Control Center Select Peripherals -> Keyboard In layout check all the languages you want , default is English(US) eg Check Devanagari (dev) to enable devanagari in keyboard applet. With this you can type in Hindi and Marathi

Options for other langs are : ben - Bengali, gur - punjabi, guj - gujarati, kan - kannada, ml - malayalam, ori - oriya, tam - tamil, tel - telugu.

Click Apply, this will bring the keyboard applet in applet tray ( besides time & date ).

Now assign a short cut to switch between layouts. In Control Center

Select Look & Feel -> Key Bindings
In Global Shortcuts pane,
 In action - Current key  list
  Scroll down & select Keyboard -> Select next keyboard layout.
 You can now assign a keyboard short cut by selecting Custom Key in
  'Choose a key for the selected action'
 eg  Ctrl+Shift+K
 Click apply to save settings

You need to restart kde for settings to change effect. Ctrl+Shift+K will become the shortcut for switching b/n layouts.

Now to type in some language (eg dev ), just cycle through the layouts using the short cut (eg Ctrl+Shift+K), the icon in system tray will reflect the layout change ( eg from 'us' to 'dev' ).

 * You may need to check if the KDE localization packages for Hindi are installed in your distribution of Linux.
 * Check [KDESetup] page for details.


Gnome has a keyboard layout switcher applet which can be added to the panel.

To enable it do following.

Right click on panel
 Add -> Utility -> Keyboard layout switcher.
To add layout for your language,
right click on gkb applet (one with a flag) when it appears on the panel.
Select Prefrences , click Add.
 Select each language you want and click 'Add'

Indic options are avaialble as Hindi -> India -> Hindi inscript xkbmap etc. Use Left Alt+ Left Shift to switch between layouts - The country flags change according to layout.

If you are using IndLinux-Hindi-0.37 release, you can type in Hindi by pressing both Shift keys simultaneously - this acts as toggle between default english and Hindi layout. The scroll lock led will light up as visual indicator. Now you can type in Hindi. Press both shift to toggle back to english layout.

In IndLinux-Hindi 0.73 release , shift+shift toggles between different layouts, if more that two languages are configured then it will cycle between them.

Keyboard configuration for gkb is stored in  ~/.gconf/desktop/gnome/peripherals/keyboard/layout/%gconf.xml

Gnome 2.6 From Gnome 2.6 gkb is deprecated and a new tool 'Keyboard indicator' is available. Add it to panel and add language options, also set shortcut for toggling between layouts.