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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.

       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.   The  list  of  keysym  names may be found in the
               header file <X11/keysymdef.h> (without the XK_ prefix)  or  the
               keysym  database  /usr/X11/lib/X11/XKeysymDB.  Note that if the
               same keysym is bound to multiple keys, the expression  is  exe-
               cuted 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.

       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 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

       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), 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 1.0.3                      xmodmap(1)

Mac OS X 10.6 X11 - Generated Sun Mar 7 12:29:01 CST 2010