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I'm wondering is there any command line tool, that returns current keyboard layout.

I have XkbLayout set to us, ru.

Update: setxkbmap returns layout settings, not selected layout. E.g.:

$ setxkbmap -print | grep xkb_symbols
xkb_symbols   { include "pc+us+ru:2+inet(evdev)+capslock(grouplock)+terminate(ctrl_alt_bksp)"   };

It will return same result no matter what current layout is.

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I am not really good at D-Bus, but it should be easy to track the current keyboard layout using it I think. Although it may not be able to do so if there is no active switch. – Benjamin Dec 26 '11 at 18:16

Maybe this is version dependent, but on my machine that uses setxkbmap 1.3.0 the following command works:

setxkbmap -query | grep layout

Note that depending on your need it may be useless to know only the layout : for instance the Dvorak variant of the US layout is quite different than the default QWERTY. The -query option of setxkbmap gives both the layout and the variant, as different fields :

$ setxkbmap -query
rules:      evdev
model:      default
layout:     fr
variant:    bepo
options:    grp:alt_shift_toggle
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-query was added in setxkbmap 1.2.0 – alanc Apr 6 '13 at 1:49
You get the current layouts and variants and many additional info with setxkbmap -print -verbose 10 – erik May 13 at 20:22
To set it, for example both layouts cz and us, the latter with variant dvorak (for a 104 key keyboard), use setxkbmap -model pc104 -layout cz,us -variant ,dvorak – erik May 13 at 20:27

There is xkb-switch which is described thus:

xkb-switch is a C++ program that allows to query and change the XKB layout state.


Or, following nozimica's suggestion, you could use:

setxkbmap -print | awk -F"+" '/xkb_symbols/ {print $2}'

From this thread on the Arch Linux boards: https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?pid=539406

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Thanks, xkb-switch works fine, but I hope that there was more portable solution – Andrew Apr 28 '11 at 16:34
@Andrew: yes it's kind of odd there is no simple way to get the current layout. – Benjamin Dec 26 '11 at 17:38
Your setxkbmap doesn't show the currently active layout when more than one layout is defined. – terdon Oct 22 '15 at 12:51

Use this to get the code for the current layout:

$(xset -q|grep LED| awk '{ print $10 }')

This might needs to be converted to a form you want, like:

case "$(xset -q|grep LED| awk '{ print $10 }')" in
  "00000002") KBD="English" ;;
  "00001002") KBD="Thai" ;;
  *) KBD="unknown" ;;
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I get 00000002 even though my layout is "USA Dvorak international". Language is not enough... – l0b0 Jan 5 '12 at 11:42
It doesn't help if there are three or more layouts. The second and the third layouts give the same value 00001004 on my machine. – sastanin Dec 19 '12 at 8:37
problem: toggle your numlock and start this command again ;) – andras.tim Jul 6 at 16:19

Yes THERE IS a command line tool that does what you want! I just discovered it 10min ago :)

Look at here: https://github.com/nonpop/xkblayout-state

xkblayout-state print "%s"

does exactly what you want (it doesn't output an end of line, so add ; echo if you need). run the tool without parameters for the help.

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This is great. Thanks! – orschiro Nov 21 '13 at 15:21

Another simpler approach, because of fixed positions of the output of the xset -q command, is this:

xset -q | grep -A 0 'LED' | cut -c59-67

It prints 00000002 or 00001002 depending on your current keyboard layout.

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I like this one, I think you can narrow it down to 8 chars. c59-66. – xlembouras Jul 31 '14 at 13:23

From Goosfrabaa in the Arch Linux forums:

setxkbmap -v | awk -F "+" '/symbols/ {print $2}'

This works correctly here, and prints us(dvorak-intl) (displayed as "USA Dvorak international" in the GNOME keyboard selection menu).

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It prints only the first layout in the list, not the current one. – sastanin Dec 19 '12 at 8:38
How can I detect my keymap, when I use language toggle by setxkbmap? $ setxkbmap -v >> Trying to build keymap using the following components: | keycodes: evdev+aliases(qwerty) | types: complete | compat: complete+ledscroll(group_lock) | symbols: pc+us+hu:2+inet(evdev)+group(alt_shift_toggle)+compose(rwin)+terminate(ctrl_alt_‌​bksp) | geometry: pc(pc105) in this case I got everytime "us" – andras.tim Jul 6 at 16:29

You can use:

setxkbmap -print | grep xkb_symbols
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it returns overall keyboard settings, not current layout (us or ru) – Andrew Apr 28 '11 at 11:17
Execute it well, as @jasonwryan states if you analyze carefully that line, into it resides your layout. In my case it is latam. – nozimica Apr 28 '11 at 14:10
jasonwryan version just output a part of string after '+', xkb_symbols value doesn't depend on selected layout, I always get 'us' – Andrew Apr 28 '11 at 16:33

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