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I'm a long-time Windows user who uses the numeric keypad with the numlock off for navigating text, highlighting it, etc. Shift + Home (7 on the numpad) selects all text till the beginning of the line. In GNOME, pressing Shift + Home on the numpad inputs 7 instead of selecting all text till the beginning of the line.

Is there a way to change the behaviour of the numpad in GNOME 3.2 to that of the direction pad?

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There's an option for it in the advanced keyboard layout options. It should be labelled "Shift with numeric keypad keys works as in MS Windows"

For a desktop-agnostic solution, you can use setxkbmap -option numpad:microsoft in your X startup files.

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