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GNOME makes multimedia keys, such as fn+directional keys on my laptop, maybe dedicated keys on your keyboard, into very useful keys. They seem to work with a large number of application. What can I do to recreate this using something like xbindkeys?

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Many display managers have their own key bindings, what DM are you using? – Kevin Jan 22 '12 at 6:39
I'm using awesome which is pretty minimal out of the box. – rob.g.greer Jan 22 '12 at 14:13

Once xbindkeys is installed, open up a terminal and type xbindkeys -k. This should open a white window (don't bother with it). Just press the button you want to create a rule for on your keyboard.

Below, I pressed the 'Volume Up' button on my keyboard

max@max-desktop:/dev> xbindkeys -k
Press combination of keys or/and click under the window.
You can use one of the two lines after "NoCommand"
in $HOME/.xbindkeysrc to bind a key.
"(Scheme function)"
    m:0x10 + c:123
    Mod2 + XF86AudioRaiseVolume

Now take the key definition:

"(Scheme function)"
    m:0x10 + c:123
    Mod2 + XF86AudioRaiseVolume

and place it in ~/.xbindkeysrc. Then change the ("Scheme function") part to whatever command you want to be run.

For example, this would laumch VLC when I pressed the Volume Up button:

    m:0x10 + c:123
    Mod2 + XF86AudioRaiseVolume
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FYI, Mod2 probably just means you have numlock on. – derobert May 9 '13 at 16:52

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