Is there a way to modify keyboard layout in Gnome in a such way that the following modifications will be available?

; --- Backspace
<Alt-;> --- ;
<Alt-h> --- LeftArrow
<Alt-j> --- DownArrow
<Alt-k> --- UpArrow
<Alt-l> --- RightArrow

where --- means one key press would be changed to another in manner like the latter was press on the unchanged keyboard layout.

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    I dunno what this has got to do with Gnome? I'm sure xmodmap will be very suitable for this job (on console; I'm not so fond of GUI tools in this respect) Although I concede that for new users, this approach might be a little hard to do due to the tool's "cryptic" syntax. Nov 3, 2014 at 23:51
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    I find out that it is not true xmodmap cannot support this kind of modifications. xmodmap is pretty trivial key mapping tool without any programmable features. In my case xmodmap changes the behavior of the whole system related to alt key (alt will not be anymore as functional key it was before). If I am not right please provide any clues of the solution.
    – itun
    Nov 4, 2014 at 22:54
  • @itun This is true, xmodmap cannot achieve what you want. It's simply a map layout editor.
    – sinekonata
    Mar 30, 2021 at 18:57

1 Answer 1


If you're not too attached to Gnome, KDE has the ability to bind keys to simulate other keys or even dbus commands in fact.

On other DEs you can still bind your keys to xvkbd as a way to emulate keys and bind these to your DE "shortcuts" utility. If there is no such utility you can still use xbindkeys. Here are 2 short tutorials to set those up :



You will find that even with these low level tools, some websites like youtube will not work well with an <Alt-h> --- LeftArrow keybinding. I have not found a way to do this at a lower level still. I suspect that it would require a programmable keyboard to achieve what you seek seamlessly. Otherwise it's still very useable and it saves enormous amounts of time, especially if you have such a setup on emacs.

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