I need to switch my keyboard to Dvorak layout. I've done this a number of times through the GUI and never had problems until now.

I'm running Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS codename trusty, Xfce4 & xfce4-xkb-plugin. The plugin only shows one layout. When I got to Keyboard Settings -> Layouts, the keyboard model drop down is empty and so are the "change layout option" and "compose key" dropdowns. I'm not able to add or delete keyboard layouts.

I tried switching on the command line by doing the following:

  1. Create .Xkbmap file in my home directory with the following content:

    -layout us -variant dvorak -option compose:102 -option numpad:shift3 -option kpdl:semi -option keypad:atm -option caps:shift
  2. Modified /etc/default/console-setup on include the following:

    XKBOPTIONS="compose:102, numpad:shift3, kpdl:semi, keypad:atm, caps:shift"
  3. Tried reconfiguring the keyboard by running:

    dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration

I also uninstalled ibus, which I read can cause problems on Ubuntu 14.04. I tried switching the input method as well.

None of it has worked. This is on a remote VM that I access over remote desktop connection from my Windows machine.

  • What does setxkbmap dvorak say? BTW, I also use Dvorak. Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 15:34
  • XKB extension not present on :10.0. xkb-data, xkbing & xkbset are all installed.
    – ventsyv
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 15:47
  • Did you update X server on this machine? Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 15:48
  • No, but I ran sudo apt-get update and it's all up to date.
    – ventsyv
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 15:49
  • apt-get update only updates a local repository of available packages, it does not upgrade system. Lack of xkb may be the reason why you cannot switch to dvorak layout. Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 15:50

1 Answer 1


If you're running an X Window System, then setxkbmap dvorak is the command you're looking for. If you're on a terminal without X, then give loadkeys dvorak a try!

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