I'm on Fedora 25 Gnome. I have a Logitech K350 wireless keyboard. When I was on Xubuntu and Manjaro I could map all keys easily.

Now on Fedora some keys can't be mapped using Fedora's keyboard shortcuts application and some keys execute their commands when I try to map them. For instance, I have an additional turn off button on my keyboard. On Fedora it makes the laptop sleep, I cannot find it to remove it, if I try to add a shortcut, if I press it, the pc sleeps instead of showing me the code of the button.

Plus the keyboard application is laggy. I'd like to know if I could replace it with XFCE's keyboard application

enter image description here

I want to map all big grey buttons on top and on the left side. But the one that is most important, is the little grey button on the top right, it's supposed to be the shutdown button.

  • The command xev will allow you to get the keycodes for the keys, it is normally in a package like xorg-xev or xorg-utils. Update the question with some example keys that you want to map things to so people can make more specific answers.
    – grochmal
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 2:26
  • @grochmal I hope that's better now and will try to see if I can use xev
    – Lynob
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 19:30

2 Answers 2


Haven't use Fedora or Gnome (or XFCE) for that purpose for a long time. But remapping keys to functions happen on several layers, and doing it at WM layer is troublesome in my humble opinion. Key strokes/codes come from kernel (from IRQs in hardware, etc) to Xorg, which numbers all of them and passes back to applications (whether is passes all of them to the applications is another story).

The applications that Xorg passes the key codes include the WMs (XFCE or Gnome or even KDE), and the windows open by those applications. What the tools like keymapping desktop apps do, is that they tap in the keycode configuration of Xorg. Either by creating new keyboards (setxkbmap) modifying keys (xmodmap) or even remapping in memory before re-sending the code to a windows (IMEs).

If we tap into the Xorg keycodes ourselves we can configure the keyboard for any system (that runs Xorg that is). I'll use my own keyboard:

enter image description here

The outline shows a key that I'll use as an example, the one with a musical note. We will make that key work as an up arrow.

First let's have a look how Xorg sees my keyboard:

$ xinput 
⎡ Virtual core pointer                      id=2    [master pointer  (3)]
⎜   ↳ Virtual core XTEST pointer                id=4    [slave  pointer  (2)]
⎜   ↳ Logitech USB Optical Mouse                id=10   [slave  pointer  (2)]
⎜   ↳ SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad                id=14   [slave  pointer  (2)]
⎣ Virtual core keyboard                     id=3    [master keyboard (2)]
    ↳ Virtual core XTEST keyboard               id=5    [slave  keyboard (3)]
    ↳ Power Button                              id=6    [slave  keyboard (3)]
    ↳ Video Bus                                 id=7    [slave  keyboard (3)]
    ↳ Power Button                              id=8    [slave  keyboard (3)]
    ↳ Sleep Button                              id=9    [slave  keyboard (3)]
    ↳ USB 2.0 Camera                            id=11   [slave  keyboard (3)]
    ↳ Asus Laptop extra buttons                 id=12   [slave  keyboard (3)]
    ↳ AT Translated Set 2 keyboard              id=13   [slave  keyboard (3)]

Well yeah, I guess that my key (the musical note) is in "Asus Laptop extra buttons". Which means that it is under the Virtual Keyboard. Good, that means that I can use xev in the following way to find its keycode:

xev -event keyboard

If it was not part of the virtual keyboard I would need to go through all events (including mice events) which would make it hard to find, not impossible but hard. I then pres my musical note key whilst xev is running and find that Xorg understands it as follows:

KeyPress event, serial 28, synthetic NO, window 0x1a00001,
    root 0x496, subw 0x0, time 32080036, (381,333), root:(382,352),
    state 0x0, keycode 234 (keysym 0x1008ff32, XF86AudioMedia), same_screen YES,
    XLookupString gives 0 bytes: 
    XmbLookupString gives 0 bytes: 
    XFilterEvent returns: False

Good, that means it is keycode 234. That also shows that it is mapped to XF86AudioMedia which does nothing on my WM (xmonad, 'cause it ignores a good deal of the XF86 standard). But anyhow, we have a key to remap. To perform that we do:

xmodmap -e 'keycode 234 = Up NoSymbol Up'

And my musical note key works as an Up arrow. Moreover, this is WM independent. To make it work on reboot you need to place the xmodmap expression into a ~/.Xmodmap file:

keycode 234 = Up NoSymbol Up

And run

xmodmap ~/.Xmodmap

During the WM initialisation. Which files ~/.xprofile, ~/.xinitrc, ~/.profile, something else, are run during XFCE initialisation is another question. WMs are particularly unstandardised about which files are run. You can always run that by hand though.

The .Xmodmap file contains a mapping one per line, and can therefore be used to remap several keys. The ! mark is a comment indicator in that file.

How does that work?

For a start let's understand why I needed to write Up NoSymbol Up instead of simply Up. Actually I didn't need but it is common to give at least three (sometimes four) mapping for a key. The mapping mean the action to take when the key is:

= <key pressed> <shift+key> <ctrl+key> <ctrl+shift+key>

(Note that Ctrl+Up works badly in some applications, this makes this example not that good.)

OK, so we remapped one key. But how to find the correct action to remap keys to. Arrows are simple: Up, Down, Left, Right; letters also are simply remapped by adding the letter as the argument. But what about that XF86AudioMedia thing we had before? Or how to make a key to be a sleep or power button?

To get your current mappings you do:

xmodmap -pke

It prints a very long list, including several XF86 modifiers (e.g. XF86Sleep, XF86PowerOff, XF86WebCam). These can be added to any key just like we did with the Up arrow above. And the full list can be found in the Xorg source code.

Unfortunately, just like the comment in the source states:

X.Org will not be adding to the XF86 set of keysyms, though they have been adopted and are considered a "standard" part of X keysym definitions. XFree86 never properly commented these keysyms, so we have done our best to explain the semantic meaning of these keys.

XFree86 has removed their mail archives of the period, that might have shed more light on some of these definitions. Until/unless we resurrect these archives, these are from memory and usage.

It may be difficult to find the exact purpose of each of those. And, thanks to that lack of a well defined standard, WMs implement only some of those mapping. And different WMs implement different mapping. Moreover, some WMs have configuration tools to what these mappings do whilst others don't. Some WMs ignore pretty much all of these mappings.

One way to test whether your WM support a specific mapping is to try it. For example I'll try XF86XK_ToDoList by first removing the XK from the define and remapping an unused keycode:

xmodmap -e 'keycode 248 = XF86_ToDoList'

And use xdotool to make up the keypress of such a keycode:

xdotool keydown 248
xdotool keyup 248

My WM certainly does not support XF86_ToDoList since nothing happened (actually I do not think any WM support that one).

You can then search for the functionality you need for your keys and remap them once you find the functionality. Given that XFCE supports it, of course.


If you change your keyboard between different languages, using setxkbmap or a tool that calls setxkbmap behind the scenes, the mapping will be undone. IMEs are fine since they operate independently from Xorg.

The mapping work when you're logged on. You can create a "power on" keys

Be careful when testing something like XF86PowerOff, you may inadvertently force a hard reboot.


Fedora supports switching desktop environments, if you want to install the entire xfce desktop:

yum groupinstall 'Xfce Desktop'

On the login screen you will be able to choose an xfce desktop.

If you want to stick with Gnome, you can install parts of xfce. Try:

yum search xfce

Look for any xfce utilities that seem keyboard related and install those.


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