I have two different keyboard layouts and I switch between them with Ctrl+Shift. And I want to display my current layout with i3blocks. Now I have a super small single-line script that returns current layout with the following command:


But how can I update information when switching between keyboards? What I've tried:

Attempt #1

I could successfully update information by setting in i3blocks.conf:


... which forces my blocks to run the script every millisecond. It works ok but I'm really not sure it's the proper way to do that, particularly on the laptop.

Attempt #2

I also tried to send a signal to the block when pressing Ctrl+Shift with something like this in my i3/config:

bindsym --release Control+Shift exec --no-startup-id pkill -RTMIN+8 i3blocks

And with the following lines in i3blocks.conf:


But I couldn't make it work. If I change Control+Shift keys to any other key (for example $mod+Shift+z or CapsLock or Control+1) it works ok. (I mean, it sends a signal and updates blocks. If I switch keyboard with Ctrl+Shift and then press Mod+Shift+z or CapsLock or Ctrl+1 it will send a signal, update i3blocks and the language block will change).


I saw this post. It's also about switching the layouts. But I couldn't relate this to my problem. I'm not the best bash-programmer and don't understand what's going on in this kbdd-script. As far as I understand there's nothing about my problem.

  • Okay, I've asked another question here. – Neilana May 5 '17 at 17:14

Good guy on reddit helped me to solve the problem. I'll just copy-paste his answer here. The crucial command:

xkb-switch -W

With the following lines in i3blocks.conf everything works like a dream.

# AUR package: xkb-switch-git
command=xkb-switch -W
#command=bash -c 'xkb-switch;xkb-switch -W'
| improve this answer | |

I've seen your question here and if you are indeed using i3 I'm pretty sure you can edit the keymap of CTRL+SHIFT (the keymap is in the i3 config file too ~/.config/i3/config) to run a script of yours instead, script that changes the layout AND notifies the bar.

| improve this answer | |
  • As I described above I tried to map my keys with bindsym in the config file. It works with other keys but it doesn't work with Ctrl+Shift. Maybe there's something special about Ctrl+Shift? – Neilana May 5 '17 at 16:09
  • I think the problem might be because CTRL and SHIFT are both dead keys. And i3 might be having trouble picking up a dead-keys only combination. I have two keyboard layouts too, and I use the windows default keybinding Super + Space – Samuel H. May 5 '17 at 19:10
  • Yes, you're right! On my other question is a clear the explanation why. – Neilana May 5 '17 at 20:43

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