These days I was confused about why I could not apply to a standard user the keyboard-layout configuration I had been able to add and apply as root to the Login-screen (To do so, I applied the debian.org guide).

The problem I thought I had was authorization, but in fact the setup for /etc/default/keyboard was fine (after I reconfigured it as I mentioned above). This is how it looks:


# Consult the keyboard(5) manual page.



Looking through forums and other StackExchange questions I found that quite a few people have problems with this (add extra keyboard-layouts), and that there are different guides basically because there are different Desktop Environments (DE).


I would like to show the captures I took to help if you find yourself in this situation:

I must to explain this:

I set English as default language at installation with an Spanish input, and there is no problem with Spanish keyboard, but to add another i.e. latam (latin-america spanish) you will probably have to add it as described in debian.org guide.

Important Note: I'm not totally sure if it is available in English (or your native language chosen at installation) as described in the 2nd picture, so first check.. but if it's not available proceed as described on the guide above. Then, once available follow as describe below:

Important Note: If you find any trouble like this "Failed to start Set console font and keymap" in your log you could do this:

`apt remove --purge console-setup` <br/>
`apt install console-setup` <br/>
`dpkg-reconfigure console-setup` <br/>

Appointed by andrzej1_1 in his answer to: "System will not boot after reconfiguring keyboard-configuration and installing console-setup" Fortunately I've had not this problem (exactly) but... It's something to keep in mind.

Nowadays (July 2017; Debian Stretch with Gnome 3.22.2)

  • This is the wrong way: Picture: Where you will NOT find your new keyboar-layout ... -.-

  • And this is the right one: Picture: : Where you will

  • Please note that the keyboard-layout in your login screen will change to the chosen once you run the commands as root, so if you want another you would have to add manually (choose the available).
    Picture: Login-screen-keyboard-layout

  • Remember you can switch between the keyboard-layouts available with super+space or windows-key+space. In case you have multiple keyboard configured available: this means, you could not switch to another keyboard if you have i.e. just English as input

  • Thanks, that worked for me. I have Debian running in virtualbox on a 2016 MacBook (purchased in UK); upgrading from Jessie to Stretch broke keyboard; restored correct function by following the instructions above. /etc/default/keyboard now has XKBLAYOUT=gb XKBVARIANT=mac_intl BACKSPACE=guess; in Gnome I added "English (UK, Macintosh international)" and everything seems to be ok (including "~", "`", "|" and "\" etc) – timday Jul 30 '17 at 22:21
  • (Ooops... that was a bit premature; found my quote keys were doing some strange smart-quotes thing; changed above to XKBVARIANT=mac and "English (UK, Macintosh)" in Gnome and that seems to behave better). – timday Jul 30 '17 at 23:02

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