My laptop came with a PrintScreen key (on the right hand side of KB between to the Alt_R and Control_R). In Xorg, I've been using xmodmap to swap the printscreen with a menu key:

/usr/bin/xmodmap -e "keycode 107 = Menu"

Problem is that xmodmap, xdotool and anything else that relies on intercepting and injecting keystrokes doesn't work anymore on Wayland due to security restrictions. gnome-tweak-tool had (out of the box) a few nifty xkb based modifications that allowed swapping out some specific keys (like capslock with escape) but it didn't have the modification I was looking for.

I was wondering if there was a way of swapping the printscr for a menu key by modifying the keyboard layout files? Are they text files or are they binary files that I'd have to re-compile?

There's setkeycodes and getkeycodes in /usr/bin, does anyone know what these commands do?

  • 1
    you'll need to use XKB options and layouts; xmodmap and X-related tools like setxkbmap will not work with Wayland. possibly duplicate of unix.stackexchange.com/q/292868/222377
    – quixotic
    Jan 3, 2018 at 7:52
  • Yes, I've actually read through that post a week ago, the main answer was xkb but xkb doesn't do printscr/menu out of the box. Someone on another thread gave me a suggestion of modifying xkb's config files and I did just that. seems to work like a charm. I'll be posting it here as answer. Jan 4, 2018 at 3:42

1 Answer 1


As I've stated in my question, there is already xkb which already has alot options for modifying the keyboard. It wasn't an option for me because the only option to modify the printscr key, replaced it with Win_R. Gunnar Hjalmarsson on this thread suggested to me that I modify xkb's modifications so that the printscr/win_r would do printscr/menu instead. We worked out a solution together and I'm going to retransmit it here:

In terminal, enter:

sudo su
nano /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/altwin

At the bottom of the file you will find:

// Win is mapped to the PrtSc key (and the usual Win key).
partial modifier_keys
xkb_symbols "prtsc_rwin" {
    replace key <PRSC> { [ Super_R, Super_R ] };
    modifier_map Mod4 { <PRSC>, <RWIN> };

Delete this section and replace it with this:

// Menu is mapped to the PrtSc key (and the usual Win key).
xkb_symbols "prtsc_rwin" {
     replace key <PRSC> { [ Menu, Menu ] };
     modifier_map Mod4 { <PRSC>, <MENU> };

To delete in nano, use backspace key (highlighting and deleting doesn't work). To paste, use shift-ctrl-v. To exit and save, press ctrl-x, select yes to overwrite and press enter.

Reboot. In Gnome/Ubuntu Go to gnome-tweak-tools In tweak tools go to Keyboard & Mouse section, press the Additional Layout Options button and expand Alt/Win key behavior. Selecting the option on the very bottom: Win is mapped to printscr (remember that we've modified just this behavior to swap print and Menu instead of print and Win). (I'm sure there is a way of turning on the modded xkb option in KDE but I don't use it, so I can't give you the exact procedure).

  • Note that if you modify stuff in /usr/share/X11/xkb, the changes will be undone the next time you upgrade the xkb software package, and you'll affect all keyboard layouts using those files. The "proper", bulletproof way (which needs more work) is to add your own layout using new files, without modifying the existing files.
    – dirkt
    Jan 4, 2018 at 8:50
  • I'm on a laptop so I wasn't too worried about other KBs but you make a good point about xkb updates overwriting the mod. How would I go about modifying the layout? If you know how, could you put it up as an answer? Jan 7, 2018 at 2:04
  • Menu is not normally a modifier key, so you shouldn't leave the modifier_map line in the alteration.
    – quixotic
    Feb 5, 2018 at 19:36
  • I'll give it a try and edit my answer accordingly if I see that it works. What does taking out the modifier_map line do? Feb 7, 2018 at 23:11
  • @quixotic I tested out your suggestion and have updated my answer. Out of curiosity, are there any consequences from leaving the modifier_map line? Feb 21, 2018 at 2:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.