I'm trying to set some keyboard shortcuts in KDE. Some key combinations will work, and others won't, without explanation. For instance, I'm trying to set "Switch One Desktop Down" to Meta+N. I can set it fine, but then pressing Meta+N doesn't do anything. If I bind it to some other key combination, like Meta+H, or Alt+(, it works fine.

If I open a terminal and type one of the key combinations I set, working ones don't show anything, but non-working ones print things in the terminal. For instance, since Meta+H works, I'll type Meta+H in a terminal, and nothing happens. But if I type Meta+N, I see the terminal display @sn. Same for Meta+I, another key combination that isn't working. If I type Meta+I in a terminal, it prints @si.

I looked in the config files (kglobalshortcutsrc) and nothing looks out of the ordinary there. I tried searching the file for other instances of Meta+N, in case there is a conflict, but there isn't more than one entry.

I tried running dbus-monitor, to see what it's seeing, and I also tried removing kglobalshortcutsrc and khotkeysrc, setting everything to defaults, and setting everything to "none."

I'm using Arch, with the latest KDE packages. If I'm not mistaken, this is a recent development, since KDE didn't have this problem a few days ago. I tried downgrading kwin, but that didn't work.

I also use a Colemak keyboard layout. It seems the non-working keys are ones that aren't the same between QWERTY and Colemak. (Meta+H is in the same spot in both layouts, and it works. Meta+N is in a different place from QWERTY, and it doesn't work.)

1 Answer 1


I Know this is a really old question and I hope you already found a solution, but in case you haven't this might be it:

At the keyboard lay outs in system settings I have both Colemak and qwerty. If I move qwerty to the top, the qwerty shortcuts are activated. If I move Colemak to the top those shortcuts are active. So the solution is to move Colemak to the top.

I think it's a bug, so I made a bug report https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=425357

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