I try to follow touch typing on a german QWERTZ-Layout. Since I am programming, I often need special characters, such as {, which can be accesed via the third keyboard level on the numbers row. On windows for example, the way to access the third keyboard level is via AltGr or Ctrl + Alt. This is the excact behaviour that I want to have in Gnome 3 as well. Unfortuanetly, the only way to access the third level is by default AltGr, which means that I can only access it with one hand, which goes against the principles of touch typing where every key has it's dedicated finger.. Now, the Gnome settings allow for a bunch of funky options to access the third level: <Less/Greater>, Backslash, etc. However, it does not allow for Ctrl + Alt, which is driving me nuts. The closest option is to allow just Alt as well; however, this breaks fundamental shortcuts such as Alt + TAB und thus is not an option. I did some reserch, however the only solutions that I found are to manually set up a shortcut for each of the desired special characters (and look very hacky to me).

Now, why the hell does Gnome not allow Ctrl + Alt to be a third level chooser when it is a standard else where. And, is there some Gnome Plugin or less dirty way than setting up individual shortcuts to fix this issue?

Here is what I have done so far:

  • Created a folder .xkb in $HOME.
  • Created a file .xkb/types/custom_level3 with the content
default xkb_types "local" {

    include "complete"

    type "Level3withCtrlAlt" {
        modifiers = Control+Alt+Shift;
        map[None] = Level1;
        map[Shift] = Level2;
        map[Control+Alt] = Level3;
        map[Control+Alt+Shift] = Level4;

But now how do I use this type in a symbols file?

  • 1
    This has already been answered over at superuser.com. – Entropy0 Mar 23 at 18:56
  • I don't find that answer comprehensive for people that have never modified a keyboard layout before, and some additional research didn't help much. See edit above. – DisplayName Mar 29 at 11:20
  • I have two ideas: 1. Xorg configuration [wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Xorg/Keyboard_configuration] 2. GNOME Tweaks Honestly I have never had this need, so I can just point you to these two ideas, without any warranty about results... – mattia.b89 Apr 3 at 17:03

Your Answer

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

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.