On KDE (and on GNOME as well), there was an option to swap Caps Lock and Escape key.

Setting to Swap ESC and Caps Lock

I was expecting this same setting window in i3, but I didn't find one. Is there any similar setting in i3?


You can use xmodmap to swap Escape and Caps Lock on any DE.

First create a file with the following contents:

remove Lock = Caps_Lock
keycode 0x42 = Escape
keycode 0x9 = Caps_Lock
add Lock = Caps_Lock

Let's suppose it is saved as swapkeys.

Run the following command to swap the keys:

xmodmap swapkeys -display :0

assuming $DISPLAY is :0.

You can add the above line to your i3 config to execute automatically on startup.

  • swapkeys will be the path to the file we created? – Santosh Kumar Jun 12 '19 at 8:18
  • @SantoshKumar yes – Shubham Kumaram Jun 12 '19 at 8:23
  • How do you write a comment in swapkeys file? # doesn't work. – Santosh Kumar Jun 12 '19 at 8:24
  • Comments start with ! – Shubham Kumaram Jun 12 '19 at 8:25
  • Is there anything similar to keep NumLock on at boot time? – Santosh Kumar Jun 12 '19 at 9:34

Also the following will do the same:

config file: ~/.config/i3/config or user defined

 xmodmap -e "clear lock"

 #disable caps lock switch
 xmodmap -e "keysym Caps_Lock = Escape"
 set caps_lock as escape

just for simple config at one place

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