I would like to have a way of switching the audio output device (internal speakers/headphones to bluetooth speakers etc) by keyboard actions (which I usually can do without searching, finding and putting my glasses on my nose).

Plasma tray elements can be activated with shortcuts, and thus I can connect, disconnect, switch between bluetooth devices by keyboard, because when the drop-down menu is visible, selection with arrow-keys and Enter to activate does the trick.

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But that doesn't work when trying to switch between audio devices themselves. I can bring forth the audio volume tray element with a shortcut:

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but further interaction by keyboard is limited to volume level.

There is a widget called audio device switcher which brings the options more to the front, but its shortcut does nothing. Overall, it lacks keyboard interaction.

The closest thing to what I want is to simply disable bluetooth by the first method IF that device is the one that is currently playing...

1 Answer 1


As a variant - you can go by way of scripts/launchers and set the hotkeys to run this scripts.

First you need to get a list of "sinks", which is how system knows audo devices:

pactl list sinks

One would have state "running" other in "suspended". Take a note of Name fields in this printout.

The script you will start from hotkey will execute a switch:

pactl set-default-sink SINK-NAME

Using the "Name" field from the list of sinks. This will switch all audio output to specified device.

Assuming you have just two sinks, you can do a script like this


sink_current=`pactl get-default-sink`
case $sink_current in
  $sink1) pactl set-default-sink $sink2 ;;
  $sink2) pactl set-default-sink $sink1 ;;
  *) pactl set-default-sink $sink1 ;;

Put it into you personal bin, and add a hotkey launcher.

  • It works just fine!
    – cipricus
    Nov 21, 2023 at 20:58

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