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Getting the 'windows keys' to work in KDE the easy way

Posted 11-22-2009 at 05:51 PM by trevorparsons

Like most people I have a keyboard with the extra keys that Microsoft introduced, and I like to set these up to do useful things for me in my KDE4 desktop.

At the moment my preference is to set the left key to bring up the often-used 'Run Command' dialogue, and the right key to pop down my Yakuake console.

However, typically if you go to System Settings > Keyboard & Mouse > Global Keyboard Shortcuts and try to set either of the Windows keys as custom shortcuts for any action, you'll find the setting doesn't stick. KDE sees that a key was pressed, but can't map it.

Previously, I've had to fiddle around using xev to detect the keycodes, setting them up in .xmodmaprc, and having xmodmap read that configuration. Not great.

But today I found a graphical KDE way of setting up these keys. I went to System Settings > Regional & Language > Keyboard Layout. There I have 'Enable keyboard layouts' ticked, Generic 104-key PC selected as keyboard model, and 'United Kingdom' as the only entry in the Active layouts list. Selecting that layout, I noticed that the Layout variant drop-down menu was showing Default. I changed this to 'Extended - Winkeys' and pressed Apply.

I am now able to assign shortcuts to these keys. Hurrah.
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  1. Old Comment
    Roll on three and a bit years, to KDE SC 4.10. The underlying keyboard setting required is the same these days, but the developers have hidden it in a different place in System Settings. Nowadays you have to go to Input Devices > Layouts and tick the Configure layouts box. I then deleted the 'us' keyboard which was listed there, and clicked the Add button. An Add Layout dialogue window appeared, from which I chose 'English (UK)' as layout, and 'English (UK, extended WinKeys)' as the variant. Apply, and then you can assign keyboard shortcuts to one, other or both winkeys / super keys.
    Posted 02-17-2013 at 09:42 PM by trevorparsons trevorparsons is offline


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