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Old 11-19-2009, 03:32 AM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jun 2009
Location: Japan, Hayama
Distribution: Mint 17, Cinnamon / Lubuntu 14.04
Posts: 17

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Beginner: How do I change the keyboard layout?

I am a beginner with Linux. So, in case somebody answers, keep the amount of "linux specific jargon" low, because I will probably not understand it. Probably this question has been answered before. If so, where might I find the answer?

1. Installed OpenSUSE 11.1 on HP nx9005 notebook. (hardware is working fine) So far so good.
2. Used YaST to install a secondary language (Japanese) in addition to the system language = English.
3. SCIM setting: tried to uncheck all languages I do not need and check ONLY Japanese, English and German
* SCIM keyboard list does NOT contain a German keyboard layout. Cannot find a place where to add one.
4. Personal settings: added a second KB layout (German) to the primary (Japanese)
5. Task bar shows now TWO flags: Japan / Germany; can be switched by clicking.
6. Personal settings: German is marked as secondary language.
7. Key shortcut to switch between keyboard layouts (?): Alt+left Shift
* Does NOT work. I am cycled through a horrendous number of "input methods" listed under SCIM, most of which I have never even heard of or could imagine what they are used for.

8. In OpenOffice Writer I can currently use (clicking on the keyboard icon in the task tray) an English keyboard layout (write English) and after activating Anthy (requires a number of clicks) can also write in Japanese. Fine.

But I could not yet figure out how to make the German keyboard layout - which is supposed to be available there - work. Going through 4-5 user guides (documentation) has not helped me so far.

All I want to do:
a) have THREE (not the present intimidating long list) KB layouts: Japanese, English and German
b) be able to switch between these using a SIMPLE shortcut (like Alt+Shift)
(I do that every day on Windows machines)
* This cannot be so difficult, can it?

WHAT did I miss?
Where did I miss it?

I appreciate your help
(... and have still more questions ...)
Old 11-19-2009, 12:54 PM   #2
LQ Newbie
Registered: Apr 2009
Posts: 5

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The keyboard layouts in YaST are for changing hardware. The layouts in Configure Keyboard are for changing the software layout of one keyboard. That is why you must click the flag to change the software layout. The keyboard combinations change the hardware layouts if you have two keyboards. As far as keyboard shortcuts, you have a choice; either configure the keyboard to respond to keyboard shortcuts OR use a quite separate (KDE) program to make a change in how the input from the keyboard is interpreted. The first will work whether you have KDE or Gnome installed; the second is limited to KDE. Hope this helps!
Old 11-19-2009, 01:25 PM   #3
LQ Newbie
Registered: Nov 2009
Location: Yaroslavl, Russia
Distribution: Ubuntu
Posts: 2

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In Gnome you may just set all you need in keyboard switch applet (just right click on it or run gnome-keyboard-properties):
1. On Layout tab you can add languages you want, as many
2. On Layout Options you check keybinding to switch them over


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