The Haiku/BeOS Tip Server
Tips and tricks for Haiku/BeOS users

Editing your keymap

Contributed by: Anon
This tip is valid for: Both BeOS and Haiku

If you’re having issues with the BeOS keymap for your particular language, you may be able to edit it to better suit your needs. To load any keymap, type:

keymap -l

There are a number of alternate keymaps downloadable from BeWare and BeBits.

Because keymapping can be a complex issue, there’s a dedicated mailing list set up for people with keymap issues. To subscribe, send a message to with the following in the body of the message:

subscribe BEOS-KEYMAPS Your Name

Replace ‘Your Name’, of course, with your name.

To subscribe via web-browser, visit: – main page, or, http://listserv.snakeleg – BeOS-Keymaps Page

What follows are the original contents of this tip.In the “Keymap” app, you can, besides picking a keymap, change the mapping yourself. You can either drag a key onto another with the second mouse button, and hence copy it there, or you can drag a text clipping (max one character long!**) onto a key. Holding down a modifier-key while dragging, you can reach all possible positions. The only things you can’t change with this is the modifier-key locations, the “dead” key flag (I couldn’t anyways), and maybe some other obscure keys (my “|< >” keys for example:(). There is a german keymap on beware though that puts alt_gr right and puts |, < and > on the “correct” positions.If you are adventurous, you can dump the current keymap with “keymap -d>filename”, and edit it, it’s actually readable. After you have applied your feared physical-key-to-hex skills (it gives clues for most keys), you just do “keymap -l<filename”, and you have a home-made keymap!

Also, “keymap -r” restores the keymap to default, but I fail to see the usefulness of this, since if you need to use it, you probably can’t type it in:).

** I assigned “lala” to my ‘q’ key, and when I pressed it, it actually printed “lala”, but it seemed to corrupt the keymap and mouse. However, I’ve been unable to reproduce this behaviour, so it may be safe assigning strings > 1 character in length to keys.

Posted in Interface

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