Use alternative input sources

Keyboards come in hundreds of different layouts for different languages. Even for a single language, there are often multiple keyboard layouts, such as the Dvorak layout for English. You can make your keyboard behave like a keyboard with a different layout, regardless of the letters and symbols printed on the keys. This is useful if you often switch between multiple languages.

Some languages, such as Chinese or Korean, require a more complex input method than just a simple key to character mapping. Consequently some of the input sources you can choose between enable such a method.

Options with input methods are only available if respective input method (IM) engine is installed. When you install a language, a suitable IM engine is automatically installed if applicable. For example, if you install Korean, the package ibus-hangul is installed, and the input source option Korean (Hangul) is made available next time you log in. You can also install the IBus IM engine of your choice separately.

Add input sources

You can preview an image of any layout by selecting it in the list and clicking preview.

  1. Click the icon at the very right of the menu bar and select System Settings.

  2. In the Personal section, click Text Entry.

  3. Click the + button, select an input source, and click Add.

The default source is the source at the top of the list. Use the and buttons to move sources up and down in the list.

If you select a source with an input method, you can click preferences to access that method's preferences dialog if any.

Input source indicator

You can quickly switch between selected sources using the input source indicator in the menu bar. The menu will display a short identifier for the current source, such as En for the standard English layout or a symbol in case of a source that uses a special input method, e.g. Chinese (Chewing). Click the input source indicator and select from the menu the source you want to use.

Keyboard shortcuts

You can also use keyboard shortcuts to quickly switch between your selected input sources. By default the shortcut for switching to next source is Super+Space, but you can change it:

  1. Click the icon at the very right of the menu bar and select System Settings.

  2. In the Personal section, click Text Entry.

  3. Click the current shortcut definition below the label Switch to next source using.

  4. When the shortcut definition has changed to New accelerator..., press the keys you want to use as the new shortcut.

Set input source for all windows or individually for each window

When you use multiple sources, you can choose to have all windows use the same source or to set a different source for each window. Using a different source for each window is useful, for example, if you're writing an article in another language in a word processor window. Your input source selection will be remembered for each window as you switch between windows.

By default, new windows will use the default input source. You can instead choose to have them use the source of the window you were last using.