Most Ubuntu users like to use their native language as their primary input language when running their system. The Ubuntu Settings Utility allows you to add your native language as a keyboard input source. This input source language can be configured to be used as your default keyboard layout. This layout indicates that everything you type on your keyboard will be perceived by your Ubuntu system based on the selected keyboard layout.

This article describes how you can change the layout of your keyboard to match your preferred input language on the desktop and it also describes how to change it in the terminal (see the chapter about changing the keyboard layout on Ubuntu server towards the end of the article).

We ran the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

Change the Keyboard Layout in Ubuntu Desktop

Add Keyboard Layout language as Input Resource

If you prefer using the GUI for performing simple administrative tasks, you can make of the graphical Settings utility.

You can access the Settings either through the system Dash or by accessing it as follows:

Click on the downward arrow located at the top-right corner of your Ubuntu desktop and then click the settings icon from the following view:

Click on Settings Icon

Alternatively, you can enter ‘settings’ in the Dash search to open the Settings directly.

Os search for settings in Dash

The Settings utility opens in the Wi-Fi tab by default. You need to click on the Region & Language tab in order to configure the keyboard layout.

This is how the Region & Language view looks like:

Ubuntu Settings

You can add another language for your keyboard layout by clicking the plus sign under Input Sources.

Browse to the language you want to add as an input source and select it.

Add an Input source

This will enable the Add button. Click the Add button after which your selected language will be added as an Input Source or a new keyboard layout language.

Select a language

You can set the default input language by using the up and down arrows located under your list of Input Sources. The language at the top of the list will be used as the default keyboard language.

Please close the Settings utility.

Switch between Keyboard Layouts

After adding an Input Source, you will notice a Keyboard language selection icon on your Gnome top panel. You can expand it and select the default language to be used for the keyboard layout.

Switch Keyboard Layout

You can also click the Show Keyboard Layout button to get an idea about what input your system will take from the keyboard through different keys.

Alternatively, you can also use the keyboard shortcut Super(windows)+Space key to switch between Keyboard Layout languages.

Keyboard Shortcut to switch Keyboard layout

Your Ubuntu system will now consider the selected language as the new keyboard layout language from now on.

Change the Keyboard Layout in Ubuntu Server

Change the keyboard layout with this command on Ubuntu Server:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration

After reading this article, you are well equipped to choose your favorite input language and use it for the default Keyboard layout.

How to Change the Keyboard Layout in Ubuntu
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Karim Buzdar

About the Author: Karim Buzdar holds a degree in telecommunication engineering and holds several sysadmin certifications. As an IT engineer and technical author, he writes for various web sites. You can reach Karim on LinkedIn