Linux: How to Swap Control and Alt Keys

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

This page shows you how to swap the Ctrl and Alt key for Linux.

Some Linux GUI desktop (gnome, kde) has GUI tools. You can go to the system control panel, and there's a keyboard settings app. That may or may not let you swap the keys.

Here's how you can do it system-wide under X11.

! -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
! 2013-02-04 swap Alt and Ctrl http://xahlee.info/

!  xmodmap -pke | egrep '(Control|Super|Alt|Menu)'
! keycode  37 = Control_L NoSymbol Control_L
! keycode  64 = Alt_L Meta_L Alt_L Meta_L
! keycode 105 = Control_R NoSymbol Control_R
! keycode 108 = Alt_R Meta_R Alt_R Meta_R
! keycode 133 = Super_L NoSymbol Super_L
! keycode 134 = Super_R NoSymbol Super_R
! keycode 135 = Menu NoSymbol Menu
! keycode 147 = XF86MenuKB NoSymbol XF86MenuKB
! keycode 204 = NoSymbol Alt_L NoSymbol Alt_L
! keycode 206 = NoSymbol Super_L NoSymbol Super_L

clear control
clear mod1
keycode 37 = Alt_L Meta_L
keycode 105 = Alt_R Meta_R
keycode 64 = Control_L
keycode 108 = Control_R
add control = Control_L Control_R
add mod1 = Alt_L Meta_L

Save the above into a file at ~/.Xmodmap, then logout and back in.

back to Linux: xmodmap Tutorial