FCI-Helwan blog

Just another FCI-H weblog

Linux Tip #3 : Using Arabic keyboard

It is really simple to use Arabic in Linux. This command enables it:
setxkbmap -option grp:switch,grp:alt_shift_toggle,grp_led:scroll us,ar

You can make this command run each time the computer starts by adding to ~/.bashrc .

This command in short, set the switch keys to alt-shift (left alt and left shift), the mode of this key is to toggle, and it specifies that the state of the scroll-lock LED will show the language currently used. Use ‘man setxkbmap’ for more details on advanced use.


February 27, 2007 - Posted by | Linux


  1. You can also do this without the shell.

    System->Administration->Language Support

    A list of languages will show up, you need to choose arabic from it, then give it an ok.


    Go to the layout tab and click Add

    A list of keyboard layout will show up, choose Arabic(qwerty).

    Then go to the Layout Options tab and click on Group shift/lock behaviour then mark ALT+Shift changes group.

    Close this windows and you are done.

    Comment by Shereef Sakr | March 1, 2007 | Reply

  2. I added this command to ~/.bashrc, but it does not run when my computer start!!!

    Comment by Magdy Wageeh | March 2, 2007 | Reply

  3. System->Preferences->Sessions->Startup programs. There’s I’ve added my script ‘file’. I saved it in /usr/local/bin first.

    Comment by Mohammad Nabil | March 2, 2007 | Reply

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