In this guide, we're going to show you how to change your keyboard layout in Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa. This will allow you to access the characters of another language and enable switching between multiple keyboards if you'd like.

In this tutorial you will learn:
  • How to add and delete keyboard layouts
  • How to switch between languages with your mouse
  • How to switch between languages with a keyboard shortcut
How to add and switch keyboard layout on Ubuntu 20.04
How to add and switch keyboard layout on Ubuntu 20.04
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Installed Ubuntu 20.04 or upgraded Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa
Software GNOME desktop environment
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # - requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ - requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Adding a new keyboard layout

  1. First, open the applications launcher and open the Settings menu. You can locate it quickly by just typing Settings into the search bar.

    Open settings menu
    Open settings menu

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  3. Now that the settings menu is open, find Region & Language along the left side, and click it.

    Select Region & Language
    Select Region & Language
  4. Click on the + plus sign to add a new keyboard layout. And then, to see the full selection of languages, expand the choices by clicking on the three dots.

    Click the three dots to find more languages
    Click the three dots to find more languages
  5. If you don't see your desired language listed here, click on Other at the bottom of the Add an input source window. It's probably fastest to just type the language you're looking for. In this example, we're adding a Portuguese keyboard layout:

    Click other and then type the language you want
    Click other and then type the language you want
  6. Select the keyboard you'd like to add and click the Add button.

    Highlight the desired language and click add
    Highlight the desired language and click add


  7. You should now see that your selected keyboard layout has been added. Before exiting the settings, you can add more additional keyboards if you'd like, or delete existing ones by clicking on the trash bin icon next to each layout in the list.

    List of installed keyboard layouts
    List of installed keyboard layouts

Switching between keyboard layouts

If you have multiple keyboard layouts enabled on your system, a selection menu will appear in the upper right hand corner of your screen. Click on the icon at any time to select a different keyboard.

Select layout in upper right corner
Select layout in upper right corner

For even faster switching between keyboards, you can use the WIN+SPACE keyboard shortcut. This saves you from having to take your hands off the keyboard and select a different language every time that you need to switch.

Switch language with win+space keyboard combo
Switch language with win+space keyboard combo

Conclusion

In this guide, we learned how to add and delete languages in our keyboard layout in Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa. We also saw how to switch between those languages, both with the mouse and a handy keyboard shortcut.

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