ibus is the default input method (IM) for GNOME desktop. It allows a user to enter characters of a different language. E.g. entering Chinese while your system generally uses a German keyboard layout.

See portal site Keyboard for general keyboard input topics.

Package status

Package status for all ibus related source packages

Basic information

ibus is a IM framework which supports different IM engine packages (sometimes called IM module) and integrates well with all modern Desktops.

See List of IBus and its engine packages for IM engine choices.

Please note ibus-keyman provides easy access to many phonetic characters (for over 2000, but not for Chinese/Japanese ideographs).

Using ibus under ...

The following sub sections hold information on how to use ibus in a specific desktop environment.


The manual way

The KDE5 integration/support is already very well in Debian via im-config package. Just follow the steps below:

  1. Select the IM engine you want to use (a package search for »ibus-« shows you all available IM engines). This example will use ibus-table-array30, just replace it everywhere with the IME you selected.

  2. Run (as root)
    # aptitude install ibus-table-array30 libqt5gui5 ibus-gtk4 im-config
  3. Reboot (or re-login) to the Desktop.
  4. Run (as a user)
    $ ibus-setup 

    and configure ibus according to your wishes (don't forget to select at least one IM engine in the second tab).

  5. If you have installed multiple IM frameworks, run im-config to select ibus.
  6. im-config will set up required environment variable and also take care starting of daemon program.
  7. You can activate and deactivate the ibus input method in all applications with the keys you configured (default: Ctrl + Space) as you need it (if some characters can't be displayed you should install a font which carries the required characters).

The "kimpanel" way

kimpanel is now in Debian (in the package plasma-widgets-addons). Here you should only need the first step from the manual way, install plasma-widgets-addons additionally and add the kimpanel to your Plasma workspace.

If you do this, you can click tray icon and start the ibus-setup program via GUI.


GNOME now uses ibus as its default IM. (Lack of xkbcomp under Wayland was the reason behind this change. If you activate IM, X setting by xkbcomp will be overriden.)

You still need to add IM engine packages such as ibus-pinyin and activate them via GNOME setting for Keyboard.


CategoryKeyboard CategoryLocalization