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Today, a lot of keyboards have additional keys. Here, we show how to use them. This article is based on part of the very good Léa Linux How-To.

Identify keys

Try and note down all multimedia keys.



Key naming

Here, we're going to use xmodmap to modify keymaps and insert our multimedia keys.


Choose a name in /usr/share/X11/XKeysymDB.

keycode 160 = XF86AudioMute
keycode 174 = XF86AudioLowerVolume
keycode 176 = XF86AudioRaiseVolume
keycode 162 = XF86AudioPlay
keycode 144 = XF86AudioPrev
keycode 145 = XF86AudioNext
keycode 164 = XF86AudioStop
keycode 237 = XF86HomePage

xmodmap ~/.xmodmaprc

Autostart for KDE

xmodmap ~/.xmodmaprc

chmod +x ~/.kde/Autostart/

Autostart for every WM

To load your changes at startup, add this to your ~/.xsessionrc :

xmodmap ~/.xmodmaprc

Assign an action on your keys

Under KDE

Global shortcut (Recommended)

In all applications supporting DCOP calls (KDE compatible), you can assign your multimedia keys as shortcuts. It's a very powerful and very simple feature!

Example with Kmix:


This works fine with Amarok too.

Input Action

This method is more generic.

K > Configuration > Regional & Accessibility > Input Action

KHotKey Daemon

Not tested

Under Gnome

Not tested