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Xbindkeys is a program that allows you to launch shell commands with your keyboard or your mouse under X Windows. It links commands to keys or mouse buttons using a configuration file. It's independent of the window manager and can capture all keyboard keys (ex: Power, Wake…).

It is handy to make “dead keys” of a multimedia keyboard work. (ex: play, pause, browser homepage…)


Use tazpkg to quickly install xbindkeys package. Open a terminal as root and type:

# tazpkg get-install xbindkeys

Configuration and detecting key codes

Xbindkeys uses a configuration file to link a command to a key on your keyboard. Usually this file is : $HOME/.xbindkeysrc

You can have a default one created by using :

$ xbindkeys --defaults > $HOME/.xbindkeysrc

Start the program using:

$ xbindkeys

To add a custom keyboard shortcut, first you have to detect the key code. To do this, use:

$ xbindkeys -k

When a small white window shows up on screen, just press the desired key. Terminal will show you the 3-line code of the pressed key. Example:

"(Scheme function)"
m:0x10 + c:180
Mod2 + XF86HomePage

Now, close xbindkeys application to make changes on configuration file:

$ killall xbindkeys

Open .xbindkeysrc file on Leafpad (or on your favorite text editor) and copy the 3-line code above to the end of the file. We need to change the first code line to link the key code to a desired function. For example, if we want to open Midori when XF86Homepage key is pressed, we must change the first line to:

m:0x10 + c:180
Mod2 + XF86HomePage

Save and close the .xbindkeysrc file. Restart xbindkeys program and your new shortcut is already working! To add other shortcuts, repeat the procedure above.

If you want to detect a multi-key shortcut code like CTRL+F, use:

$ xbindkeys -mk


Summary of commands:

# tazpkg get-install xbindkeys
$ xbindkeys --defaults > $HOME/.xbindkeysrc
$ xbindkeys
$ xbindkeys -k
$ killall xbindkeys
$ leafpad HOME/.xbindkeysrc
$ xbindkeys

Adding xbindkeys in autostarted applications

In the PCManFM in your home folder search for hidden folder .config, open it, next open openbox folder and open autostart in a text editor. Add these lines at the end of the file:

# Fn Keys
xbindkeys &

Save and quit text editor. All custom shortcuts will stay after you reboot or switch off and on your machine.

To make this modification a global, edit /etc/xdg/openbox/autostart in the same way.

Examples and tips

This section shows you many command codes ready to use. Key codes (last two of 3-line key code) may vary from keyboard to keyboard, so it's up to you to catch them using xbindkeys.

Volume control (Alsa mixer)

"amixer set "Master" toggle"
m:0x00 + c:121
#Volume up
"amixer set "Master" 5%+"
m:0x0 + c:123
#Volume down
"amixer set "Master" 5%-"
m:0x0 + c:122


#stop alsaplayer
"alsaplayer --pause"
m:0x0 + c:172
#next alsaplayer
"alsaplayer --next"
m:0x0 + c:171
#previous alsaplayer"
"alsaplayer --prev"
m:0x0 + c:173

Midori Browser

#Open Midori at Homepage
"midori --execute Homepage"
m:0x10 + c:180
Mod2 + XF86HomePage
#Back for previous page
"midori --execute Back"
m:0x10 + c:166
Mod2 + XF86Back
#Forward to next page
"midori --execute Forward"
m:0x10 + c:167
Mod2 + XF86Forward
#Stop loading current page
"midori --execute Stop"
m:0x10 + c:136
Mod2 + Cancel
#Reload/Refresh current page
"midori --execute Reload"
m:0x10 + c:181
Mod2 + XF86Reload

NOTES: If you use Firefox or Google Chrome, there's no need to modify xbindkeysrc file: these browsers automatically recognize the multimedia keys. Also, if you change from Midori to Firefox or Chrome, you must comment (#) or delete the shortcuts above. If you don't do this, it will open a Midori window when you press a navigation button.

Power management

#suspend to ram
"sudo pm-suspend"
m:0x0 + c:150

NOTE: this one (suspend to ram) works if you install pm-utils.

#power off button
m:0x0 + c:124


"mtpaint -s"
m:0x0 + c:107

Applications Menu (Start Menu)

#Show Start Menu with left windows-key
"lxpanelctl menu"
m:0x50 + c:133
Mod2+Mod4 + Super_L
#Show Start Menu with right windows-key
"lxpanelctl menu"
m:0x50 + c:134
Mod2+Mod4 + Super_R


en/guides/xbindkeys.txt · Last modified: 2020/09/23 18:14 by hgt