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I am trying to set up my computer so that the escape key performs the caps lock function and caps lock performs the escape key function. I have a small script to swap my escape and caps lock using xmodmap. In my .bash_profile, which is in my home directory, I put this line:

xmodmap ~/.capsswap

which to my knowledge, should run .capsswap, which I have in my home directory as well, when I log in.

the contents of .capsswap are

  1 ! Swap caps and Escape
  3 remove Lock = Caps_Lock
  4 keysym Escape = Caps_Lock
  5 keysym Caps_Lock = Escape
  6 add Lock = Caps_Lock

I am running Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS.

Basically this isn't working as nothing happens on when I log in. I'm pretty new to using bash and xmodmap in general, and I could be totally wrong with what I am doing, so if anyone knows how to fix this problem, or can suggest a better way to swap the escape and caps lock, please let me know.

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migrated from May 7 '13 at 7:55

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Move ~/.capsswap to ~/.Xmodmap

~/.Xmodmap is read by /etc/gdm/Xsession.

If you're not using gdm, you could add a script named: 91xmodmap

in /etc/X11/Xsession.d/

that contains:

XMODMAP="$(which xmodmap)"
if [ -x $XMODMAP ]; then
    if [ -f "$SYSMODMAP" ]; then
    if [ -f "$USRMODMAP" ]; then

The command you put in your ~/.bash_profile isn't running because gnome-terminal doesn't run as a login shell by default.

Right click on gnome-terminal's screen and go to Profiles -> Profile Preferences.

Then under the Title and Command, check Run command as a login shell.

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Ubuntu has a GUI for changing the CapsLock behavior

Open Keyboard Layout settings and click Options. You can select the Caps Lock key behavior in there.

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