How can I reliably and authoritatively determine which of the predefined "generic" X11 keyboard layouts is the best choice for my physical device? There must be a better way than counting keys and guessing whether it should be "intl" or not "intl".

  • 4
    see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_PC_keyboard#Keyboard_layouts ... honestly the best way (aside from assuming a particular default) is looking at the shape of the Enter and Left Shift keys and the number/position of modifier keys. these are the "ANSI" and "ISO" layouts shown at the first link.
    – quixotic
    Jun 12, 2017 at 22:37
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    for XKB purposes, intl layouts are less about the actual hardware keyboard than about whether to include symbols on Level3 and Level5 (eg AltGr, deadkeys, etc). when you load the basic US layout in XKB, it will not include any level3 or higher symbols, even if the physical keyboard is an "international" keyboard. if you want AltGr and deadkeys and all the unicode goodies, you'll need an intl variant of the US layout.
    – quixotic
    Jun 12, 2017 at 22:40

1 Answer 1


Most keyboards with a US layout are either 101-key or 104-key, depending on whether or not they have the two Meta/Super/Win keys and the Menu key. Standard "international" keyboard layouts are 102-key and 105-key.

If you're using a modern keyboard with a number pad and a US layout, it's most likely a 104-key.

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