Skip to content
Go to file


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time
Jul 26, 2019


GitHub release

- Type in Linux & Windows like it's a Mac. -

Seamless copy and paste with all apps and terminals. The zero effort solution.

Note: This project does a lot more than just copy & paste for terminals. I really do mean type like a mac and additions can easily be added to a single file,

Table of Contents

What does this do exactly?

What's different from other remappers?

What does Kinto require?

How to install (Linux)

How to install (Windows)

Shortcut Creation

Other Notes Related to Install

How to Upgrade/Control Kinto


Language Support

Related or Useful Resources


More information about Kinto


Credits and Contributions

What does this do exactly?

Kinto works for standard Windows, Apple and Chromebook keyboards. The following however describes the dynamic rebinding based on a standard Windows/Mac keyboard.

  • Cursor/word-wise shortcut keys have been added to align with macOS keyboard shortcuts.


Physical Ctrl Win/Alt Alt/Cmd Spacebar
Virtual Win/Super* Alt RCtrl Spacebar

*Win/Super will properly remap to LCtrl when needed to fully support expected keymaps.


Physical Ctrl Win/Alt Alt/Cmd Spacebar
Virtual LCtrl Alt RCtrl Spacebar

Note: RCtrl for terminals is also adding in Shift most of the time, however it depends on the specific terminal in use and will change itself to the expected keymaps of that terminal application.

What's different?

Compared to most other remappers this is a complete system-wide remap of your base level modifier keys, this saves time. You're not going to die a death of a thousand papercuts from trying to support every shortcut key under the sun.

It also retains some of the most commonly used system level shortcut keys, such as Cmd-C/V, Cmd-Tab, and Ctrl-Tab among others. You will keep seamless copy & paste between all apps, ability to switch Windows while still using the physical Cmd/Alt key position; switch tabs in your favorite terminals, code editors, or web browsers. Depending on your OS and/or Desktop Environment you may also be able to switch Virtual Desktop environments the same way as well and other basic system level shortcuts.

If your OS and macOS have similar functionality on the system level, but only differ by a slight difference of a shortcut command then Kinto likely supports it already. If Kinto doesn't have what you need then you can open up a support ticket and it will be added. You can also fork the project to add the fix and I will merge it via a PR you make.

Additionally, if you are using a cross-platform app and if it happens to have a few shortcut keys that differ then that can very easily be added to either the or kinto.ahk configuration files which on Windows is located here ~/.kinto/kinto.ahk and on Linux it can be found here ~/.config/kinto/ More info can be found here Shortcut Creation (Xkeysnail) for Linux.

What does Kinto require?

  • Python
  • systemd
  • x11
  • IBus*
  • Manjaro/Arch/Debian/Ubuntu based distro 16.04+
  • Fedora/RHEL (may not work w/ xkeysnail, but original xkb version does)
  • xkeysnail (Recommended, but optional)

Note: Budgie DE's, so Ubuntu Budgie, appears to have a bug where keybinds may not save across reboots. Please reset the Cmd+Tab keymap before rebooting to ensure it remembers that setting. I will remove this once the issue is resolved.

*IBus is needed to support wordwise during browser app usage as the keymap will need to change slightly depending if the cursor/caret is on screen waiting for input. will set it but you can manually set it as well or check your current Input Method.

On most distros you can confirm Input Methods by navigating to "Language Support" and set "Keyboard input method system:" to IBus for full word-wise support with web browsers.

Wayland support is planned, but not ready yet.

Kinto for Windows 10 Requirements

Other programs that will be installed when you run ./

  • Chocolatey
  • Autohotkey
  • Strawberry Perl

Note: Sublime Text users should disable screen rotation hotkeys as they will interfere with multi-cursor and possibly other combos. See for details.

Users can now hotswap between Apple and Windows based keyboards without having to logoff and back on, and Windows is currently the only implementation with a system tray (but this feature is coming to Budgie, XFCE, Mate, Gnome, and lastly KDE).

How to install (Linux)

  1. clone this repo
git clone
cd kinto
  1. Install python3 (If needed)

Debian or Ubuntu 16.04 or 18.04

sudo apt update
sudo apt install python3
  1. Follow the prompts and the script will guide you through the rest of the setup.

To Uninstall Kinto


How to Install (Windows)

Video Tutorial: How to Install on Windows 10

  1. Open Powershell (Right click and Run as Administrator)

  2. clone this repo

git clone
cd kinto
  1. Install - Select keyboard type
  1. How to make Kinto stay visible in system tray (optional)

To Uninstall Kinto - Select Uninstall


Shortcut Creation

Note: A new project, Universal Keys, has been created that will be updated to contain all current remaps - plus many more. Once that is done, Kinto will be updated to programmatically pull the latest keymaps from simple csv comma delimited files & will build out key remaps from there. This will also allow for more types of remaps within an application category, Sublime Text 3 to VS Code or VS Code to Sublime Text 3, Photoshop to Gimp, Gimp to Photoshop, etc & it will ensure that xkeysnail (linux) & autohotkey (windows) are pulling from the same data set.

Linux Shortcut Creation (Xkeysnail)

Windows Shortcut Creation (Autohotkey)

Linux (Xkeysnail)

GUI Keys

Value Description Mac/Kinto Equivalent
C,Ctrl Control Cmd
M,Alt Alt/Option Alt/Option
Super Win/Super Ctrl

Terminal Keys

Value Description Mac/Kinto Equivalent
RC,RCtrl Right Control → Left & Right Alt/Cmd key Cmd
M,Alt Alt/Option Alt/Option
LC,LCtrl Left Control Ctrl

You can define new keymaps for your specific app via this method. You also do not have to cancel out the original keybinding if you do not need or want to, but you can do so with "pass_through_key".

Defining Keymaps Per App

# Keybindings for Sublime Text
    K("C-h"): pass_through_key,          # cancel replace
    K("Ctrl-Alt-f"): K("Ctrl-h"),        # replace
    K("C-M-v"): [K("C-k"), K("C-v")],    # paste_from_history

In the above example I am also showing that you can define a single shortcut to enact multiple shortcut keys if needed by defining an array of shortcuts to trigger.

You can also make changes to the file in your /tmp/kinto/xkeysnail/ location and see them take affect in real time, but for your changes to be permanent you will need to make your changes in the ~/.config/kinto/ location & restart the xkeysnail service.

sudo systemctl restart xkeysnail

More information can be seen on the readme page of xkeysnail.

Windows (Autohotkey)

This applies to the Windows version of Kinto and how to add additional support for Applications. The configuration file location is ~/.kinto/kinto.ahk and after updating it you will want to right click on the tray icon and click on setting your keyboard type again and it will re-apply the latest changes.

Windows 10 has a couple of ways that you need to be aware of when trying to add a specific application, the typical method of how to add any exe program, but then there is also the newer UWP app format that some applications use which will require a similar but different method, both will be discussed.

Defining Keymaps Per App by EXE Name

You can use the following legend but realize that these remaps reference the Virtual keys in the diagrams mentioned near the beginning of this document, so do not confuse it with the physical key unless they happen to be the same key.

Autohotkey Symbol Virtual key Description
^,Ctrl Control Primary modifier, 1st rock from the spacebar
!,Alt Alt Secondary modifier, 2nd rock from the spacebar
#,Win Win/Super Tertiary modifier, 3rd rock from the spacebar
#IfWinActive ahk_exe sublime_text.exe
    #^Up::send !{O}                                         ; Switch file
    #^f::send {F11}                                         ; toggle_full_screen
    ^!v::send {Ctrl Down}k{Ctrl Up}{Ctrl Down}v{Ctrl Up}    ; paste_from_history

With this being Autohotkey you can easily pull knowledge from the Autohotkey forums for just about any issue you may have as well.

Defining Keymaps Per UWP App

#If WinActive("- OneNote ahk_class ApplicationFrameWindow", "OneNote")
    ; Add your keymaps here

I don't have too many examples on this one, most developers seem to be shying away from UWP. Kinto currently supports "Fluent Terminal" which is a UWP app, but it is also being grouped with other Terminal apps for hotkey remapping. You may take a look at that, but you may also want to try creating a new Autohotkey file and use the Window Spy feature built into Autohotkey to help you discover the full name and class names of any application.

Shortcut Creation (XKB)

The older xkb shortcut method info can be read about in ticket #125.

Other Notes Related to Install

Manjaro with Gnome there are issues with caret/input checking.

Only impacts back/forward hotkeys for web browsers.

Please see this ticket for more information.

For other Arch based distros.

Append the following and logoff and back on, but only after running to install all packages and the kinto service. Please report if there are any difficulties. nano ~/.bashrc

export GTK_IM_MODULE=xim
export XMODIFIERS=@im=ibus
export QT_IM_MODULE=xim

How to Upgrade Kinto

Simply bring down the latest in either the master branch or dev, but dev is sometimes in flux as new features are being developed. Then you can re-run the installer, it will stop the service and re-install Kinto.

Note: If you have made any custom changes to ~/.xkb or ~/.config/kinto then you will need to backup or rename those directories before running an update.

git pull origin master

How to Control Kinto

Under systemd this is how you control Kinto.

Recommended Install - Kinto (udev/xkeysnail/x11) = xkeysnail

Older Install - Kinto (xkb/x11) = keyswap


sudo systemctl status xkeysnail
systemctl --user status keyswap # older - you probably should not run this one

Stop (your keymap will return to normal)

sudo systemctl stop xkeysnail
systemctl --user stop keyswap # older - you probably should not run this one


sudo systemctl start xkeysnail
systemctl --user start keyswap # older - you probably should not run this one


sudo systemctl restart xkeysnail
systemctl --user restart keyswap # older - you probably should not run this one


sudo systemctl enable xkeysnail
systemctl --user enable keyswap # older - you probably should not run this one


sudo systemctl disable xkeysnail
systemctl --user disable keyswap # older - you probably should not run this one

Learning macOS style hotkeys on Linux

You can use websites like in Google Chrome while using the terminal style keymap, but Firefox is not compatible due to detecting "cmd" as keycode 224. Chrome detects Win/Super/Cmd as keycode 91 on all OS's.

To make sure you are in the terminal style keymap you can just simply open the terminal and turn off the kinto service, and then switch back to Chrome.

systemctl --user stop keyswap && setxkbmap -option;setxkbmap -option altwin:swap_alt_win


Installed successfully, but modifier keys are not properly remapped?

Are you using a VM on macOS? If so you may need to disable automatic remapping of the Cmd key when using Vmware Fusion of Parallels.

Disable Parallels Re-mapping:

  1. Open Parallels and go to Preferences.
  2. Click Keyboard and disable the Virtual machine shortcuts.
  3. Close Preferences.

To disable keyboard mapping:

  1. From Fusion's menu bar, click VMware Fusion > Preferences...
  2. Click Keyboard & Mouse.
  3. Click the Key Mappings tab.
  4. Deselect Enable Key Mapping.

Does not start when you log in or after you reboot?

Kinto (xkb/x11) = keyswap

Kinto (udev/xkeysnail/x11) = xkeysnail

  1. Check the status
systemctl --user status keyswap
sudo systemctl status xkeysnail
  1. Check the service journal
journalctl --user-unit=keyswap.service -b
sudo journalctl --unit=xkeysnail.service -b

Note: You can also watch your log live

journalctl -f --user-unit=keyswap.service -b
sudo journalctl -f --unit=xkeysnail.service -b

You may need to manually set your DISPLAY in the systemd service file. Normally it pulls in the proper DISPLAY value but if it doesn't you can try this.


# :0.0

nano ~/.config/systemd/user/keyswap.service

sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/xkeysnail.service


If you continue to have issues then open a ticket and send me the info.

Keyswap is not occurring, but it was working.

Kinto (xkb/x11) = keyswap

Kinto (udev/xkeysnail/x11) = xkeysnail

Now that Kinto (xkb/x11) is using a custom written C program I am not aware of any specific bugs or issues, but you can start here if you having difficulties and please report it if it is reproducible.

  1. Get status
systemctl --user status keyswap
sudo systemctl status xkeysnail
  1. Restart Kinto
systemctl --user restart keyswap
sudo systemctl restart xkeysnail
  1. Check the Status again and open a ticket if you need to.
systemctl --user status keyswap
sudo systemctl status xkeysnail

You can also do the following to see if it is an actual issue with kintox11 not running or your service file.

cd ~/.config/kinto

Debug (Linux - xkb method only)

If all else fails you can now run Kinto in debug mode as of 1.0.6-2. The output will become more verbose and I'd recommend running this directly after stopping the service.

Kinto (xkb/x11)

systemctl --user stop keyswap
cd ~/.config/kinto
./kintox11 --debug

Kinto (udev/xkeysnail)


sudo systemctl stop xkeysnail

nano ~/.config/kinto/

Remove the 2 instances of --quiet and resave


/usr/local/bin/xkeysnail --quiet --watch "$1" &

inotifywait -m -e close_write,moved_to,create -q "$1" |
while read -r path; do
        /usr/bin/killall xkeysnail
        /usr/local/bin/xkeysnail --quiet --watch "$1" &


sudo systemctl start xkeysnail
sudo systemctl status xkeysnail

Language Support

I'd appreciate any help from people with non-US based keyboards, to help ensure that these keymaps and keyswap methods work in all or most languages.

If you would like to attempt adding additional custom keymaps for other languages then I strongly recommend reading Glen Whitney's post here.

Related or Useful Resources

Xkeysnail by mooz

Yet another keyboard remapping tool for X environment

mac-precision-touchpad by imbushuo

Windows 10 touchpad to precision touchpad driver

fusuma by iberianpig

Multitouch gestures with libinput driver on Linux

Facetime HD Camera for Linux by patjak

Linux driver for Facetime HD on macbooks

Fluent Terminal - Windows only by felixse

A Terminal Emulator based on UWP and web technologies.

PowerToys - Windows only by microsoft

Windows system utilities to maximize productivity

AutoHotKey - Windows only by AutoHotkey

AutoHotkey is a powerful and easy to use scripting language for desktop automation on Windows.

pykeymacs by zhanghai

Emacs style keyboard macros implemented in Python

Dynamic Wallpapers by adi1090x

Simple bash script to set a Dynamic Wallpaper according to certain conditions.

macify-linux by JonChun

Automated setup scripts to transform Linux into macOS. (Uses Kinto for key remaps)

ibus-typing-booster by mike-fabian

ibus-typing-booster is a completion input method for faster typing

twemoji color font by eosrei

Twitter Unicode 12 emoji color SVGinOT font for Linux/MacOS/Windows

iTerm2 Color Schemes by mbadolato

Over 225 terminal color schemes/themes for iTerm/iTerm2. Includes ports to Terminal, Konsole, PuTTY, Xresources, XRDB, Remmina, Termite, XFCE, Tilda, FreeBSD VT, Terminator, Kitty...

espanso by federico-terzi

Cross-platform Text Expander written in Rust

GalliumOS by GalliumOS

Docs, issues, and artwork sources for GalliumOS

eOS-X by ipproductions

Dark & Light Theme w/ OSX controls for Elementary OS

Autorandr by phillipberndt

Auto-detect the connected display hardware and load the appropriate X11 setup using xrandr

Barrier by debauchee

Open-source KVM software

Synergy Free Binaries by amankhoza

The latest freely available Synergy binaries

Synergy Official by Symless

Latest Official Synergy

Karabiner-Elements by pqrs-org

Karabiner-Elements is a powerful utility for keyboard customization on macOS Sierra (10.12) or later.

mbpfan by linux-on-mac

A simple daemon to control fan speed on all MacBook/MacBook Pros (probably all Apple computers) for Linux Kernel 3 and newer

vala-panel by rilian-la-te

Vala rewrite of SimplePanel - GitHub mirror (Global Menu for XFCE)


I welcome any and all contributors who want to contribute something to this project.

If you are specifically wanting to contribute additional custom keymaps to help with aligning Kinto's behavior to that of a mac keyboard then I would strongly recommend that you read Glen Whitney's comment on Superuser (the link is below). You may also look at the .xkb directory, and files to better understand how Kinto operates so that you can test your own keymaps without having to use the systemd service or running the script.

More information about Kinto


GPL v2

Credits and Contributions

I would just like to thank a few people here directly that have helped me tremendously with completing this project and without their support, direct, indirect or otherwise I would have had difficulty completing this undertaking. I will list these things off in chronological order mostly.

First off I'd like to thank the Stackoverflow and Stackexchange community. I have probably rubbed some mods the wrong way over there, but the people from the community in general are extremely helpful and gracious and without their contributions would have made this much more difficult. The person I'd like to thank most though from over there is Glen Whitney. Without his detailed explaining of how to rebind keys in xkb this would not have come together at all, as every other remapping solution were non-starters as complexity increases. Kinto today no longer uses xkb, but Glen Whitney did provide the basis of a workable method that helped me pursue this method and think it was a worthwhile project to pursue, so for that I thank him.

Secondarily I'd like to thank Christian Eriksson*, as he provided information that kept me up at night.. literally. Even after I implemented a similar bash script to one he had suggested I knew that fully implementing a c/c++ solution was where Kinto needed to head to and his explaination was better than I remember it being now that I have gone back to read it again. He also never provided a full implementation of a c/c++ solution - he did hit on the pain points pretty well of what one would need to do and watch out for. I am not sure where I got the first example code of implementing a c based solution, but he definitely went over it well.

Kui and his gist file** was really the c based solution that I found had the fewest issues to resolve to making it a reliable solution. It didn't account for all failures very well, aka BadWindow issues, but it made for a great foundation on which Kintox11 is built. I cannot thank him enough for putting it out there for others to work with.

Lastly these four people were also very helpful to me as well. @probonopd for being one of the first people to install and use Kinto and gave me the initial feedback to include wordwise support! He also has really great articles*** posted on HackerNews & Medium about UI/UX design. Another person I'd like to thank is @owzim, his feedback allowed me to rapidly iterate and fix several bugs to support additional platforms better. The last two are members of the #ubuntu channel in IRC on freenode, tarzeau ( @alexmyczko ) and sarnold. Alex contributing a proper Makefile, so the project can be packaged properly, and sarnold help me find that IBus could resolve an issue I was having with needing to detect the caret status.

Updated 6/13/2020

I would also like to thank Jonathan Chun for his patience in helping me work through a very difficult problem related to Alt-Tab switching, which led to the current xkeysnail iteration of Kinto for Linux that far exceeds the original xkb implementation. There are also several others that have created issue tickets that have contributed greatly.

If I left anyone out then I apologize, that was not intentional. I am happy to say that this project is at a state of completion. Bug fixes will primarily be the only activity happening going forward and possibly a rewrite for Wayland at some point. Contributions as mentioned above are welcomed, and will be merged into master if they help with the goal of making typing on linux more like a mac.




You can’t perform that action at this time.