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keymap handling library for toolkits and window systems


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libxkbcommon is a keyboard keymap compiler and support library which processes a reduced subset of keymaps as defined by the XKB (X Keyboard Extension) specification. It also contains a module for handling Compose and dead keys and a separate library for listing available keyboard layouts.

Quick Guide


libxkbcommon is built with Meson:

meson setup build
meson compile -C build
meson test -C build # Run the tests.

To build for use with Wayland, you can disable X11 support while still using the X11 keyboard configuration resource files thusly:

meson setup build \
    -Denable-x11=false \
    -Dxkb-config-root=/usr/share/X11/xkb \
meson compile -C build


While libxkbcommon's API is somewhat derived from the classic XKB API as found in X11/extensions/XKB.h and friends, it has been substantially reworked to expose fewer internal details to clients.

See the API Documentation.


libxkbcommon does not distribute a keymap dataset itself, other than for testing purposes. The most common dataset is xkeyboard-config, which is used by all current distributions for their X11 XKB data. More information on xkeyboard-config is available here:

The dataset for Compose is distributed in libX11, as part of the X locale data.

Relation to X11

See Compatibility notes.


An extremely rudimentary homepage can be found at

xkbcommon is maintained in git at

Patches are always welcome, and may be sent to either or or in a GitHub pull request.

Bug reports (and usage questions) are also welcome, and may be filed at GitHub.

The maintainers are


Many thanks are due to Dan Nicholson for his heroic work in getting xkbcommon off the ground initially.