Recently, the spring beneath the Backspace key on my keyboard lost its tautness. I needed to press it hard to make it work. So, I decided to swap that key with the Insert key which is right above it.


Doing this in Windows is pretty straightforward. Just download and use any of the programs like Sharpkeys or KeyTweak. I used Sharpkeys. It’s easy and worked as advertised.


Now, let’s get it done in Ubuntu.

The basic keyboard mapping package in Ubuntu is XKB (X Keyboard Extension). This extension handles the mapping of the physical keys on your keyboard to their respective function.

XKB symbol files can be found in /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/.

Head on to /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/pc, a file where the modifer keys are mapped in.

In my case, I need to remap the Backspace and Insert keys. So, I just swap the functionality of these two keys. After swapping, these two entries look like:

 key <BKSP> {        [  Insert	       ]	};

 key <INS> {	[ BackSpace, BackSpace  ]       };

That’s it! In order to apply these new mappings, the XKB’s cache from /var/lib/xkb must be cleared.

You can visit that directory and delete all the files. Or you can run the command below:

rm -rf /var/lib/xkb/*

Now just restart your system. After logging in, you should see your new keys working as you want them to.