How to Change your Keyboard Layout on Raspberry Pi? (Raspbian)

If like me you don’t use a QWERTY keyboard, the first thing you are probably looking for on your Raspberry Pi is how to change the default layout
So let’s do this!

How to change your keyboard layout on Raspberry Pi?
On Raspbian, the default keyboard layout is QWERTY
You can change it in the system settings
On Desktop, go to Preferences > Raspberry Pi Configuration
And on the Lite version, you can use raspi-config to change it

After this short answer, I will now give you all the detailed steps in the following paragraphs
I’ll firstly show you how to do this on Raspbian Desktop, and then on Raspbian Lite

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Change the keyboard layout on Raspbian Desktop

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If you are lost in all these new words and abbreviations, request my free Raspberry Pi glossary here (PDF format)!

On Raspbian Desktop, you have a graphic tool to do this easily
It will be a short tutorial 🙂

  • Open the main menu
  • Go to Preferences > Raspberry Pi Configuration
  • Then go to the “Localisation” tab
  • And finally, click on “Set Keyboard”
  • From here you can select:
    • The keyboard model: Most of the time you can keep the default one
    • The layout: Basically it’s the keyboard country you are using
    • The variant: If you keyboard use a specific layout for this country, select it here (DVORAK for example)
  • Click “OK” to apply the changes

That’s it, your Raspberry Pi is now using your favorite keyboard layout

Change the keyboard layout on Raspbian Lite

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On Raspbian Lite, there is no graphic tool, but raspi-config will help you to do this 🙂

  • Start raspi-config
    sudo raspi-config
    If you’re having trouble entering this command, here’s what the default keyboard layout looks like:

    Click on the keys on your keyboard corresponding to this layout
  • Go to “Localisation Options”
  • Then select “Change Keyboard Layout”
  • The first step is to pick the keyboard model you are using

    Most of the time you can keep the default one
  • Now, you need to select the keyboard layout
    English layouts are available in the first window:

    If you need to use a layout for another country, click on “Other”
  • Here you can pick the country corresponding to your keyboard
  • And finally, choose the specific layout for this country
    If you don’t know, select the first one in the list
  • The last two or three questions are for the keyboard configuration
    The first one for the “Alt Gr” key:

    I always keep the default configuration personally
  • The next one for the compose key

    Same thing, only configure it if you need to use it
  • And finally the CTRL+ALT+BACKSPACE combination that you can configure too

That’s it, after a few seconds your keyboard is now correctly configured
Raspbian Lite will be much easier to use with the key at the right position 🙂

If you have any comment, suggestion or just want to chat with us about this tutorial,
you can post your messages in the community on Patreon. See you there!


Congrats! You now know how to change the default keyboard configuration on your Raspberry Pi
It’s often the first step after the installation, and even if this tutorial is relatively short, it is crucial to take a good start on Raspberry Pi

If you are just starting, you can also check my list of beginner tips on Raspberry Pi

And as usual, if you have any question, feel free to leave a comment below!

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Patrick Fromaget

I'm the lead author and owner of My goal is to help you with your Raspberry Pi problems using detailed guides and tutorials. In real life, I'm a Linux system administrator with a web developer experience.

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