Automatically Enable Num Lock In Linux Mint

Sometimes I write articles that scratch my own and this time around it’s how to automatically enable Num Lock in Linux Mint. If you’re using a full-size keyboard and want to automatically enable Num Lock, this just might be the article for you. This article shouldn’t be all that long – and it won’t be very complicated. 

I should explain…

So, I misfired a dd command and hosed my root partition. I then decided to do something I’ve not done in a long time. For a change of pace and a fresh start, I decided not to restore (much of my) data from backups. Sure, I imported passwords, Thunderbird, ~/bash_aliases, and remained logged into browsers, but I didn’t import all my settings, my million browser tabs, or anything like that.

It has been fun! I haven’t done this in a long time. If I hose an OS, I just install and copy my /home directory into the freshly installed OS and I’m good to go.

As an aside, I’m quite grateful that I’ve written these articles. They’ve come in handy while rebuilding my system. I find myself referring to this site quite often. After all, I tend to write about what I know. These are often articles of things I do. This time around, it’s simply how you can automatically enable Num Lock in Linux Mint. This shouldn’t take long.

If you’re interested in this article, you might be interested in this other article:

Disable The Caps Lock Key In Linux Mint

Automatically Enable Num Lock In Linux Mint:

You don’t need an open terminal for this, but we’ll use the terminal because it’s easier for me to do this in the terminal. You can start by pressing CTRL + ALT + T to open your terminal.

With your terminal now open, we’re going to install an application called numlockx.  This is required if you want to use this method of enabling Num Lock automatically. 

If you check the man page, you’ll see that this is the tool we want for this task.

numlockx – Control the state of NumLock

Sure enough, that’s what we want to do! The rest is all in the GUI.

Open your menu and search for “login”. You’ll see an application called Login Window. Open that and then click on the Settings tab. With that Settings tab open, tick the slider to automatically enable Num Lock when you log into the system. It looks like this:

it's easy to automatically enable num lock in Linux Mint
That’s really all there is to it, so long as you first install numlockx. See? I told you it was easy!

That is what your screen should look like to enable Num Lock. This is it at the login window portion of the boot. This means you’ll have the Num Lock enabled and won’t have to remember to press the button when you use it.

Closure:

See? I told you this one would be quick and easy. Like I said, I’m just scratching my own itch. I prefer the Num Lock key to be enabled all the time. It’s just a habit for me and I do use the number pad fairly often. I figured I’d share it, seeing as it was something that was on my mind.

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How To: Disable The Caps Lock Key

Today’s article is one that I used to scratch my own itch because I really like to disable the caps lock key. Of all the keys on the keyboard, that’s the only one that makes me want to disable it. The rest of the keys are fine, but I have no use for a caps lock key.

NOTE: This is probably not going to work if you use Wayland. I don’t know, I haven’t tested it. If you’re wanting to test it so that you can write paragraphs about how wrong I am, please do. I’m a little curious! I need to learn more about Wayland.

Sure, we could use the destructive (or at least awkward) method and physically rip the key off the keyboard. Some fancy keyboards have easily removed caps, meaning you can just remove them with a little caps-puller tool. Pretty much every time I’ve needed to remove keys, it has been a permanently destructive process, but I know it can be done.

By the way… This is why I’m a wasteful jerk sometimes and I just chuck that keyboard in the trash when I’m done with it. To be fair, I wear the letters off a cheap keyboard.  Where my thumb hits the space bar it wears down the plastic from repeated use. I’m not a ‘hard typer’, I’m a prolific typer. So, here we are…

Those of you with a keen memory may recall this article:

Disable The Caps Lock Key In Linux Mint

That was fine for Mint (Cinnamon)… It’s not a universal thing. I meant to write a more universal thing, so I guess this counts as that…

Disable The Caps Lock Key:

You’re gonna want a terminal window open for this. So, press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open. Tada!

Now, the tool we’ll be using is called ‘xmodmap’. See that ‘x’ in there? Yeah, that’s what (along with the description) makes me unsure if this is going to work for Wayland users. If you’re using a major distro, especially one using X, you’ve got this tool installed by default.

When xmodmap is not installed, the package name should be ‘x11-xserver-utils’ in Ubuntu and it’s fairly safe for other distros to assume the appropriate package will show up if you search your repositories for it. If you need to install it, say with a distro that uses apt (and you shouldn’t), then the incantation would look like this:

Got it? Is it installed? You can check if it’s installed with this command:

Now that you know you have xmodmap installed, you can just use the following command to disable the caps lock key:

Should you change your mind, which you shouldn’t because caps lock is evil and gets in the way of perfectly good typing technique, then you can undo this. Try this command, it should work:

That right there should get rid of your caps lock key’s functionality. You should be able to press the key and have exactly nothing happen, which is a good thing. 

Closure:

Yes, I know the Internet Wisdom© insists that “caps lock is cruise control for cool” but just don’t… No… Just don’t do that. Really, don’t do that!

Try as I might, I can’t think of a legitimate (for me) reason to use caps lock. I never use it on purpose. If I need a few capital letters, the regular shift key works just fine. I have two hands, after all.

So, if you’re like me and don’t want to be cool (and have fewer hassles) go right ahead and disable that caps lock key. I sometimes press it by accident while typing and not looking. It just makes a mess of things. While I type like a demon on fire, I don’t hold my hands in the correct position and don’t use the right fingers for the right keys. I press that ****ing caps lock key way too often, so disabling it makes my life easier.

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Disable The Caps Lock Key In Linux Mint

Sometimes, like software, an article is about scratching my own itch – and I really wanted to disable the caps lock key in Linux Mint. While I can type at a fairly decent clip, my keyboard is often at an angle and this results in me hitting the caps lock key unintentionally.

It also gets pressed fairly often when I’m inebriated! That can be pretty frustrating and, frankly, I have pretty much no use for the caps lock key to begin with. I suppose I could square up the keyboard and not type while inebriated, but ain’t nobody gonna believe it if I said I’d do those things.

Hmm… This is the point in my introduction where I’d explain the subject matter. This time, the subject is the caps lock key. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to explain that. If I have to explain the caps lock key, this is probably not the site for you. That’ll save a lot of time!

Normally, I’d go about this task by using xmodmap or maybe setxkbmap to accomplish this, but instead I figured I’d look for a nice and easy solution. I figured that I’d look for a handy GUI method. The method I learned may be old-hat to you folks, but I’ve always done this in the terminal and that means it’s new to me.

So then, as there’s nothing more to add to the intro, let’s learn how to disable the caps lock key (and more – and the easy way)!

Disable The Caps Lock Key:

For once, you don’t need to start with an open terminal! Instead, open your application menu and type “keyboard”. Click on the icon that is labeled exactly that.

Next, click on the “Layouts” tab and click on “Options”. It should look a little something like this:

setting your keyboard up to disable the caps lock key
This one should be pretty self-explanatory. Just click where the arrow points!

That will open a new screen, where you’ll click on “Caps Lock Behavior”. Once again, it’s going to look a bit like this:

the screen where you disable the caps lock key
You can disable the caps lock key – or you can pick other options.

As you can see, there are a variety of options – including setting the caps lock key to disabled. There are a number of other options that you can pick for the behavior of your caps lock key, but I simply disabled it and called it good. That is what I was after, after all. You do you and decide how you want your caps lock to behave, but this is how you disable caps lock if you really want to.

Closure:

There you have it, another way to disable caps lock key in Linux Mint. I suppose I could probably go ahead and write an article about how to do it in the terminal – which is actually on my list of potential articles to write about. Before delving into the terminal, I decided to see if it could be accomplished graphically and, sure enough, it can.

As you can see, there are all sorts of other options in there. You can change the behavior for quite a few of your keyboard’s keys. This is yet another way you can easily personalize Linux Mint to meet your needs. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. Worst case scenario? Just hit the ‘Reset to Defaults’ in the Layout tab as indicated in the first graphic on this page.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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