19 Jul 2016

How to configure keyboard layouts in Cinnamon 2 and higher

Desktop Environments are not something set in stone. They develop and change their design.

Linux notes from DarkDuck published an article some time ago where you could learn how to configure keyboard layouts in Cinnamon Desktop Environment. That article was written in 2013 when Cinnamon 1 was available. That How-to is relevant to that release and its sub-releases only.

Cinnamon 2&3 were released since then. Cinnamon 2 is a part of Linux Mint 16 and, more importantly, Long-Term Support version Linux Mint 17. Cinnamon 3 became a part of recently published Linux Mint 18. These version of DEs have a different approach to keyboard layout settings. Let me show you how to set up different keyboard layouts in Cinnamon 3 in Linux Mint 18 and later, and in other operating systems that use Cinnamon Desktop Environment of version 3 and higher. Cinnamon 2 has a very similar approach with slightly different look of the windows.

The settings for Keyboard layouts in Cinnamon are part of the Keyboard configuration panel. You can find it either in the System Settings section or by typing "keyboard" in the menu search field.
Cinnamon keyboard configuration

You need to switch to the Layouts tab in that window.

Using "+" and "-" buttons in the bottom-left part of the window, you can change the set of layouts active in your system.
Cinnamon keyboard language selection

To ease your search of the necessary layout, you can type the language name in the search field of the window.

Once you have more than one layout in the list, an applet appears in the notification area of the panel. It shows you the current layout with a flag indicator by default. You can switch it to be text instead of the flag. To do so, you need to right-click the indicator, select the Configure option, and then untick the checkbox in the new applet configuration window.
Cinnamon language applet configuration
You can also configure the hotkey that you use to switch between the layouts. Click the Options button on the Keyboard configuration window. Open the section Switching to another layout, and tick the checkbox next to the key combination that you prefer.
Cinnamon layout switch hotkey configuration

Voila, you can now type in different layouts in Cinnamon, and quickly switch between these layouts with a hotkey.


  1. Very nice explanation, thanks

  2. Mint is giving UK English layout instead of US English. Just click on the keyboard preview icon to see that. How do I remedy this?

    1. Have you tried to ask that on the Mint forum?

  3. hey want some help, i need to block alt f4, cntrl a and others by terminal

  4. I'm using Mint there is no Hawaiian option under layouts, although there are many other equally obscure language layouts. Is there a good 'how to' to create a layout from scratch? Thanks!

  5. Sadly there is no Hawaiian keyboard option under 'chose a layout'. (Cinnamon/latest version Mint)