SVKBD: Simple Virtual Keyboard

This is a simple virtual keyboard, intended to be used in environments, where no keyboard is available.


$ make
$ make install

This will create by default svkbd-mobile-intl, which is svkbd using an international keyboard layout with multiple layers and overlays, and optimised for mobile devices.

You can create svkbd for additional layouts by doing:

$ make LAYOUT=$layout

This will take the file layout.$layout.h and create svkbd-$layout. make install will then pick up the new file and install it accordingly.


The following layouts are available:


$ svkbd-mobile-intl

This will open svkbd at the bottom of the screen, showing the default international layout.

$ svkbd-mobile-intl -d

This tells svkbd to announce itself being a dock window, which then is managed differently between different window managers. If using dwm and the dock patch, then this will make svkbd being managed by dwm and some space of the screen being reserved for it.

$ svkbd-en -g 400x200+1+1

This will start svkbd-en with a size of 400x200 and at the upper left window corner.

For layouts that consist of multiple layers, you can enable layers on program start through either the -l flag or through the SVKBD_LAYERS environment variable. They both take a comma separated list of layer names (as defined in your layout.*.h). Use the button in the bottom-left to cycle through all the layers.

Some layouts come with overlays that will show when certain keys are hold pressed for a longer time. For example, a long press on the a key will enable an overview showing all kinds of diacritic combinations for a.

Overlay functionality interferes with the ability to hold a key and have it outputted repeatedly. You can disable overlay functionality with the -O flag or by setting the environment variable SVKBD_ENABLEOVERLAYS=0. There is also a key on the function layer of the keyboard itself to enable/disable this behaviour on the fly. Its label shows when the overlay functionality is enabled and when not.


This virtual keyboard does not actually modify the X keyboard layout, the mobile-intl, mobile-plain and en layouts simply rely on a standard US QWERTY layout (setxkbmap us) being activated, the other layouts (de, ru, sh) require their respective XKB keymaps to be active.

If you use another XKB layout you will get unpredictable output that does not match the labels on the virtual keycaps!


You can browse its source code repository or get a copy using git with the following command:

     git clone