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localectl - Control the system locale and keyboard layout settings


localectl [OPTIONS...] {COMMAND}


localectl may be used to query and change the system locale and keyboard layout settings. It communicates with systemd-localed(8) to modify files such as /etc/locale.conf and /etc/vconsole.conf.

The system locale controls the language settings of system services and of the UI before the user logs in, such as the display manager, as well as the default for users after login.

The keyboard settings control the keyboard layout used on the text console and of the graphical UI before the user logs in, such as the display manager, as well as the default for users after login.

Note that the changes performed using this tool might require the initramfs to be rebuilt to take effect during early system boot. The initramfs is not rebuilt automatically by localectl.

Note that systemd-firstboot(1) may be used to initialize the system locale for mounted (but not booted) system images.


The following options are understood:


Do not query the user for authentication for privileged operations.


If set-keymap or set-x11-keymap is invoked and this option is passed, then the keymap will not be converted from the console to X11, or X11 to console, respectively.

-H, --host=

Execute the operation remotely. Specify a hostname, or a username and hostname separated by "@", to connect to. The hostname may optionally be suffixed by a port ssh is listening on, seperated by ":", and then a container name, separated by "/", which connects directly to a specific container on the specified host. This will use SSH to talk to the remote machine manager instance. Container names may be enumerated with machinectl -H HOST. Put IPv6 addresses in brackets.

-M, --machine=

Execute operation on a local container. Specify a container name to connect to.

-h, --help

Print a short help text and exit.


Print a short version string and exit.


Do not pipe output into a pager.


The following commands are understood:


Show current settings of the system locale and keyboard mapping. If no command is specified, this is the implied default.

set-locale LOCALE, set-locale VARIABLE=LOCALE...

Set the system locale. This takes one locale such as "en_US.UTF-8", or takes one or more locale assignments such as "LANG=de_DE.utf8", "LC_MESSAGES=en_GB.utf8", and so on. If one locale without variable name is provided, then "LANG=" locale variable will be set. See locale(7) for details on the available settings and their meanings. Use list-locales for a list of available locales (see below).


List available locales useful for configuration with set-locale.

set-keymap MAP [TOGGLEMAP]

Set the system keyboard mapping for the console and X11. This takes a mapping name (such as "de" or "us"), and possibly a second one to define a toggle keyboard mapping. Unless --no-convert is passed, the selected setting is also applied as the default system keyboard mapping of X11, after converting it to the closest matching X11 keyboard mapping. Use list-keymaps for a list of available keyboard mappings (see below).


List available keyboard mappings for the console, useful for configuration with set-keymap.


Set the system default keyboard mapping for X11 and the virtual console. This takes a keyboard mapping name (such as "de" or "us"), and possibly a model, variant, and options, see kbd(4) for details. Unless --no-convert is passed, the selected setting is also applied as the system console keyboard mapping, after converting it to the closest matching console keyboard mapping.

list-x11-keymap-models, list-x11-keymap-layouts, list-x11-keymap-variants [LAYOUT], list-x11-keymap-options

List available X11 keymap models, layouts, variants and options, useful for configuration with set-keymap. The command list-x11-keymap-variants optionally takes a layout parameter to limit the output to the variants suitable for the specific layout.


On success, 0 is returned, a non-zero failure code otherwise.


Pager to use when --no-pager is not given; overrides $PAGER. If neither $SYSTEMD_PAGER nor $PAGER are set, a set of well-known pager implementations are tried in turn, including less(1) and more(1), until one is found. If no pager implementation is discovered no pager is invoked. Setting this environment variable to an empty string or the value "cat" is equivalent to passing --no-pager.


Override the options passed to less (by default "FRSXMK").

If the value of $SYSTEMD_LESS does not include "K", and the pager that is invoked is less, Ctrl+C will be ignored by the executable. This allows less to handle Ctrl+C itself.


Override the charset passed to less (by default "utf-8", if the invoking terminal is determined to be UTF-8 compatible).


systemd(1), locale(7), locale.conf(5), vconsole.conf(5), loadkeys(1), kbd(4), The XKB Configuration Guide[1], systemctl(1), systemd-localed.service(8), systemd-firstboot(1), mkinitrd(8)


The XKB Configuration Guide
systemd 241