Linux Gnome Numeric Keypad Disabled [ Mouse keys ]

Q. I’m using Gnome under Ubuntu Linux and my numeric keypad is disabled. Pressing numlock key does not work any more. I’m not able to use numbers or special symbols from numeric keypad. Reboot does not help or using different keyboard does not help. However, numlock only works if I switch to text console by pressing CTRL+ALT+F1. Now, I’m dam sure this is related to X.org or Gnome. How do I fix this problem?

A. This can be easily fixed using Keyboard preference tool. It can modify the autorepeat preferences for your keyboard, and to configure typing break settings. This works as in MS Windows. With this option selected, using Shift with keys on the numerical pad when NumLock is off extends the current selection. With this option unselected, use Shift with keys on the numerical pad to obtain the reverse of the current behaviour for that key. For example, when NumLock is off, the 8 key acts as an up-arrow. Press Shift+8 to type an ‘8’. Basically, Shift+Numlock can turn on or off mouse keypad. To get rid of this problem simply press Shift+Numlock again.

You can also enable or disable this feature by visiting System > Preferences > Keyboard > Mouse key tab:

Gnome: Keyboard preference tool to control mouse key

🐧 If you liked this page, please support my work on Patreon or with a donation.
🐧 Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix, Open Source/DevOps topics:
CategoryList of Unix and Linux commands
File Managementcat
FirewallAlpine Awall CentOS 8 OpenSUSE RHEL 8 Ubuntu 16.04 Ubuntu 18.04 Ubuntu 20.04
Network Utilitiesdig host ip nmap
OpenVPNCentOS 7 CentOS 8 Debian 10 Debian 8/9 Ubuntu 18.04 Ubuntu 20.04
Package Managerapk apt
Processes Managementbg chroot cron disown fg jobs killall kill pidof pstree pwdx time
Searchinggrep whereis which
User Informationgroups id lastcomm last lid/libuser-lid logname members users whoami who w
WireGuard VPNAlpine CentOS 8 Debian 10 Firewall Ubuntu 20.04
31 comments… add one
  • mts Sep 15, 2011 @ 4:38

    I am using PinguyOS 11.04, and the shortcut Shift + NumLock doesn’t work.
    I have used Pinguy OS 10.04, it worked that time.
    How can I fix it?

  • mts Sep 15, 2011 @ 5:30
  • Jaims Nov 25, 2011 @ 20:25

    Thanks a lot, this article saved my life :-)
    000111222333 :-D

    Many many thanks

  • Mario Dec 5, 2011 @ 19:48

    I am the next one to THANK YOU! Three years later but as happy as all the others.

  • überRegenbogen Dec 25, 2011 @ 1:08

    Unfortunately, on my ThinkPads, NumLock is toggled with shift-ScrollLock—and the shift gets through. So i can’t toggle NumLock without toggling Mouse Keys. I can go to keyboard prefs and toggle Mouse Keys, so it is off when NumLock is on; but that’s an annoying hoop to jump through every session that i use NumLock. So, i want to change or disable the hotkey for Mouse Keys—or disable Mouse Keys altogether, as i never need it.

  • Tonyc Feb 14, 2012 @ 14:10

    We are stuck with linux workstations at work. Thanks for this. :)

  • adf Mar 24, 2012 @ 6:23

    Thanks!!! a ton.

  • Jenny Oct 16, 2012 @ 8:42

    As so many people above, I also thank you so much for this! I was wondering why my number pad just wasn’t working. Not a huge issue but it was sure irritating me. Again, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!

  • sena Nov 18, 2013 @ 16:06

    Thanks a lot. I was suffering from this for two weeks and didn’t bothered to debug and was avoiding numkeys. Thanks again.

  • Marco Nov 23, 2013 @ 8:02

    I am afraid I am the only one for which this does not work… :( I do have mouse keys disabled in preferences, but the point is, even if I enable it, they DO NOT MOVE the mouse pointer!!!
    They simply only work as arrows, and pressing numlock or shift-numlock does nothing.
    This is on GNOME. When I am on the console (eg via putty for example) every works as expected, numlock toggles numeric keypad between arrows and typing numbers.
    To top it off, it’s only NUMBER keys that do not work. Operation keys, small return, dot key work just right.

  • Edwin Toms Feb 11, 2015 @ 9:40

    Thanx for the sugestion. I search for a solution, last two days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Use HTML <pre>...</pre>, <code>...</code> and <kbd>...</kbd> for code samples.