There are quite a few special keys on the Acer Aspire 5517 that don't work by default when running Linux. These keycodes were derived by using the Linux command "xev".

As you can see in the chart below, there is a number keypad on the keyboard, and 11 of the keys can have more than one function. You can set these keys to represent different keypresses by setting them in .Xmodmap, found in your home directory. .Xmodmap is loaded or read when the window manager is started.

Here is my .Xmodmap:

Actual entryNotes
keycode 81 = KP_PriorThe "9-PgUp" key, used in Firefox and other programs for scrolling up one page
keycode 83 = XF86BackThe "4-<" key, used in Firefox for going back one page
keycode 85 = XF86ForwardThe "6->" key, used in Firefox for going forward one page
keycode 87 = KP_EndThe "1-End" key, used in Firefox for scrolling to the end of a page
keycode 89 = KP_NextThe "3-PgDn" key, used in Firefox and other programs for scrolling down one page
keycode 160 = XF86AudioMute
keycode 162 = XF86AudioPlay
keycode 164 = XF86AudioStop
keycode 174 = XF86AudioLowerVolume
keycode 176 = XF86AudioRaiseVolume
keycode 115 = Super_LThe "Windows" key
keycode 223 = XF86SleepSleep/Standby mode (not working correctly yet)

If I want to use the number keypad for a calculator, pressing the NumLk key doesn't work.
I need to use another file called ".Xmodmap-numlk" to temporarily switch the keys:

keycode 83 = 4
keycode 85 = 6
keycode 87 = 1
keycode 89 = 3
keycode 81 = 9

I've created a couple of simple scripts to easily switch between the two modes. I've assigned
icons to them and installed them on the desktop so that I can simply click the icon to switch
to one of the two modes.

Number keypad
17 keys of the number keypad. We can use some of these keys for other functions.
Key CapKeycodeKeysymNotes
0 - Ins90KP_0 
1 - End87KP_1
2 - Down arrow  88KP_2 
3 - PgDn89KP_3
4 - <83KP_4
84KP_5 
6 - >85KP_6 
7 - Home79KP_7 
8 - Up arrow80KP_8 
9 - PgUp81KP_9 
Enter108KP_Enter(Enter key in lower right corner)
. - Del91KP_Decimal   
+86KP_Add 
-82KP_Subtract   
NumLk77NumLock 
/112KP_Divide 
*63KP_Multiply 

Special Function keys
Key CapKeycodeKeysymNotes
Fn-Left arrow101 or 239 (NoSymbol)Screen brightness down - works by default 
Fn-Right arrow123 or 212(NoSymbol)Screen brightness up - works by default
Fn-Up arrow176XF86AudioRaiseVolumeSound volume up - (assign keysym)
Fn-Down arrow 174XF86AudioLowerVolume Sound volume down - (assign keysym)
Fn-F4223Sleepassign it to XF86Standby or XF86Sleep
Fn-F5214 Internal and/or external screen
Fn-F6?? Screen off/on - works by default
Fn-F8160XF86AudioMuteMute - (assign keysym)
Fn-F9162XF86AudioPlayPlay/Pause - (assign keysym)
Fn-F10164XF86AudioStopStop - (assign keysym)
Fn-F11144XF86AudioPrevSkip Back - (assign keysym)
Fn-F12153XF86AudioNextSkip Fwd - (assign keysym)

Other keys
These keys are all on the bottom row.
Key CapKeycodeKeysymNotes
Left Ctrl37Control_L 
Windows key115Super_L 
Left Alt64Alt_L 
Alt Gr113Alt_R 
Menu key117NoSymbol 
Right Ctrl109Control_R 
Left Arrow100Left 
Right Arrow102Right 
Up Arrow98Up 
Down arrow104Down 


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