Culture, Language, Technology, Tutorial, Ubuntu

How to Get Korean (Hangul) Working on Ubuntu 16.04

EDITED October 31, 2016

This tutorial might also work on Ubuntu 14.04, I haven’t tried yet.

I love Ubuntu and I love Hangul but I’m not going to deny it – it’s not hyper-easy to get it running on Ubuntu, not because it’s super hard but because there aren’t any helpful blog posts out there to walk someone through it.

By golly, miss molly, that ends today!  Let’s begin…

  1. Hit the super key and type ‘languages’ and then click/open the “language support” icon as per this:


2. Click ‘install/remove languages’ as per this:


English should be selected already (if your mother-tongue install was English).

3. Choose “korean” from the list, then apply, and wait (a really long time sometimes) while it downloads King Sejong and the kitchen sink…


EDIT! Some have reported not finding the Korean option in this list.  I cannot explain why this would be, nor have I experienced this, but I would recommend that if this is your case try logging out completely and logging back in and trying again.  Let me know if that helped.

Here is where the non-intuitive stuff starts.  You’d think doing the above would be all you need but you need to do a bit more.

EDIT! If you have tried this tutorial before, make sure you *log out* here completely and log back in or you might not see the next “Korean (Hangul) (ibus)” option.

4. Go to the top right of the screen where you see English (En) and click that and you’ll see ‘text entry settings’


Now you will English sitting there all alone.

5. Press the + sign and then type ‘korean’ and select it.  Then you’ll see a screen like this.  Choose Korean (Hangul) (Ibus).


I had some issues leaving the ‘master keyboard’ (that’s a name I gave it) switching with the default (something with the super key) and so I changed mine to Control + space bar.  You can do whatever you want by just clicking in the space where the default is and hitting your favourite combo in on your keyboard.  When finished just close the window and your changes will be saved.

Remember, this is *not* the hangul-english keyboard language switching combo.  This is the keyboard combo that switches your keyboard from the “English only” (En) one to the “Korean with English capabilities” one.


Now, we’re getting close to being able to angle your Hangul, but just one more critical step that will save you the pulling out of multiple strands of hair.

6. You must now either reboot, or log out and log back in again in order to be able to eat your green eggs with Hangul.

You will know that you have successfully reached Hangul-Land when the top right area that used to say “En” is now a colourful Korean swirl like so:


Although you now have full Korean capabilities, you now must use the keyboard combos found within this Korean keyboard in order to switch between English and Korean.  The default combo is shift + space bar, and you can try it out now for a fun test.  You may, like me, wish to change this keyboard combo to something else. If you do,  go on to the next section.

How to Customize Your Shiny New Korean Keyboard with a Custom Language Toggle Keyboard Combo

Click the colourful swirl and select ‘setup’ as per this:


Next, you will see the Hangul toggle key space with the defaults. If you want to change the keys used to toggle between Korean and English, just click ‘add’ and then, even though it says ‘key’ singular in the pop up, you can hit the key combo with your computer and it will work.

*Warning!* It shows this popup when you hit ‘add’ under the Hangul toggle area, which is *incorrect*. It should say ‘hangul’ not hanja here. Both hanja and hangul display the same pop up box so it just needs a bug report to fix this but I’m too tired at the point of writing this blog…


In this case, I used control +right alt key because I remember using something like that back in the day and it felt comfortable.  You can do whatever floats your boat.


아이구! 신기 신기! 오렛동안 한국말 이컴퓨터에서 못했어….  드디어.

Hope this helps you grow in Ubuntu and Korean!


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13 thoughts on “How to Get Korean (Hangul) Working on Ubuntu 16.04

  1. “Choose “korean” from the list”

    I’m immediately stuck on this first step, because my fresh install of Ubuntu 16.04 doesn’t have Korean on that list.

    It skips from Khmer, Central to Kurdo.

    1. You’re right! something changed from point of my posting that and now. Working on it now to see if I can figure it out…

    2. your first step you seemed to have missed to start. Make sure you do the ‘install languages’ thing. Once that’s done you will see Korean but the Korean hangul option that you need on the step after that is an issue now. Working on that. But while waiting make sure you do the ‘install/remove languages option. Korean should definitely be there.

      1. I have edited this post and also added some step numbers so we can talk about it easier. Go check out my edit notes. Perhaps what you need to do at this point right away is log out completely and log back in. For sure Korean is in the first list of languages once you click ‘install/remove’ languages. However, I could *not* find the Korean (Hangul) (ibus) option for step until I had logged out and logged back in so I’ve added those notes to the post. Hope this helps! Let me know if success

  2. Thanks a lot! I’m a Linux-beginner and I succeeded with your detailed tutorial! The log-out tip was what made it work for me.
    I have a small question left: Is it possible to have the Korean keyboard layout shown in a separate window while I’m typing Korean? Selecting the “Keyboard Layout Chart” only shows me the layout for “Korean 101/104 key compatible”, which doesn’t have Korean characters at all (only English alphabet and shift+space doesn’t switch it to hangeul).

  3. This is silly – in 14.04 it’s just Ctrl+space to get the Hangul text to start – Is there a way to bypass the extra step of having to select the text I wish to write, say, to exactly how it was in 14.04?

    1. Actually nevermind – I just keep the “master keyboard” to Hangul in English mode and then switch CTRL-SPACE to Hangul in Hangul mode. The only downside is the icon doesn’t change to EN but this computer will only ever use the two options. Kind of a setback, I wonder if there’s a way to get the old IBUS settings ported in from 14.04

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