How-To: How enable “compose” key in Ubuntu 9.10 (to type special characters)

Remember the “Alt + 165” trick in Windows? And all “Alt + numeric value” combinations that you have to memorize just to type special characters like ñ, æ, à, etc…

Well, we don’t have that “Alt combo” in Ubuntu… (I kept spelling my fiancee’s middle name as Espanola, which is supposed to be Española)

Good thing is, for me, those days are over. I was reading about keyboard layouts (which also enlightened me that QWERTY is not the only layout there is, there’s Dvorak also), then I read a section regarding a Compose key, which allows a user to combine key strokes to form special characters, and it’s supported in X.Org! I didn’t know that!!!

Anyway, here’s how to enable it in Ubuntu 9.10…

Go to System->Preferences->Keyboard, you’ll gonna have this window:

Go to Layouts,

Click Layout Options, then click on the Compose key position triangle. Here, I enabled my compose key as Right Alt for I don’t use it that much.

After selecting your Compose key, just click Close, then you can start composing keys.

You can find the list of possible key combinations here, also from this blog.

™ æ µ à ± ǹ ñ ½ … sorry can’t get enough of it 🙂

Note: I didn’t use the Win key because the Desktop effect uses it for some combinations, e.g. “Win+E”, “Win+M”


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