Linux keyboard text symbols: Compose key shortcuts

Linux keyboard text symbols: Compose key shortcutsSímbolos de texto para Linux: Atajos de teclas compuestas

You use Linux and you often need to type accented letters, like ü? Or, maybe, ½, ±, €, ©, «»?

Yes, or no, there's also about a hundred other characters available for easy texting. And if you're a Linux user you at least have to know that you can input them from your keyboard with Compose key technique. Because, the spectre of symbols you can type with Compose key is huge and easiness of it's use is incredible. I mean practically all the lingual, technical, economical text characters and signs and the easiness of pressing three buttons.

The only bad thing about Compose key is that you can't type the cool stuff, like ♥ hearts, ★ stars, ♪ music notes and other cute symbols you can find in my Cool text Symbols for Facebook ϡ. You'll have to use Linux keyboard: Unicode hex codes composition to make that ones with your keyboard.

How it works

You press the key you chose as the Compose key then release the key, enter sequence of characters (2-3 keys) for a symbol you want to enter. For example, lets say you chose Alt as your Compose key. You press Alt, release it, you enter "mu", and you get µ symbol added into your text field. Simple, nah?

Choose your Compose key

To make this method available, first you have to choose your Compose key position. You can type special sequences to get symbols while this key is pressed, or turned on.

On GNOME

Compose key on GNOME

I hope it goes like this:

  1. Get into System ➣ Preferences ➣ Keyboard ➣ Layouts.
  2. Open Layout Options.
  3. Expand Compose key position menu. Here you can choose the preferred button that will turn on the composition mode.
Reference

On KDE

KDE 4.x
Compose key on KDE 4
  1. In KMenu start the System Settings.
  2. Choose Regional & Language.
  3. Keyboard Layout configuration.
  4. Under the Layout tab, select Enable keyboard layouts.
  5. In Advanced choose preferred Compose key position.


KDE 3.x
Compose key on KDE 3
  1. Start the System Settings or the KDE Control Center.
    • If in System Settings ➣ Regional & Language.
    • If in KDE Control Center ➣ Keyboard Layout.
  2. Choose your keyboard layout.
  3. In Xkb Options choose preferred Compose key position.


GTK programs, Console

GTK (such as Firefox, Gimp) and Gnome applications usually use SCIM as the input method, not XIM (X Input Method) that relies on the configurations from (X)Compose. If you have problems with that, or you want to make Composition key available for console - read userbase.KDE.org reference that I listed below.

References

Best button for Compose key

Probably, the best position for Compose key is Left Windows key. Of course, this depends on how often you use text symbols, how good you are with your fingers and keyboard, your keyboard layout, on what you are used to, bla-bla-bla. But I think it's the fastest and easiest choice.

Shortcuts

Note, that different systems come with different tables. The one given below is just one of a kind. It may not completely match yours. Read more detailed information about Compose key sequences to find out how to find, or change your system's compose key sequences.

Diacritics and punctuation

Symbol First key Second key Third key Unicode code Character name
´ apostrophe apostrophe 00B4 Acute accent
' apostrophe space 0027 Apostrophe
' space apostrophe 0027 Apostrophe
˘ parenleft space 02D8 Breve
˘ space parenleft 02D8 Breve
ˇ less space 02C7 Caron
ˇ space less 02C7 Caron
¸ comma comma 00B8 Cedilla
^ asciicircum space 005E Circumflex accent
^ greater space 005E Circumflex accent
^ space asciicircum 005E Circumflex accent
^ space greater 005E Circumflex accent
¨ quotedbl quotedbl 00A8 Diaeresis
˙ period period 02D9 dot above
` grave space 0060 Grave accent
` space grave 0060 Grave accent
minus minus minus 2014 em dash —
minus minus period 2013 en dash –
¡ exclam exclam 00A1 inverted exclamation mark
¿ question question 00BF inverted question mark
{ minus parenleft 007B left Curly Bracket
{ parenleft minus 007B left Curly Bracket
apostrophe less 2018 left single Quotation Mark
less apostrophe 2018 left single Quotation Mark
[ parenleft parenleft 005B left Square Bracket
« less less 00AB left pointing Double Angle Quotation Mark
¯ asciicircum underscore 00AF Macron
¯ asciicircum minus 00AF Macron
¯ minus asciicircum 00AF Macron
¯ underscore asciicircum 00AF Macron
¯ underscore underscore 00AF Macron
space space 00A0 Non-breaking Space
} minus parenright 007D right Curly Bracket
} parenright minus 007D right Curly Bracket
apostrophe greater 2019 right single Quotation Mark
greater apostrophe 2019 right single Quotation Mark
] parenright parenright 005D right Square Bracket
» greater greater 00BB right pointing Double Angle Quotation Mark
­ minus minus space 00AD Soft-Hyphen (word break)

Currency

Symbol First key Second key Third key Unicode code Character name
¢ bar C 00A2 Cent sign
¢ bar c 00A2 Cent sign
¢ C slash 00A2 Cent sign
¢ c bar 00A2 Cent sign
¢ c slash 00A2 Cent sign
¢ C bar 00A2 Cent sign
¢ slash C 00A2 Cent sign
¢ slash c 00A2 Cent sign
¤ 0 X 00A4 Currency sign
¤ 0 x 00A4 Currency sign
¤ O X 00A4 Currency sign
¤ o x 00A4 Currency sign
¤ O x 00A4 Currency sign
¤ o X 00A4 Currency sign
¤ X O 00A4 Currency sign
¤ X 0 00A4 Currency sign
¤ x o 00A4 Currency sign
¤ X o 00A4 Currency sign
¤ x 0 00A4 Currency sign
¤ x O 00A4 Currency sign
C equal 20AC Euro sign
c equal 20AC Euro sign
E equal 20AC Euro sign
e equal 20AC Euro sign
equal C 20AC Euro sign
equal c 20AC Euro sign
equal E 20AC Euro sign
equal e 20AC Euro sign
£ equal l 00A3 Pound sign
£ equal L 00A3 Pound sign
£ l minus 00A3 Pound sign
£ L minus 00A3 Pound sign
£ L equal 00A3 Pound sign
£ l equal 00A3 Pound sign
£ minus L 00A3 Pound sign
£ minus l 00A3 Pound sign
¥ equal Y 00A5 Yen sign
¥ equal y 00A5 Yen sign
¥ minus Y 00A5 Yen sign
¥ minus y 00A5 Yen sign
¥ y equal 00A5 Yen sign
¥ Y minus 00A5 Yen sign
¥ y minus 00A5 Yen sign
¥ Y equal 00A5 Yen sign

Vulgar Fractions

Symbol First key Second key Third key Unicode code Character name
½ 1 2 00BD One-half
1 3 2153 One-third
2 3 2154 Two-thirds
¼ 1 4 00BC One-quarter
¾ 3 4 00BE Three-quarters
1 5 2155 One-fifth
2 5 2156 Two-fifths
3 5 2157 Three-fifths
4 5 2158 Four-fifths
1 6 2159 One-sixth
1 8 215B One-eighth
3 8 215C Three-eighths
5 8 215D Five-eighths
7 8 215E Seven-eighths

Note: Unicode is inconsistent. The codes for 1/2, 1/4 and 3/4 are in the Latin-1 block, codes for thirds, fifths, sixths, and eighths are in the Number Forms block (U+2150 to U+2189). Not all fonts support fractions.

Mathematical Symbols and Signs

Symbol First key Second key Third key Unicode code Character name
© 0 C 00A9 Copyright sign
© 0 c 00A9 Copyright sign
© O C 00A9 Copyright sign
© O c 00A9 Copyright sign
© o C 00A9 Copyright sign
© o c 00A9 Copyright sign
© C 0 00A9 Copyright sign
© C O 00A9 Copyright sign
© C o 00A9 Copyright sign
© c 0 00A9 Copyright sign
© c O 00A9 Copyright sign
© c o 00A9 Copyright sign
© parenleft c 00A9 Copyright sign
° 0 asterisk 00B0 Degree sign
° 0 asciicircum 00B0 Degree sign
° asciicircum 0 00B0 Degree sign
° asterisk 0 00B0 Degree sign
÷ colon minus 00F7 Division sign
÷ minus colon 00F7 Division sign
ª a underscore 00AA feminine ordinal indicator
ª A underscore 00AA feminine ordinal indicator
ª underscore a 00AA feminine ordinal indicator
ª underscore A 00AA feminine ordinal indicator
º o underscore 00BA masculine ordinal indicator
º O underscore 00BA masculine ordinal indicator
º underscore o 00BA masculine ordinal indicator
º underscore O 00BA masculine ordinal indicator
µ slash U 00B5 Micro sign
µ slash u 00B5 Micro sign
µ u slash 00B5 Micro sign
µ U slash 00B5 Micro sign
· asciicircum period 00B7 Middle·Dot
· period asciicircum 00B7 Middle·Dot
× x x 00D7 Multiplication sign
¬ comma minus 00AC Not sign
¬ minus comma 00AC Not sign
# plus plus 0023 Number sign (Octothorpe)
exclam P 00B6 Pilcrow sign
exclam p 00B6 Pilcrow sign
p exclam 00B6 Pilcrow sign
P exclam 00B6 Pilcrow sign
± minus plus 00B1 plusminus sign
± plus minus 00B1 plusminus sign
® O R 00AE Registered sign
® O r 00AE Registered sign
® o R 00AE Registered sign
® o r 00AE Registered sign
® parenleft r 00AE Registered sign
T M 2122 Trademark sign
T m 2122 Trademark sign
t M 2122 Trademark sign
t m 2122 Trademark sign
\ less slash 005C reverse Solidus
\ slash slash 005C reverse Solidus
\ slash less 005C reverse Solidus
§ 0 s 00A7 Section sign
§ 0 S 00A7 Section sign
§ exclam s 00A7 Section sign
§ exclam S 00A7 Section sign
§ o s 00A7 Section sign
§ O S 00A7 Section sign
§ S 0 00A7 Section sign
§ S exclam 00A7 Section sign
§ s 0 00A7 Section sign
§ s o 00A7 Section sign
§ S O 00A7 Section sign
§ s exclam 00A7 Section sign
¹ 1 asciicircum 00B9 Superscript One
¹ 1 s 00B9 Superscript One
¹ 1 S 00B9 Superscript One
¹ asciicircum 1 00B9 Superscript One
¹ s 1 00B9 Superscript One
¹ S 1 00B9 Superscript One
² 2 S 00B2 Superscript Two
² 2 s 00B2 Superscript Two
² 2 asciicircum 00B2 Superscript Two
² asciicircum 2 00B2 Superscript Two
² s 2 00B2 Superscript Two
² S 2 00B2 Superscript Two
³ 3 asciicircum 00B3 Superscript Three
³ 3 S 00B3 Superscript Three
³ 3 s 00B3 Superscript Three
³ asciicircum 3 00B3 Superscript Three
³ S 3 00B3 Superscript Three
³ s 3 00B3 Superscript Three
~ asciiTilde (~) space 007E Tilde
~ minus space 007E Tilde
~ space minus 007E Tilde
~ space asciiTilde 007E Tilde
| asciicircum slash 007C vertical line
| l v 007C vertical line
| L V 007C vertical line
| slash asciicircum 007C vertical line
| v l 007C vertical line
| V L 007C vertical line

Greek

Symbol First key Second key Third key Unicode code Character name
΅ apostrophe quotedbl space 0385 dialytika tonos
΅ quotedbl apostrophe space 0385 dialytika tonos
Ά apostrophe Greek Alpha 0386 capital Alpha with tonos
Ά Greek Alpha apostrophe 0386 capital Alpha with tonos
Έ apostrophe Greek Epsilon 0388 capital Epsilon with tonos
Έ Greek Epsilon apostrophe 0388 capital Epsilon with tonos
Ή apostrophe Greek Eta 0389 capital Eta with tonos
Ή Greek Eta apostrophe 0389 capital Eta with tonos
Ϊ Greek Iota quotedbl 03AA capital Iota with dialytika
Ϊ quotedbl Greek Iota 03AA capital Iota with dialytika
Ί apostrophe Greek Iota 038A capital Iota with tonos
Ί Greek Iota apostrophe 038A capital Iota with tonos
Ό apostrophe Greek Omicron 038C capital Omicron with tonos
Ό Greek Omicron apostrophe 038C capital Omicron with tonos
Ϋ Greek Upsilon quotedbl 03AB capital Upsilon with dialytika
Ϋ quotedbl Greek Upsilon 03AB capital Upsilon with dialytika
Ύ apostrophe Greek Upsilon 038E capital Upsilon with tonos
Ύ Greek Upsilon apostrophe 038E capital Upsilon with tonos
Ώ apostrophe Greek Omega 038F capital Omega with tonos
Ώ Greek Omega apostrophe 038F capital Omega with tonos
ά apostrophe Greek Alpha 03AC small Alpha with tonos
ά Greek Alpha apostrophe 03AC small Alpha with tonos
έ apostrophe Greek Epsilon 03AD small Epsilon with tonos
έ Greek Epsilon apostrophe 03AD small Epsilon with tonos
ή apostrophe Greek eta 03AE small Eta with tonos
ή Greek eta apostrophe 03AE small Eta with tonos
ΐ apostrophe quotedbl Greek iota 0390 small Iota with dialytika and tonos
ΐ quotedbl apostrophe Greek iota 0390 small Iota with dialytika and tonos
ϊ Greek iota quotedbl 03CA small Iota with dialytika
ϊ quotedbl Greek iota 03CA small Iota with dialytika
ί apostrophe Greek iota 03AF small Iota with tonos
ί Greek iota apostrophe 03AF small Iota with tonos
ό apostrophe Greek oMicron 03CC small Omicron with tonos
ό Greek Omicron apostrophe 03CC small Omicron with tonos
ΰ apostrophe quotedbl Greek upsilon 03B0 small Upsilon with dialytika and tonos
ΰ quotedbl apostrophe Greek upsilon 03B0 small Upsilon with dialytika and tonos
ϋ Greek upsilon quotedbl 03CB small Upsilon with dialytika
ϋ quotedbl Greek upsilon 03CB small Upsilon with dialytika
ύ apostrophe Greek upsilon 03CD small Upsilon with tonos
ύ Greek upsilon apostrophe 03CD small Upsilon with tonos
ώ apostrophe Greek omega 03CE small Omega with tonos
ώ Greek omega apostrophe 03CE small Omega with tonos

Latin majuscules

Symbol First key Second key Third key Unicode code Character name
á a apostrophe 00E1 small A with acute
á a acute 00E1 small A with acute
á acute a 00E1 small A with acute
á apostrophe a 00E1 small A with acute
ă a parenleft 0103 small A with breve
ă parenleft a 0103 small A with breve
â a greater 00E2 small A with circumflex
â a asciicircum 00E2 small A with circumflex
â asciicircum a 00E2 small A with circumflex
â greater a 00E2 small A with circumflex
ä a diaeresis 00E4 small A with diaeresis
ä a quotedbl 00E4 small A with diaeresis
ä diaeresis a 00E4 small A with diaeresis
ä quotedbl a 00E4 small A with diaeresis
à a grave 00E0 small A with grave
à grave a 00E0 small A with grave
ą a comma 0105 small A with ogonek
ą comma a 0105 small A with ogonek
å a asterisk 00E5 small A with ring above
å a a 00E5 small A with ring above
å asterisk a 00E5 small A with ring above
ã a asciiTilde 00E3 small A with tilde
ã a minus 00E3 small A with tilde
ã asciiTilde a 00E3 small A with tilde
ã minus a 00E3 small A with tilde
æ a e 00E6 small AE
b period 1E03 small B with dot above
period b 1E03 small B with dot above
ć apostrophe c 0107 small C with acute
ć c apostrophe 0107 small C with acute
č c less 010D small C with caron
č less c 010D small C with caron
ç c comma 00E7 small C with cedilla
ç comma c 00E7 small C with cedilla
ċ c period 010B small C with dot above
ċ period c 010B small C with dot above
ď d less 010F small D with caron
ď less d 010F small D with caron
d period 1E0B small D with dot above
period d 1E0B small D with dot above
ð d h 00F0 small Eth
đ d minus 0111 small D with stroke
đ minus d 0111 small D with stroke
ı i period 0131 small dotless I
ı period i 0131 small dotless I
é acute e 00E9 small E with acute
é apostrophe e 00E9 small E with acute
é e acute 00E9 small E with acute
é e apostrophe 00E9 small E with acute
ě e less 011B small E with caron
ě less e 011B small E with caron
ê asciicircum e 00EA small E with circumflex
ê e greater 00EA small E with circumflex
ê e asciicircum 00EA small E with circumflex
ê greater e 00EA small E with circumflex
ë diaeresis e 00EB small E with diaeresis
ë e diaeresis 00EB small E with diaeresis
ë e quotedbl 00EB small E with diaeresis
ë quotedbl e 00EB small E with diaeresis
ė e period 0117 small E with dot above
ė period e 0117 small E with dot above
è e grave 00E8 small E with grave
è grave e 00E8 small E with grave
ē e underscore 0113 small E with macron
ē e minus 0113 small E with macron
ē minus e 0113 small E with macron
ē underscore e 0113 small E with macron
ę comma e 0119 small E with ogonek
ę e comma 0119 small E with ogonek
ŋ n g 014B small ENG
f period 1E1F small F with dot above
period f 1E1F small F with dot above
ğ breve g 011F small G with breve
ğ g breve 011F small G with breve
ğ g parenleft 011F small G with breve
ğ g U 011F small G with breve
ğ parenleft g 011F small G with breve
ģ comma g 0123 small G with cedilla
ģ g comma 0123 small G with cedilla
ġ g period 0121 small G with dot above
ġ period g 0121 small G with dot above
í acute i 00ED small I with acute
í apostrophe i 00ED small I with acute
í i acute 00ED small I with acute
í i apostrophe 00ED small I with acute
î asciicircum i 00EE small I with circumflex
î greater i 00EE small I with circumflex
î i greater 00EE small I with circumflex
î i asciicircum 00EE small I with circumflex
ï diaeresis i 00EF small I with diaeresis
ï i quotedbl 00EF small I with diaeresis
ï i diaeresis 00EF small I with diaeresis
ï quotedbl i 00EF small I with diaeresis
ì grave i 00EC small I with grave
ì i grave 00EC small I with grave
ī i minus 012B small I with macron
ī i underscore 012B small I with macron
ī minus i 012B small I with macron
ī underscore i 012B small I with macron
į comma i 012F small I with ogonek
į i comma 012F small I with ogonek
ĩ asciiTilde i 0129 small I with tilde
ĩ i asciiTilde 0129 small I with tilde
ķ comma k 0137 small K with cedilla
ķ k comma 0137 small K with cedilla
ĸ k k 0138 small KRA
ĺ apostrophe l 013A small L with acute
ĺ l apostrophe 013A small L with acute
ľ l less 013E small L with caron
ľ less l 013E small L with caron
ļ comma l 013C small L with cedilla
ļ l comma 013C small L with cedilla
ł l slash 0142 small L with stroke
ł slash l 0142 small L with stroke
œ o e 0153 small ligature OE
m period 1E41 small M with dot above
period m 1E41 small M with dot above
ń apostrophe n 0144 small N with acute
ń n apostrophe 0144 small N with acute
ň less n 0148 small N with caron
ň n less 0148 small N with caron
ņ comma n 0146 small N with cedilla
ņ n comma 0146 small N with cedilla
ñ asciiTilde n 00F1 small N with tilde
ñ minus n 00F1 small N with tilde
ñ n asciiTilde 00F1 small N with tilde
ñ n minus 00F1 small N with tilde
ó acute o 00F3 small O with acute
ó apostrophe o 00F3 small O with acute
ó o acute 00F3 small O with acute
ó o apostrophe 00F3 small O with acute
ô asciicircum o 00F4 small O with circumflex
ô greater o 00F4 small O with circumflex
ô o greater 00F4 small O with circumflex
ô o asciicircum 00F4 small O with circumflex
ö diaeresis o 00F6 small O with diaeresis
ö o diaeresis 00F6 small O with diaeresis
ö o quotedbl 00F6 small O with diaeresis
ö quotedbl o 00F6 small O with diaeresis
ò grave o 00F2 small O with grave
ò o grave 00F2 small O with grave
ø o slash 00F8 small O with stroke
ø slash o 00F8 small O with stroke
õ asciiTilde o 00F5 small O with tilde
õ minus o 00F5 small O with tilde
õ o minus 00F5 small O with tilde
õ o asciiTilde 00F5 small O with tilde
p period 1E57 small P with dot above
period p 1E57 small P with dot above
ŕ apostrophe r 0155 small R with acute
ŕ r apostrophe 0155 small R with acute
ř less r 0159 small R with caron
ř r less 0159 small R with caron
ŗ comma r 0157 small R with cedilla
ŗ r comma 0157 small R with cedilla
ś apostrophe s 015B small S with acute
ś s apostrophe 015B small S with acute
š less s 0161 small S with caron
š s less 0161 small S with caron
ş cedilla s 015F small S with cedilla
ş comma s 015F small S with cedilla
ş s comma 015F small S with cedilla
ş s cedilla 015F small S with cedilla
period s 1E61 small S with dot above
s period 1E61 small S with dot above
ß s s 00DF small SHARP S
ť less t 0165 small T with caron
ť t less 0165 small T with caron
period t 1E6B small T with dot above
t period 1E6B small T with dot above
ŧ slash t 0167 small T with stroke
ŧ t minus 0167 small T with stroke
ŧ t slash 0167 small T with stroke
þ t h 00FE small THORN
ú acute u 00FA small U with acute
ú apostrophe u 00FA small U with acute
ú u apostrophe 00FA small U with acute
ú u acute 00FA small U with acute
ŭ u u 01D4 small U with caron
û asciicircum u 00FB small U with circumflex
û greater u 00FB small U with circumflex
û u asciicircum 00FB small U with circumflex
û u greater 00FB small U with circumflex
ü diaeresis u 00FC small U with diaeresis
ü quotedbl u 00FC small U with diaeresis
ü u diaeresis 00FC small U with diaeresis
ü u quotedbl 00FC small U with diaeresis
ù grave u 00F9 small U with grave
ù u grave 00F9 small U with grave
ū minus u 016B small U with macron
ū u minus 016B small U with macron
ū u underscore 016B small U with macron
ū underscore u 016B small U with macron
ų comma u 0173 small U with ogonek
ų u comma 0173 small U with ogonek
ů asterisk u 016F small U with ring above
ů u asterisk 016F small U with ring above
ũ asciiTilde u 0169 small U with tilde
ũ u asciiTilde 0169 small U with tilde
ŵ asciicircum w 0175 small W with circumflex
ŵ w asciicircum 0175 small W with circumflex
ý acute y 00FD small Y with acute
ý apostrophe y 00FD small Y with acute
ý y acute 00FD small Y with acute
ý y apostrophe 00FD small Y with acute
ŷ asciicircum y 0177 small Y with circumflex
ŷ y asciicircum 0177 small Y with circumflex
ÿ diaeresis y 00FF small Y with diaeresis
ÿ quotedbl y 00FF small Y with diaeresis
ÿ y diaeresis 00FF small Y with diaeresis
ÿ y quotedbl 00FF small Y with diaeresis
ź apostrophe z 017A small Z with acute
ź z apostrophe 017A small Z with acute
ž less z 017E small Z with caron
ž v z 017E small Z with caron
ž z less 017E small Z with caron
ż period z 017C small Z with dot above
ż z period 017C small Z with dot above

References

Here are other ways you can type text symbols on Linux with your keyboard.

Linux OS Character mapsLinux OS Character mapsType special symbols and text characters with the use of character map for Linux and Unix OS. ❡✽ ➦ ❥ ✪ GNOME's Gucharmap, KDE's KCharSelect Character Selector and Java character map.

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Article updated on 2013-07-24 12:42:12