accented characters from the keyboard

Johnny Rosenberg gurus.knugum at
Tue Dec 6 16:50:30 UTC 2011

2011/12/6 Séamas Ó Brógáin <sob at>:
> Just to expand slightly on what PleegWat and others wrote:
> The method that Udvarias Ur mentioned does exist, but with some
> conditions. There is a method of entering individual characters by
> number that is supposed to be universal (it’s a formal international
> standard), but it only partly works with Ubuntu (or I should say with
> X11).
> You hold down [control] and [shift] and then type [u]; you then type the
> Unicode reference of the character––a four-figure hexadecimal number.
> (The Unicode tables are freely downloadable from
> With X11, however, and therefore Ubuntu, you cannot have this function
> as well as the [compose] key: you must choose one or the other.
> (Strange, but true.)

No, not true. I have always been able to do that with Ubuntu, from
7.04 until my current version, 10.10. I have 11.10 installed on
another machine, and I didn't test it there, so maybe you are right
with that version.

Here are some composed things: © ǒ …– —
And here are some Unicode things: └∆ℌ (I did the first two in gedit,
since Ctrl+Shift+u doesn't work with my web browser Opera, but I did
the last one in Opera, but using Opera's method:
Unicode-hexadecimal-number Ctrl+Shift+x – done).
> In your /etc/environment file you must have a line like this:
>        GTK_IM_MODULE=gtk-im-context-simple
I don't.

> or any other input method: ibus, scim, uim, etc.
I don't even know what those are…

> For the [compose] key to work, on the other hand, you have to have
>        GTK_IM_MODULE=xim
There is nothing about GTK_IM_MODULE in my /etc/environment at all.

> And you cannot have both.
I have neither…

> To see which input method is active at the moment, in a terminal window
> type
>        echo $GTK_IM_MODULE
Empty string.

> There is a roundabout method of having both functions. (1) Install the
> extension “Compose Special Characters.” (2) Allocate a suitable function
> key––say [F9]––to the “Unicode shortcut” in this extension. (3)
> Customise your keyboard layout (as I explained in an earlier message and
> can do again if anyone is interested) so as to allocate F9 to a suitable
> key, say [AltGr]. Hey, presto! A “Unicode key.”

I didn't do any of this, still I have the Unicode thing AND the Compose thing.

> I should add that I am not an expert in these matters but discovered
> these tricks through long and often fruitless searching. If anyone can
> point out any errors, or add information, I would be very happy to hear
> from them.
I think I just did. Or maybe I'm just wrong… Well, I have the Compose
and Unicode stuff, but maybe that has something to do with that I
installed Ubuntu in Swedish? But I don't really think so.

Kind regards

Johnny Rosenberg

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