Special Characters made easier in Ubuntu

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If you are using Ubuntu Dapper Drake, you could press CTRL+SHIFT and then the unicode for special characters so you didn't have to copy and paste them from the Character palette every time you wanted to use them.


If you are using Edgy this will not work any more here is simple tip how to use Special Characters.You need to use compose key

If you want to enable compose key go to System ---> Preferences ---> Keyboard

Once it opens you should see the following screen

Now you need to select Layout Options tab from the above screen

Now you need to expand on Compose key position

Choose Right-Win key is compose, click Close.

To use it, hold the Compose key down and then type in the characters you want to mash together.For Example check the following ones
RightWin + C + = produces €
RightWin + = + C produces €
RightWin + C + O produces ©
RightWin + O + C produces ©
RightWin + a + ‘ produces á


Another option is you can proceed the following procedure

If you can't make fractions like ½ with the above solution you can fix that using the following procedure

you need to edit the /etc/environment file using the following command

sudo vi /etc/environment

add the following line

export GTK_IM_MODULE=xim

Save the file and exit

Now you need to copy this file to your home directory

cp /usr/share/X11/locale/en_US.UTF-8/Compose ~/.XCompose

This will give you a more complete character set.For example that your keyboard doesn't have a tilde (~). You can change the lines that require entering a tilde so that a simple "t" (or whatever you like) will work. Just don't use a key combination that's already in use.

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3 Responses

  1. John Geewax says:

    Great stuff — saved me lots of trips to the Character Map accessory 🙂

  2. John Pye says:

    Thanks for this page. I found that using these suggestions plus looking over at


    I was able to type a degree symbol using the key sequence

    right-ALT ^ 0 space

    Maybe someone else will find that useful.

  3. sph says:

    Alt Gr + e + = produces €
    Alt Gr + = + e produces €

    Alt Gr is the compose key on my dapper drake ubuntu version 6.06 LTS

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