Special characters

insert-special-characterDo you struggle with your US keyboard in a vain attempt to type something in those “exotic tongues” such as:

  • German
  • French
  • Norwegian
  • Swedish
  • Polish

Do you find your ability to enter ß, ö, ä, ü, ø, etc. hampered?  Well, I have stumbled on a few options that might help you out.  Granted these work better with *nix based operating systems (Linux, Unix, Mac OS) than Windows but within these options you should be able to find, at least, one helpful approach/ tool.

If you are seeking a “Desktop-wide’ solution, you can easily map a “compose” key to accomplish this function across your laptop/desktop (not all keyboards actually have one).  I ‘personally’ mapped Caps Lock to be my newly defined “compose” key and then from anywhere on my Linux PC I simply use it (no add-on or plugin required).  Additional benefits include the fact that my annoying Caps Lock now no longer sends everything into ‘Caps-land’ when I accidentaly hit it!

Here are some examples of what you need to type to achieve ‘those exotic’ characters:

  • For ë you press Compose+”, e.
  • For ẽ you press Compose+~, e.
  • For ô you press Compose+^, o.
  • For á you press Compose+’, a.
  • For à you press Compose+`, a.
  • For € you press Compose+=, e.
  • For ß you press Compose+ss.
  • For £ you press Compose+-, l.
For a complete list of Compose ‘options’  follow this link!

If you want to accomplish this feat of magic on your platform here are some detailed instructions/ guides:

If you would rather limit your options to a browser (not the entire Desktop), the following will work for two of the major browsers (there may be others out there for IE and Safari, as well). There add-ons/ plugins available called:

  • “Tajpu” on Firefox/ Mozilla
  • “Special Characters” on Chrome