Keyboard - looking for easy way to handle special characters

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SvenTexas
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Keyboard - looking for easy way to handle special characters

Post by SvenTexas » Wed May 16, 2018 8:01 am

On computers, I'm a grizzled veteran. On Linux, I'm a useless new guy. If this is a dumb question, I apologize... but I'm still hoping for an answer.

MacOS has solved the problem of typing multiple language with a single keyboard. I write screenplays, and my characters sometimes drop Swedish or German. On a Mac, I just long-press a key... say, "A". The Mac reacts to this long-press by popping up a small window, showing A-acute, A-grave, A-ring, A-umlaut, and so forth. Each special character has a number. To get the A-ring, I'd press its number. The scheme also works on dash vs EN-dash, vs EM-dash. Easy peasy and scandalously simple to understand.

That's an awful thing if you're typing Swedish all day. I don't do that. What Mac gives me is a huge chunk of special characters without too much obvious architecture to get in my way.

Has anybody ever heard of a keyboard app or virtual keyboard that does all that?

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smurphos
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Re: Keyboard - looking for easy way to handle special characters

Post by smurphos » Wed May 16, 2018 9:18 am

Mint version and desktop environment?

Linux will generally have an option to assign a 'compose' key which allows for special characters with 3 key presses. Some desktop environments may have a panel applet or similar that gives a menu of clickable special characters.

The default compose key is shift and right-alt together.

Examples of compose key usage.....

Compose key release e release ` = è
Compose key release e release " = ë
Compose key release n release ~ = ñ
Compose key release o release c = ©
Compose key release ? release ? = ¿
Compose key release ! release ? = ‽
Compose key release ^ release u = û

But to guide you where to find the setting to change the default compose key (e.g just to right-alt) and or an applet we need to know which desktop environment.

Edit to add - another way which is I think common to all Mint desktops is the Character Map application accessible from the menu - it's a bit cumbersome but allows you to select any special characters from installed fonts, copy and then paste them.

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BenTrabetere
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Re: Keyboard - looking for easy way to handle special characters

Post by BenTrabetere » Wed May 16, 2018 11:12 am

SvenTexas wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 8:01 am
Has anybody ever heard of a keyboard app or virtual keyboard that does all that?
I do not know of a keyboard app that does that, but AutoKey might a temporary solution.

AutoKey is a desktop automation utility that lets you assign abbreviations and hotkeys to scripts and phrases. It is similar to the Windows AutoHotKey keyboard macro utility. One of the ways I use it is to generate special characters, such as ñ, é, , and §. The shortcuts I use for these characters are n==, e=', @#, and $%.

https://github.com/autokey/autokey

I use a [letter] + [=] + [accent] pattern for accented characters because that combination of key presses is unlikely to come up in normal use. I use a substitute key for the accent itself - ' for acute, ` for grave, = for tilde, " for umlaut, and I would use ; for the ring accent if I needed it, so that A=; would generate an Å.

It is not what you are looking for, but it will give you something to use while you search for something better.

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jimallyn
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Re: Keyboard - looking for easy way to handle special characters

Post by jimallyn » Wed May 16, 2018 10:34 pm

I also use the Compose key method. I know it works on Cinnamon and XFCE, but I have never tried it on the other desktop environments.
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smurphos
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Re: Keyboard - looking for easy way to handle special characters

Post by smurphos » Thu May 17, 2018 3:30 am

For a list of compose key combos you can examine the contents of /usr/share/X11/locale/en_US.UTF-8/Compose

The en_US.UTF-8 version appears to be shared amongst nearly all UTF-8 languages/locales.

cat /usr/share/X11/locale/en_US.UTF-8/Compose

Some interesting ones...

Code: Select all


<Multi_key> <C> <C> <C> <P>             : "☭"   U262D # HAMMER AND SICKLE
<Multi_key> <less> <3>                  : "♥"   U2665 # BLACK HEART SUIT

<Multi_key> <colon> <parenright>        : "☺"   U263A # WHITE SMILING FACE
<Multi_key> <colon> <parenleft>         : "☹"   U2639 # WHITE FROWNING FACE

<Multi_key> <F> <U>                     : "🖕"  U1F595 # REVERSED HAND WITH MIDDLE FINGER EXTENDED
<Multi_key> <L> <L> <A> <P>             : "🖖"  U1F596 # RAISED HAND WITH PART BETWEEN MIDDLE AND RING FINGERS


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