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In windows there is possibility to type from keyboard special signs by holding alt key and typing a few numbers, that depends on with sign you want to use. Does it work with linux in the same way?

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in windows, this does only work for ascii-codes, right? how to do so for unicode-characters? – DERIIIFranz Dec 10 '15 at 12:55
up vote 40 down vote accepted

You can use Ctrl + Shift + u followed by the code in hex. (You only need to hold down Ctrl and Shift while typing the code)

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john, do you know what supplies this functionality? i haven't heard of it before. where does it work, on the console? Ubuntu's defaults in GNOME? thx. – quack quixote Oct 23 '09 at 13:37
found a similar source (minus the u, just hold down Ctrl+Shift) for "works in GNOME", and a method for VIM that uses the u but not the Shift. – quack quixote Oct 23 '09 at 13:58
Thx, works for me. In Ubuntu's terminal (under X), I'm able to type Ctrl+Shift+U, let up all 3, and then type 66 followed by Space and I end up with "f" which is the correct character for 66 in UTF-8. It didn't work from tty1 (control-alt-F1 - non-graphical terminal) though. – Stan Kurdziel Mar 22 '13 at 23:23
Any solution to KDE? – Jack May 22 '13 at 1:11
I use Compose (mapped as Right-Ctrl), which should work in all DEs since it is provided by X. Compose " A => ä, Compose g p i => "π", etc – Mark K Cowan Jun 11 '15 at 18:12

X uses something called the compose key. By pressing Compose, some key, some key… in sequence, you can input characters. I have my compose key set to Menu; to type a © (copyright symbol), I would use Menu, o, c.

A full list of X compose key combinations can be found online (200 KiB), or locally in /usr/share/X11/locale/en_US.UTF-8/Compose.

In Gnome, the compose key can be set by going to Preferences → Keyboard → Layouts tab → Layout Options → Compose key position.

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How does the "memorize unicode code points" answer have twice as many upvotes as the compose key? Insanity. – mehaase Aug 22 '13 at 19:10
Perfect. Without GNOME, the compose key can be set through setxkbmap. For example, $ setxkbmap -option 'compose:menu' will set the "menu" key (between Alt Gr and right Ctrl on my keyboard) as the compose key. – Emil Lundberg Aug 19 '14 at 9:37
@mehaase Because, on my laptop, there is no available key for me to map as Compose. So I'll take an imperfect answer over the elegant one. – Cliff Aug 11 '15 at 21:47

Inputting Unicode characters in Linux varies. The UTF-8 and Unicode FAQ has a section containing different input methods:

  • Ctrl+Shift+U [unicode in hex] is defined in ISO 14755 and implemented by GTK2+, and works in GNOME-Terminal and other applications.
  • Ctrl+V u [unicode in hex] works in VIM.
  • Alt+[unicode in decimal using numpad digits] works at the console providing your environment is properly configured to expect UTF-8 (via LOCALE or LANG environment variables). (unicode_start manpage).

Other methods you could use:

  • Cut-n-paste characters from a small input file containing the characters you want.
  • Use xmodmap to remap keys in X (see the FAQ link above for examples).
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(I removed the UTF8 tag you added to the question, as that is actually an encoding, which is not used when typing a character.) – Arjan Oct 23 '09 at 14:33
+1 for including VIM. I was curious how to do this in Intellij with VIM keybindings. – new123456 Feb 18 '12 at 3:35
I can confirm that alt-numpad works for me in ubuntu 12.04's tty1 console (control-alt-F1) with $LANG=en_US.utf8 The codes are decimal, not hex though, so instead of 66 (hex) for "f", I hold Alt, type 102, let Alt up and out pops "f". – Stan Kurdziel Mar 22 '13 at 23:34

The Linux console also supports compose keys (The compose key is often Alt + AltGr or PrintScrn) - see How to define a Compose Key in terminal on the Unix and Linux Stack Exchange for details.

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