Using International Characters in a KDE Environment

There may be times when you find you need the use of international characters, that is characters with accents or tildas, such as or . This document describes how to configure KDE for the use of international characters using a standard PC keyboard, and the covers the list of common characters and the key combinations required to generate them. The links within this document are to screen shots of the configuration utility with the options highlighted.

International characters are generated by issuing a three key sequence. The first key is the compose key, which you will specify. The second and third keys are the keys which actually generate the result.

The first step is to enable support for the international keyboard within the KDE Control Center. From within KDE, click on the K icon at the bottom of the screen and select Control Center. The KDE Control Center will come up. Select the option Regional & Accessibility.

Once the regional menu is up, select the option Keyboard Layout. You'll need to set the Keyboard Options as follows:

Once you have set the options for the layout, select the tab Options at the top of the screen. The options page is used to specify your compose key. Personally, I use the right windows key as my compose key.

Common Character Combinations

On my keyboard, the right "windows" key is the compose key. To produce a character, hold down the compose with the key in the compose column below then type the key in the combo column below to get the result.

Time is of the essence between pressing the compose key and the first key of the combination.

When shift is required with compose, hold it down before holding down compose.

This list is not exhaustive of key combinations that produce 8859-1 characters. I've only listed the ones that seemed most natural to me.

compose combo resultsdescription
< < chevron or guillemet
> > chevron or guillemet
? ? inverted question mark
! ! inverted exclamation point
- ^ overbar or macron
0 ^ degree
- - soft hyphen
^ 1
^ 2
^ 3
x x multiplication
- : division
. . middle dot
- + plus or minus
- , negation
0 s section
P ! paragraph or pilcrow
a _ feminine ordinal
o _ masculine ordinal
` aAeEiIoOuU grave accents
' aeiouyAEIOU acute accents
^ aAeEiIoOuU circumflex
" aeiouyAEIOU umlaut or diaeresis
, ,cC cedilla
~ nNaAoO tilde
s s sharp s
t h small thorn
T H capital thorn
- dD eth
/ oO O with stroke
/ u micro or mu
a a a with ring
A A capital A with ring
a e ligature ae
A E capital ligature AE
" " diaeresis (8859-1), s with caron (8859-15)
| | broken bar (8859-1) capital S with caron (8859-15)
^ !
' ' acute accent (8859-1), capital Z with caron (8859-15)
, , cedilla (8859-1), z with caron (8859-15)
1 2 fraction 1/2 (8859-1) ligature oe (8859-15)
1 4 fraction 1/4 (8859-1) ligature OE (8859-15)
3 4 fraction 3/4 (8859-1) capital Y with diaeresis (8859-15)
L = pounds
Y = yen
c / cents
0 x currency (8859-1) Euro (8859-15)
( c or 0 c, copyright
( r registered

08/12/2003, Ken Sallot