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Maybe this varies with different keyboard layouts, but I have certain keys that can be combined with others to create those special characters. For example, I press '`' followed by 'e' and I get 'è'. The same with '^' and 'u' -> 'û' and so on.
I have same problem and need; accented characters and inverted signs (¿¡) are no problem to me, because I have a Spanish keyboard layout, but ess-tset / beta and typographic signs are indispensable in my job (DTP / page layout), and there's no fast or easy way to put them in my texts, not in alt+code Windoze style, nor in Mac's opt+(shift)+key. Any suggestion? Any tip? An applet I have NOT to make?
I guess you need to try out different combinations on your keyboard. I don't know where to find a list of all those special characters on a certain keyboard layout, but most of them are available. beta for example is available on AltGr+b on my keyboard. I still havn't found the sign for degree, though.
just a guess but you can add different countries keyboards to your system using contral centre. I assume that once you do this there will be short cut to switch to different keyvboards and get the letters that you need.
abisko00, dth1: first is a partial solution to my problem, and changing keyboard layouts every five keystrokes is a pain in the *ss, be in Windoze or in Crapintosh, and my choice for Linux won't lead me back to that. Plus, that won't give all the typographic-like chars I need.
Now the good, the bad and the ugly news.
Thanks to this and other forums, I've found that...
1. Yes, pure-X and GTK apps accept ctrl+shift+Unicode (quite an advance into Windoze's style, no? But with two more keystrokes).
2. On-screen keyboard GOK works like Crapintosh's Keys or KeyCaps to show special chars hidden in the mod+key bindings. Most of these bindings work also within Wine.
1. First method (c+s+u) is plain dead in native-KDE apps (my environment), OpenOffice and my DTP packs under Wine.
2. Bindings lack of some characters essential to me.
3. Sometimes copypaste won't bring your special characters but their codes, ie, \U2018\U2019 instead of ‘’. This happened to me when pasting within Wine.
4. GOK may scrable or freeze your real keyboard.
1. I must find a per-app solution. Fortunately, OOo allows custom shortcuts within it, and hopefully, DTP apps also do.
2. If a given app doesn't allow custum shortcuts, c+s+u or mod+key... copypaste is the only solution, and with some apps there's no solution at all (see "Bads" Nº 3).
3. Must learn new shortcuts, not forgettting those of WIndoze and Crapintosh (I must work on all three platforms), nor confuse them.
3. GOK is really ugly, messy and slow.
4. May it be possible to define custum global shortcuts with KDE? Mybe in a further version? A contributor who offers an app to standarize the input method?
In KDE you can add a language setting to your keyboard. Then there appears a small flag in your system tray of the kicker; clicking on this flag will change the keyboard's layout to USEnglish, Spanish, or whatever you have chosen.
Wow! It's 13 months since I came here looking for answers and contributing a little to respond myself and fellow forum users.
And what I see is, again, that multiple-keyboard-layout thing of before, not considering that even two Romance languajes' keyboards, like Italian and Spanish, show their common special characters in different places, ie, the ' used in 'á', and even two Spanish keyboad renditions have different places for 'ç' and tildes... So if I load another keyboard layout (that's one of the points I want to evade), I need a way to know where every special key is supposed to be, on the real keyboard I type on.
Along this year, I've become used to the AltGr(+Shift)+key thing (which also works in most Wine, pure X and GTK apps). I find it more versatile and complete for my needs than Crapinshosh's Command(+Option)(+Shift)+key, and way faster that Windoze's Alt+KP-ascii-code or Linux' Control+Shift+unicode (which fails in Wine, OpenOffice and KDE-bond apps); not to tell the proposed keyboard-profile switching, which anyway implies to have a visual map of the real keyboard.
The real painstaking special-char Linux shortcuts for me are opening and closing typographer single quotes (‘‹›’), but OOo and my page layout Wine app have a common auto-replacement feature for the most I use, ‘’ (and I can change it to ‹› if needed). And as in Spanish writing is a matter of style to avoid coming as deep as «cited text “cited text ‘cited text ‹cited text› continued citation’ continued citation“ continued citation», so ‹› aren't a common problem.
It's not so complex to find and learn the AltGr shortcuts, as long as they intend to be "logic", say, ß ("ess-tset") is AltGr+s and § ("section") is AltGr+Shift+s; æ and Æ are under 'a', etc.
I haven't tried other on-screen keyboards than GOK for key mapping, and this app still sucks... your system resources and physical keyboard (let me know of a light KeyCaps-like utility for Linux), but if you have doubt of where an special character resides, be by the AltGr method or switching layouts, I guess almost every distro has GOK and even installs it by default, so give it a run and use a thin permanent marker to write the ones you use the most on the keys' faces.
...I cried 13 months ago for a common or standard special-character input method in Linux, and now I think AltGr(+Shift)+key is "the one", so let your distro vendor know that it's a real need to document it.
This is true except for the real-terminal mode (there are some exceptions, though), where not even Control+Shift+unicode works, and in such case you're really screwed up... to keyboard profile switching, or to X-managed consoles.