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First, my disclaimer: I've used windows my whole life, and I'm trying Ubuntu for the first time (third day today), so I'm totally a newbie.

Now, my problem: I write in Spanish a lot, so I use dead keys to accentuate characters, like this: áéíóú

In windows, I could use the US - International keyboard layout to achieve it, and it was nice for writing in English too for the contractions like don't, I'm, etc

The difference is that in Ubuntu, I have to press the spacebar for it to work, so to write I'm I have to type I, press ', press the spacebar, and then type m
In Windows, the spacebar was not necessary, but if I don't press it in Ubuntu I get Iḿ

Is there another layout that achieves this Windows-like behaviour?
I'm using English (US, international with dead keys)

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

I personally use the English (International AltGr dead keys) layout on an english keyboard. I type mostly stuff in english but also need accents and special characters for spanish, and occasionally some french. I've found this layout the best, really versatile for most accented character needs and saves me from constantly switching layouts which I consider very distracting :

  • All keys work as marked on the keyboard
  • When you need a special character, press AltGr (right Alt key) in combination with a letter or symbol. For instance, AltGr+vowel = accented vowel (áéíóú). AltGr+n = ñ.
  • You can "compose" by pressing, for instance, AltGr+6 and a vowel (circumflex, like ê), or AltGr+` and a vowel (grave accent, è), or AltGr+" and a vowel for diaeresis (ü).
  • AltGr+! = ¡ and AltGr+? = ¿
  • Many more useful mappings, here's a full keyboard map: us international altgr dead keys
  • You can get this keyboard map on your computer, go to Keyboard Layouts, select a layout, and click on the little keyboard icon (last icon on the right, below the layouts list). This will help you get acquainted with the layout.

Getting used to pressing two keys for accented letters is a bit strange, but it's doable (took me about a week to get up to speed).

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So thereś no way to use the contractions with ' and the character directly? (EDIT: See the "there's" there? I'm leaving it as is to illustrate the problem :) ) –  jmfsg Mar 7 '12 at 14:47
    
You'd probably have to go hacking the keyboard layout file. One question though, what happens if you need to actually type a ' character? do you have to type it twice? Unless you use a native layout, you'll always have some sort of quirk :) –  roadmr Mar 7 '12 at 14:49
    
If I want to just type a ' I type it and then press space, but that's natural (I want a space after it, which represents "nothing") :) -- I'll have to get used to it then –  jmfsg Mar 7 '12 at 14:59
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