I know there's this question How can I type special characters like ë?, but I'd like to know if there is any possibility to configure the keyboard to use windowish style to insert special characters (Alt+Code in numpad). I know it can be done with Ctr+Shift+U+Code but...

  1. I have to enable ibus and don't know how to leave it enabled by default
  2. Hex codes are longer than decimal ones Ctrl+Shift+U+Hex codes combos are longer than the Alt+Decimal code ones
  3. As an ex-Windows(TM) user, I'm so used to it....

Two examples of characters I use a lot, comparing win style and gnome-style

Tilde (~) character
Windows -> Alt+1-2-6
gnome -> Ctrl+Shift+U+7-e

Superscript 2 - square (²) character
Windows -> Alt+2-5-3
gnome -> Ctrl+Shift+u+b-e

If you try those 'key combos', the windows style is easier to type (not being subjective: less fingers used simultaneously, less keys pressed).

As I don't want to put it in some subjective way, my question would be it I can configure the keyboard to use Alt+Numpad style, or if I need to stick to the Ctrl+Shift+U combo (or the compose key alternative)

  • 1
    For Ctrl+Shift+u + HEX to work, you need to disable IBus.With IBus enabled this feature does not work.
    – user4124
    Jan 26, 2011 at 11:20
  • "Hex codes are longer than decimal ones" <- assuming you mean characterwise, that's not true. The higher your base, the shorter a big number will be able to be represented. Jan 26, 2011 at 11:23
  • I thought it was right the opposite... in fact, i have had to sart ibus-daemon a few minutes ago to test the Ctrl*Shift+U thing.... It wasn't working before I started it.
    – luri
    Jan 26, 2011 at 11:27
  • @Ward: you're right... i'll rewrite that in the question
    – luri
    Jan 26, 2011 at 11:28

2 Answers 2


You can use compose sequences which are more usable than the Alt+num method in Windows. For more see https://help.ubuntu.com/community/GtkComposeTable

For example, Compose + t + m = ™

  • 2
    Already seen that... So guess your answer is "No, you can't use Alt+Numpad"... on a side note... is there a default compose key or must I select one in the keyboard settings?
    – luri
    Jan 26, 2011 at 11:25
  • When you enable the compose key, you select which one to use. There is no default. Most common choice is RightWin.
    – user4124
    Jan 26, 2011 at 11:48
  • To implement Alt+Numpad would require a lot of work as it might interfere with Alt+number shortcuts.
    – user4124
    Jan 26, 2011 at 11:49
  • The compose key seems to be the only way to go here... Even though you have to learn the key combos. I'll miss the Alt+NumPad. So, if there's no other brilliant answer, I'll mark yours as the accepted one.
    – luri
    Jan 26, 2011 at 13:07
  • 1
    How is more usable than Windows Alt+num?, you have to press more keys , configure a compose key and rememeber a lot more codes !
    – Tiberiu C.
    Jun 4, 2015 at 10:49

Ctrl + Shift + U works fine (under XUbuntu 15.10 and most likely under many other X11-based versions). In contrast to the compose-key method it allows the input of any UTF-8 character. E.g., Ctrl + Shift + U 263a +Space yields .

Of course, I use the compose-key method whenever applicable.

  • CTRL+SHIFT+U then 00A0 worked for non-breaking space. Thanks :-)
    – leaf
    Aug 12, 2017 at 9:45
  • I think it should be the accepted answer
    – Mosijava
    Aug 27, 2021 at 2:34

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