I type a lot in other languages, but sometimes it's just a word or two and it's a hassle to go through and change the whole keyboard settings and back again... is there a way to long-press a key and have international characters pop up?

2 Answers 2


I do not know if something like what you search for is implemented (maybe you can explore something about "input methods"), but the traditional "Unix/x11" way is to define and use a "compose key".

The idea is you have a special key that starts a sequence that will produce a specific symbol you normally don't have on your keyboard.

These instructions refers to Gnome Desktop, but I suppose it is the same in all the desktop flavors. To activate a compose key, go to settings -> Region and Language and then choose the "layout" tab. Click on "options" and choose where you want your compose key to be:

Activating Compose on the Menu key

Now you can enter strange chars like that: for example, press "compose", then "a", then for example "~" and you have ã (the font you use can have the glyph or not...).

A full list of the characters you can obtain via compose can be found, for example, here:


and here:



Setup the language support you need through typing Language Support in dash. Then Select Keyboard Layout ensure that your language is selected. At least for Asian Languages the toggle is hitting CTRL-Space same as in other systems. 再见 马克

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