I'm running both Ubuntu (10.04) and WinXp on the same machine, thus using the same keyboard. On Windows I have selected "United States (International)" as my keyboard setting.

In Ubuntu I have "USA International (AltGr Dead Keys)". However, they work slightly different.

When I press the " -key (or the '-key) in Windows, the resulting character depends on the next typed character. For example I can get foreign characters like é and ë.

When I press the " -key in Ubuntu, it just displays a " character, thus not allowing me to get special characters.

I prefer the Windows version, but don't know how to get this done in Ubuntu.

Here's a few screenshots to show you in case I failed to explain: Windows:


Ubuntu (same key sequence):



3 Answers 3


If you still want the dead key behaviour (typing ' and e resulting in é), you can use the English (US, international with dead keys) layout.

  • Excellent, thanks! This works great. In Xubuntu 16.04 I was even able to add the "Keyboard Layout" widget item to the panel in order to easily switch between my two keyboard layouts now: English (US), and English (US, International with dead keys), but one character still eludes me: how do I type the french c-cedilla with this international keyboard layout? Sep 16, 2016 at 1:29
  • 1
    Weird, it's right alt + comma (,), to get ç. See here: askubuntu.com/a/363598/327339 Sep 16, 2016 at 1:37
  • if you ever want to know how to type a certain character, you can always consult the keyboard layout chart (via either the text entry panel item in the menu bar or via system settings > text entry, the small keyboard icon in the bottom right of the list) The keys are shown with possible modifiers, clockwise, starting top-left: Shift, Alt Gr+Shift, Alt Gr, none. Jul 6, 2017 at 6:33

Use the English (US, Alternative international) layout.

  • This worked for me on Kubuntu 16.10. Mar 28, 2017 at 21:23

You have to combine the dead key with the right alt key. For example, to get é, type RightAlt+' then E.

I've encountered the other option in the past (possibly back in the days when I used XP) and been annoyed by it. In my view, Ubuntu's approach is superior. After all, typing ' is more common than typing é; thus, it should be easier to type.

  • 1
    thanks, tbh I didn know what was meant by dead keys. I changed it from 'altgr dead keys' to 'with dead keys' and now has the desired effect. wóót ;). Also whether or not it's superior, depends on what language you speak. I have a US laptop but I write in dutch, french, Icelandic, ... all of which ocassionally use accents and even though type ['] is more common, going to character map everytime you are typing a text is a LOT more cumbersome. Thanks so much!!!
    – joon
    Apr 18, 2011 at 15:40
  • 1
    Why would you need to go to character map with AltGr dead keys?
    – JanC
    Apr 18, 2011 at 16:20

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