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I would like to use a US keyboard layout. However, from time to time I need to type German umlauts and sharp S.

All the US international keyboard layouts have left me unsatisfied. I am always either missing sharp S or a way to type the umlauts.

Does anyone have a configuration where they are able to use both sharp S and all umlauts with a US international keyboard layout? If so, would you share how you achieved this?

  • You could either reassign keys or switch between keyboard inputs. You can switch between any secondary layout with the shortcut Ctrl+Space. – Tim Aug 28 '14 at 21:57
  • @Tim Thanks, I have thought about this approach but my understanding was that international layouts were created exactly to avoid both switching and having to extend some layout manually. Ideally, I would like an out-of-the-box layout which I can then also use on other machines. – Chris Aug 28 '14 at 21:59
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I use a regular US keyboard layout, but for all extended characters I mapped the print screen key or the right Windows/Super key to be the compose key. So now when I need a ç I type PrtSc followed by the c and , keys. Similarly for characters like ß (PrtScss) or © (PrtScOc).

See the Wikipedia entry on the compose key for more information. To set the Compose key (in Gnome), you can try Settings → keyboard → Shortcuts tab → compose key option, but that doesn't list the PrtSc key I want, so I did the following:

  1. Install dconf-editor: sudo apt-get install dconf-tools
  2. Open dconf-editor and go to org → gnome → desktop → input-sources and change xkb-options to ['compose:prsc']
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Use the English (US, international AltGr Unicode combining) option. This enables the AltGr (right alt key) to act as an option to access more characters.

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