I have a problem with Autokey: I can't copy-paste through it a special Unicode character. Here is an example:

I am French, and in French writing, you use a space before a semi-colon. But in formal typography, you don't use a regular space before a semi-colon but a ‘narrow no-break space’ which is the Unicode character U+202F.

So when I am writing formal things in French, instead of always wasting time typing CTRL+Shift+U+202F+ENTER+;+space', I would like to use an Autokey new phrase. Using the abbreviation Space+;; (which means, verbally, typing space, then semi-colon twice). Which means when I type (anywhere) space+;;, autokey transforms it into  ; (which is a narrow no-break space followed by a semi-colon).

BUT the problem here is this: when I create a new phrase in Autokey with  ;, then when I use the abbreviation, Autokey replaces it only with ;, erasing the narrow no-break space. And it appears it does this with any other too-special Unicode character...

Does anyone have an idea of how to get round this issue?

Thanks a million!

  • I'd like an answer to this, too... – Boiethios May 13 '16 at 7:56

Two options: (See my blog for more details and screenshots for option 1)

First option (much simpler)

Upgrade to the python 3 port of autokey (because python 3 deals with unicode characters better than python 2)

For me, the installation worked as follows:

# Edit (April 2018). Autokey now uses python 3 by default. So try
pip3 install autokey

# Install the original autokey
sudo apt-get install autokey-gtk
# Update autokey to python 3 using pip3  
pip3 install --user autokey-py3

Then make sure you run the python3 version, which is probably at


With this method, you can enter your unicode characters as phrases

Second option (if you can't get autokey-py3 to work)

Use a python script (File -> New -> Script) together with the system's clipboard

Paste the following into the script

import sys                                                                                                                                                              
from subprocess import Popen, PIPE                                                                                                                                        

def paste_character(symbol):                                                                                                                                                   
    c = Popen(['xclip', '-selection', 'clipboard'], stdin=PIPE)                                                                                                           


This works by changing the default python settings to work with unicode correctly. It then sends the chosen character to the clipboard (ensure you have xclip installed). Here I've used γ as an example). Then it sends control+v to paste the character.

Extras for second option

The second method can be improved by taking all but the last line of the script and putting it in a file (lets call it MyCopy.py). Then, in Autokey's preferences (Script Engine), tell Autokey where this file is. Then the script becomes

from MyCopy import paste_character

Some applications don't use control+v for paste (eg terminal uses control+shift+v). But the character will still be on the clipboard.

| improve this answer | |
  • Any chance you could visit us over at the AutoKey list groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/autokey-users ? I am trying to get a very simple script to work in the modules directory and can't quite get it. BTW, I have posted a link to this question there as we often get questions related to Unicode issues. – Joe Sep 12 '16 at 3:35

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