Input umlaut characters in Ubuntu (well, Gnome really)

One of my gripes when I switched to Ubuntu Linux was not being unable to input umlaut characters as I was used to doing in Windows. Being German-speaking and corresponding frequently in German, I resigned myself to using combinations of ‘a/o/u’ with ‘e’ (e.g. “Gefuehle”), which is also acceptable but not satisfactory to that little bit of built-in German perfectionism :-) No more! It’s simple in U!

In Windows, I was used to making use of Unicode sequences consisting of Alt+unicode number, using sequences I had memorized, e.g. Alt+0252 would produce a ‘ü’.

Now, finally, I discovered the Compose Key! It’s really a matter of specifiying a key to use as a compose key in Keyboard Preferences. Once set, you use the key to input latin characters like this: Press and release the Compose Key (I chose Right Alt), then the letter and modifier, e.g. Alt, a, , and voila: out pops ‘ä’. (I seem to remember using similar functionality in Windows long ago, but the details escape me). It sure beats ‘ae’ (and memorizing those Unicode number sequences).

To think it was there all along…

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