Re: How to type sporadic Unicode (was: User interface for keyboard input)

From: Martin Kochanski (
Date: Sun Jul 21 2002 - 05:09:19 EDT

At 16:29 20/07/02 -0700, Doug Ewell wrote:
>There's no reason an application can't simultaneously support
>Microsoft's Alt+X method *and* all three methods specified by ISO 14755
>(including Otto's on-screen "picking device") *and* user-installable
>keyboards *and* any proprietary scheme the vendor might dream up.

Microsoft's Alt+X method: unfortunately, there is no such thing. I have seen at least two different Alt+X methods in Microsoft software: one toggles between hex and Unicode, one doesn't (it has Alt+Shift+X as an inverse); one works in space, processing the characters to the left of the insertion point, the other works in time and processes the characters that were typed immediately before Alt+X was typed. Does anyone have any idea which "THE" Microsoft Alt+X method will end up being?

Methods specified by ISO 14755: unfortunately, there are no such things. As you and others have said, the ISO 14755 specification merely specifies properties that conforming methods should have, it does not specify the methods themselves [you can imagine a predecessor standard specifying that characters should be typed by hitting keys but not specifying the keyboard layout itself].

Is there any sign of an emerging consensus as to what the beginning and ending sequences might be? Addison Phillips mentioned \uXXXXX, but that was in a programming context and he says himself it wouldn't be suitable for running text. It would be nice if an innocent user faced with a new software package did not have to look up manuals or experiment to see what the beginning sequence was.

Of course if there's no consensus I'll think of something and hope it catches on, but it would be silly to do that if lots of other people have already thought of a different implementation.

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