Re: Need howto info for typing accented chars on US keyboard in Linux

From: Philippe Verdy <>
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2013 01:51:20 +0100

2013/1/13 Alex Plantema <>

> When you only need some French diacrits like accents, diaereses, cedillas,
> the easiest way is probably the dead key method:
> with the US International keyboard driver installed:

There's at least two major working variants of the same US-International
layout :
- one (prefered by linguists or people that frequently need to type two
distinct languages) does not use an AltGr key (the second Alt key, used
only in US is kept) and maps some dead keys on ASCII punctuations, so that
to get the ASCII punctuation you must follow it by pressing the space bar
- another one (prefered by programmers) is mapping the right Alt key as an
AltGr key, and ASCII punctuations can be typed directly (you press AltGr
with the punctuation to get the dead key).
Some subtle differences will still occur between a Mac or PC keyboard, or
for the placement of less essential characters on keys far from the center
of the keyboard, or with modifier keys.

But even with standard PCs shipped with "standard" keyboards, you'll see
differences on where function keys are mapped (if they are available...),
such as Fn, PrintScreen, ScrollLock, the number of Alt keys or Windows
keys, the Application/Menu key, and some punctuations, or the form of the
Enter key (with another physical key moving between the 2nd row above the
Enter key on most frequent US keyboards, or at end of the 3rd row, with a
vertical Enter key)... The layout of the numeric keypad changes frequently,
but there are huge variations on the placement of arrow/page function keys
or Home/End/Insert/Delete/Backspace keys.

The sizing and alignments of keys between rows also change frequently,
notably on the side for function keys or on the last row. The most dramatic
changes occur with the size and placement of the spacebar (Japanese
keyboards have a ridiculously small space bar in general, notably when
Windows-specific keys are added now to them, making them very inconventient
to type alphabetic scripts where spaces are so frequent and noramlly typed
with your thumbs, but on a Japanese keyboard you can type rapidly the space
bar only with your left thumb...)

Some more recent keyboards add a lot of extra multimedia keys and take
precious space by making modifier keys or arrow keys really too small,
narrower than standard alphabetic keys (this is frequent now on notebooks,
with all international layouts). Most multimedia function keys are
generally not needed (a single Fn key can be used as an extra modifier to
access all of them, mapped on numbered function keys F1..F12 of the top
layer, or could be placed elsewhere, on the side of the PC). Too many keys
on a keyboard generally does not help, but the 102 keys should always be
present (for example are 106 keys really needed in Japan ? If yes they
should not be sacrificied just to place a set of "junk" multimedia keys).
Received on Sun Jan 13 2013 - 18:58:35 CST

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