Never mind the Panic button – there’s a key to Compose yourself

Friday FOSS Fest In these globally-connected-from-the-spare-bedroom times, sometimes we all need to deal with folks from far-off lands, whose names or addresses contain exotic symbols that Anglophones rarely encounter: from François to František or maybe even ffoulkes.

There are lots of ways to do this, such as going to copypastecharacter.com, hunting down the one you need, and, well, copying it – but the least-known one is the easiest: a Compose key.

The idea is simple: compose symbols that aren’t on your keyboard by entering a sequence of ones that are. Need a Yen symbol? Just press Compose, then y, then an equals sign, and presto, ¥. A cedilla looks like a comma underneath a letter, so that’s what you type: Compose + c + comma gets you ç. For a capitalised version, just type capital C + , and Ç appears. Ça va bien. You already have a tilde key – it’s the Spanish squiggle: ~. Compose + ~ + n gives ñ, as in España. Use Compose + a + ~ and you can spell São Paulo correctly.

The thing that makes a Compose key so convenient is that for most of the combinations, you don’t need to look them up; you can just guess. For example, the closest thing to an umlaut is a double-quote, so Compose + u + " gives ü. For most characters, the order doesn’t matter, so Compose + " + u means the same. Suddenly München lies within easy reach.

It’s handy and it’s free. Just download WinCompose, or if you’re clinging on to something ancient, try AllChars instead.

Smug Linux types have it built in, on pretty much every Linux desktop. All you have to do is enable it, for instance with GNOME Tweaks, KDE System Settings or Xfce’s Settings editor.

Mac fans can try Mac Ompose or osx-compose-key, but your correspondant must confess that he’s never got it working himself.

The real question is why this phenomenally useful function wasn’t included on the PC in the first place. It could very easily have been, and should have been, because it was part of the design that inspired pretty much all keyboards since 1984.

Those even more geriatric than the author may remember that, back in the mists of ancient times – 1981, when IBM launched the PC – it had a very different keyboard layout from today.

The IBM Model F released for the IBM PC 5150 featuring the XT protocol.

The IBM Model F released for the IBM PC 5150 featuring the XT protocol. Pic: RaymanGold22, CC 1.0

The one we all know today, the Enhanced layout, came from IBM’s second-generation PC, the PC/AT in 1984.

An early IBM Model M manufactured in 1986 with the 'square badge' logo.

An early IBM Model M manufactured in 1986 with the “square badge” logo. Pic: RaymanGold22, CC 1.0

What you might not be aware of is that the Enhanced layout wasn’t originally an IBM one, and started out with another company altogether. It was inspired by DEC’s LK201 keyboard for the VT220 terminal.

DEC's LK201 keyboard

DEC’s LK201 keyboard.

It has lots of familiar features: the function keys in groups along the top, the inverted-T cursor keys with editing keys above them, and so on. But it has one thing that IBM unfortunately didn’t reproduce: to the left of the keyboard, a key labelled Compose Character.

Sun adopted it too…

If only IBM had taken that too, the world might never have needed the dozens of national layouts we have now… although to be fair we’d probably still have to contend with AZERTY and QWERTZ. ®

Note: This article have been indexed to our site. We do not claim legitimacy, ownership or copyright of any of the content above. To see the article at original source Click Here

Related Posts
Fortinet's latest firewall is like your kids' music – you're probably not ready for it, yet thumbnail

Fortinet’s latest firewall is like your kids’ music – you’re probably not ready for it, yet

Firewalls play a significant role in securing today's datacenters, but the technology must evolve if it's to remain relevant, Fortinet VP of product Nirav Shah told The Register. Enterprise datacenters are changing. Workloads don't just run on-prem – increasingly they're being deployed across multiple datacenters and clouds, he said. In line with these trends, the…
Read More
Xiaomi changes its logo! thumbnail

Xiaomi changes its logo!

Geçen yıl, 11. doğum gününün arifesinde Xiaomi, logosunu ve kurumsal kimliğini güncellemeye karar verdi. Yeniden tasarımın amacı, dünyaya şirketin gelişiminde yeni bir dönemin başladığını gösterme arzusu. Güncellenmiş bir logo oluşturmak için şirket, Xiaomi'nin iç ruhunu yeni logoda anlamak ve aktarmak için dört yıl boyunca birinci sınıf Japon tasarımcı Kenya Hara'nın yardımını istedi. Neticede kare logonun…
Read More
Credit unions in Africa tap fintech for growth thumbnail

Credit unions in Africa tap fintech for growth

For decades, credit unions have extended small instalment loans and lines of credit to millions of African households. The sector is now adopting digital solutions to power its next level of growth and boost financial inclusion on the continent. This article was contributed to TechCabal by Seth Onyango/bird From table banking to credit unions, the…
Read More
Check out this week’s featured deals from The Source thumbnail

Check out this week’s featured deals from The Source

The Source ‘featured deals’ discounts dozens of popular items, including laptops, headphones, cameras, monitors, and consoles from popular brands like Acer, Samsung, Canon, Fitbit, Skullcandy, Nintendo and more. You can check out the full list of deals here. Check out our picks from this week’s featured deals below: GoPro HERO10 Black Action Camera: $549.99 (regularly $649.99)…
Read More
Index Of News
Consider making some contribution to keep us going. We are donation based team who works to bring the best content to the readers. Every donation matters.
Donate Now

Subscription Form

Liking our Index Of News so far? Would you like to subscribe to receive news updates daily?

Total
0
Share