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For GNOME users: Have you set up a compose key?

(If not, you should; it's fantastic. My use case is in a reply.)

I set my caps lock key (which I rarely use) to be the compose key, then (using GNOME Tweaks) set pressing both shift keys to trigger caps lock.

The compose key lets you type special characters by combining normal characters. For example, [compose]+[three hyphens] creates an em dash (—). [compose]+o+c creates a copyright symbol (©). As a writer, I care deeply about getting the right character rather an approximation such as -- or (c).

You can set the compose key to any key you're not using.

@benjaminhollon
I've never heard of compose keys before, but the only other language I know is German and I don't think compose keys will help me too much there

@morxemplum I just posted my use case; maybe read it and see. The main use is for typing special characters—like em dashes.

@benjaminhollon @morxemplum
I change the em dash sequence to just - -, because I rarely ever need an en dash.

@mattdm @morxemplum True, that works! I Do use en dash, for citing quotations, but I could probably switch that to something else; say -.

@mattdm @benjaminhollon I have to switch to a German keyboard to get those characters usually, but I don't see how those characters could be reproducible other than maybe a few periods.

@morxemplum @mattdm äöü I was able to type with <compose> + <letter> + "

Not sure about the beta symbol.

But the combinations are customizable as someone else pointed out to me; I just haven't tested that yet.

@benjaminhollon Oh good. The caps lock key sucks ass so glad there could be a good use case for it.

@benjaminhollon you can also set custom key composition with ~/.XCompose file

@benjaminhollon I prefer using text expansion/replacement for things like that. Mostly because I suck at remembering long key combinations! Comes in handy for support tickets and documentation.

espanso.org

@benjaminhollon I myself use the caps-lock key as another ctrl key. I use ctrl on a daily basis, tens of times dueing one hour. I think if I didn't do it a few years ago, my risk of SRI would be much higher.

@Kavelach Interesting; that works!

Perhaps, then, you could repurpose your control key for the compose function.

@benjaminhollon I could, but the keyboard layout I use (Polish) has things like ® under AltGr + R and other stuff

@benjaminhollon Woah, that's so much better than my searching for "em" in the overview and copying it from there, thanks for sharing! Now let's hope that I remember next time I'm writing an em dash.

@nixer Just posted a reply to the original message explaining. It's an easy—and convenient—way of typing special characters like em dashes.

@benjaminhollon Not only do I have it set up, I insist on using this even on my Windows machines! github.com/samhocevar/wincompo

@mttaggart Oh, that's fantastic!

If I ever have to use Windows again on a machine I own I'll check this out.

@benjaminhollon
Why limit the poll to GNOME users? GNOME, KDE, Cinnamon, Xfce, and Mate all have GUI-based configuration for the compose key. And yes, it's fantastic. :-)

@Parienve I didn't know that; it's been ages since I used anything but GNOME. :)

@benjaminhollon I use the right ctrl key as the compose key. As a programmer, I prefer a British English keyboard layout, but I also need the Scandinavian characters, so I often use compose-a-a to write an å.

@benjaminhollon Yes although rarely use it. It just feels super handy when I want to write "resumé" or "välkommen"

@waimus I use it largely for em dashes—which I now use frequently. Gives a bit of a sophisticated feel to my writing.

@benjaminhollon I use sun type 7 keyboards (we used to use sun rays at work), they come with a bunch of different layouts.
Not sure they are produced anymore today, but you might be able to find a dealer who still got some. They also got physical copy/cut/paste keys and a bunch more.

deskthority.net/wiki/Sun_Type_

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