How to enable those function (alt + number) on my elementary OS? I can't insert tilde and "ñ" letter because I don't have those buttons and also can't use the alt + number. Someone have an idea? Thanks

  • This is great! thanks for the tip. Is there any way to make the KB behave exactly like it does in OSX? This works of course, but really slows down my typing in German. Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 20:41
  • useful table web.archive.org/web/20140215122421/http://www.hermit.org/Linux/…
    – daGo
    Commented May 3, 2017 at 7:44
  • Is there any way to have those letters just pressing compose instead of compose and '? In my language those letters are used really often. Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 2:16

3 Answers 3


In elementary OS 0.4 (Loki), the way to set the compose key is:

  1. Open Systems Settings
  2. Select Keyboard
  3. Select Layout
  4. Select which key you want to use as your Compose key

Often this is easier with the compose key. With the compose key configured you use key combos to produce special characters. For example:

  • For ë: Compose + " + e
  • For ẽ: Compose + ~ + e
  • For ô: Compose + ^ + o
  • For á: Compose + ' + a

Note that you do not have to hold down the compose key; just press each key in order.

To set the compose key

  1. Open "System Settings"
  2. Select "Keyboard"
  3. Select "Options".
  4. In the left pane, select "Compose Key Position"
  5. In the right pane, choose a key to act as Compose

Original answer from AskUbuntu

  • Do you Windows key
    – Suici Doga
    Commented Apr 16, 2016 at 2:24

The feature that you mention is typical of Windows systems to write ASCII characters. The *nix OS's, like elementaryOS, don't use ASCII code. But you can use UNICODE, which it's more extensive than ASCII.

To type an unicode character you must use Ctrl+Shift followed by the code you can find at:

List of Unicode characters

To write them:

  1. Make sure you don't have Caps Lock on.
  2. Hold Ctrl and Shift keys meanwhile type U. Now you can see an underline U.
  3. Release the keys Ctrl and Shift, and type the Unicode number.
  4. Finally, hit Enter.

For example, to write the "Ñ" character, you must use the combination:

ctrl + shift + u + 00D1 + enter

Scratch-text-editor issue:

When you use this trick in Scratch, you can't see the underline U, but it works also.

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