International characters

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International characters (accented characters) can be added to documents in Ubuntu Hardy and other desktop managers by using an alternate keyboard layout with "deadkeys".

In Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron)

  1. System>Preferences>Keyboard
  2. Click "Layouts"
  3. Click "+ Add"
  4. In Layouts, choose USA
  5. In Variants, choose "International (with dead keys)"
  6. Click "+ Add"
  7. Click the new layout to make it the default
  8. Click "Close"

If you want to see which layout you are using, add the "Keyboard Indicator" to the panel (right-click on the panel and choose "Add to Panel", then select and add "Keyboard Indicator". This will also allow you to switch back and forth between layouts.

To use deadkeys, click an accent character such as ' or ` or ", followed by a letter. The accent will appear above the letter.

Example:  To get ê, type ^ and then e.


  1. Open Control Center>Regional & Accessibility>Keyboard Layout
  2. Select "U.S. English w/deadkeys" in "Available Layouts"
  3. Click "Add" under "Active Layouts"
  4. Click "Apply" at the bottom of the window and then close the window

In KDE, a little icon will appear in the taskbar shaped like a US flag with US in the middle. Clicking this icon will switch back and forth between the regular layout and the "deadkeys" layout. To type an accented character, click the icon so that it turns dark. Then use the keyboard the same way as above.

To get back to the regular layout, just click the flag icon again so that it turns light.

See for more information.