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I'm trying to put in an email the temperature outside in degrees. On my Mac, the degree symbol (°) is Option+Shift+8. But I'm writing the email in Thunderbird on an Ubuntu 10.10 with the default US English keyboard layout. What key combination do I use to get the degree symbol under X11?

EDIT: Gert successfully answered the question... but, bonus points for any easier to use keystroke than what's in his answer!

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

Set up a Compose key. On Ubuntu, this is easily done in the keyboard preferences, “Layout” tab, “Options” subdialog. Caps Lock is a good choice as it's pretty much useless (all remotely serious editors have a command to make the selection uppercase for the rare times it's needed).

Press Compose followed by two characters (occasionally three) to enter a character you don't have on your keyboard. Usually the resulting character combines the two characters you type, for example Compose ' a enters á and Compose s s enters ß. The degree symbol ° is one of the less memorable combinations, it's on Compose o o.

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Compose o o is a lot easier to remember than Ctrl Shift u B 0 enter. "o" because ° is an o. – Josh Dec 13 '10 at 19:37
+1 voted Keyboard Feature of the Month by the Keyboard Feature of the Month Committee (i.e. me) – msw Dec 14 '10 at 14:02
Following the links, I found this way to "test drive" A Compose key that won't persist when you restart X: %xmodmap -e "keysym Super_L = Multi_key" ... Super_L is the left "windows-button" keycode; use xev to find any keycode you want. – luser droog Apr 21 '12 at 5:27

Ctrl + Shift + u (this will show an underlined u) and then the unicode value (in this case B0) and follow it by an enter.

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When I type <Ctrl> + <Shift> + <u> into Thunderbird, I get underline turned on and a "u" character appearing. Then, "B0" just gets typed in also (still underlined) :-( – Josh Dec 13 '10 at 14:53
Follow it by <enter> – Gert Dec 13 '10 at 14:54
Ah ha, that's the key. Really? This is the only way? Option+Shift+8 on Mac is so much easier to remember, since Shift+8 is *... – Josh Dec 13 '10 at 14:55
You can always set a hotkey or something for this. – Falmarri Dec 14 '10 at 4:00
Both yours and Gilles' answers worked, but his was the one I used because it's easier for me to remember. Sorry! +1 anyway though! – Josh Dec 21 '10 at 13:42

You can also use <Alt Gr> + <Shift> + 0

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Damn, I am foiled again! It's a laptop keyboard and doesn't have an Alt GR key :-( – Josh Dec 13 '10 at 18:20

ALT+0 works for me (I'm using Gentoo Linux).

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