I'd like to enter a short alpha using the compose key: ᾰ. I tried using compose+U+α but this doesn't work. Neither does using b instead of U.

How can I enter the short alpha using the compose key?


U+1FB0 is not in the X.org standard compose map.

You can define your own compose map by creating a file .XCompose in your home directory. See UTF8 math symbols & keyboard layout / input for more details. Copy the default file from /usr/share/X11/locale/en_US.UTF-8/Compose (the location may be different in different distributions) and a line like

<Multi_key> <a> <u> : U1fb0 # "ᾰ"

Alternatively, you can try another input method (Xim, Gtkim, Scim, …). I don't know which common input method has ᾰ by default or can easily be customized.

  • Do I need this hex code or can I stick with this "ᾰ" only? – marmistrz Dec 16 '14 at 15:30
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    @marmistrz I'm not sure. Looking at the Compose(5) man page, I think in principle you should use only the hex code and not the string: with no string, a string is automatically generated from the hex code according to the current locale, whereas if you specify a string, it is inserted no matter what the locale is. For example, with "ᾰ" U1fb0 or just plain "ᾰ", in a latin-1 locale, á¾° is inserted, whereas with just U1fb0 nothing is inserted. By the way, beware that I made a typo in my initial answer: the file name is .XCompose with a capital C. – Gilles Dec 16 '14 at 16:11
  • I noticed that the Compose file uses <Greek_alpha> to add alpha variations. I added this <Multi_key> <Greek_alpha> <u> : U1fb0 # ᾰ to the end of the file, but new windows can't compose this character. – marmistrz Dec 17 '14 at 15:55
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    @marmistrz Do you have both α and u on your keyboard at the same time? Maybe you're typing Compose α υ? – Gilles Dec 17 '14 at 17:29

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