Since I've migrated to linux a few years ago, one issue still remains.

The ê character features a lot in my "moeder taal" (home language).

In Windows making the character was easy, I simply had to type Alt-136 and voila!

Is there a simplistic way in linux/unix to access special characters?

I'd like to be able to type an ê anywhere on my (or any other) system, not only in the DE, but on the command-line as well.

  • 1
    off-topic: "moeder taal" is now my phrase of the week, thanks.
    – msw
    Sep 20, 2010 at 17:02
  • 1
    It's called a circumflex: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circumflex ! :)
    – Zolomon
    Sep 21, 2010 at 16:34
  • 2
    Just trying to spread the knowledge. :)
    – Zolomon
    Sep 23, 2010 at 7:16
  • 1
    damm, now your making me feel bad +1
    – Stefan
    Sep 23, 2010 at 13:02
  • 1
    Stefan, jy's 'n held! Sep 1, 2013 at 18:55

3 Answers 3


Press Ctrl+Shift+U and an underlined U will appear. Next to it type in EA, which equals ê.

Found the info here

  • 3
    great, I never knew this
    – phunehehe
    Sep 20, 2010 at 16:44
  • Please note, this only works on Gnome. For a more generic solution, look at the answer involving Compose.
    – Alexios
    May 2, 2012 at 5:19

In the terminal you can type Compose e ^. On a Windows keyboard Compose is the Menu key to the right of the right-side Windows key.

Wikipedia entry: Compose key

  • 2
    Whether or not the Compose Key is that key or something else depends on your settings, and is very distro-, locale- and config-specific.
    – frabjous
    Sep 20, 2010 at 19:59
  • Isn't it Compose + ^ and then e to get this ê character? Sep 20, 2010 at 20:08
  • not the best of sollutions, as the compose button seems to be a very rare occurence on keyboards.. :)
    – Stefan
    Sep 20, 2010 at 22:12
  • When trying to find which physical key produces a keysym (assuming you run X), xev is your friend. For the "Compose" key, look for "Multi_key".
    – bhm
    Sep 20, 2010 at 23:42
  • 1
    If you run GNOME, look at "System -> Preferences -> Keyboard", in the Layouts tab under the Options... button (phew...). There is a section in that dialog for setting the Compose key position.
    – camh
    Sep 21, 2010 at 6:40

May be I'm not understanding something but why don't you simply install the US_intl keyboard layout and you'll have all accents available to all letters (possible) (and on windows too) and you make ê pressing ^ and e. ^ is on shift-6 on us keyboards, no idea on moeder taal keyboard!

  • If you're not using wayland, you can use this to activate the us_intl layout: setxkbmap us intl, and it'll set your keyboard layout for the duration of your X session
    – user986730
    Nov 14, 2019 at 15:45

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