Is there some way to inspect the state of X to get exactly and only a list of compose key shortcuts and what they map to, either as literal keys, for example:

aa å
88 ∞

or as glyph names, for example:

aa Latin Small Letter A with ring above
88 Infinity

or, ideally, a combination.

I'm not using GNOME.

After reading the links in the accepted answer I ended up with the following command:

less "/usr/share/X11/locale/$(grep --max-count=1 "${LANG%.*}.UTF-8\$" /usr/share/X11/locale/locale.dir | cut --delimiter=/ --fields 1)/Compose"

Unfortunately this doesn't work if Compose files are elsewhere (like in NixOS, where they are in /nix/store/*-libX11-*/share/X11/locale/*/Compose).

It also doesn't work if a fallback locale is used. My locale is "en_NZ.UTF-8". There is no Compose file for this locale, but still a bunch of compose keys are available. Presumably it falls back to another, unknown locale.

Finally, it doesn't take into account $XCOMPOSEFILE.

1 Answer 1


Not exactly. If you are talking about X alone, you can look at the compose tables. However, some people want to know this about GNOME without making a distinction.

  • 5
    I wish there was a tool on X (or Wayland... however this does keyboard input, it's apparently "different") like WinCompose's "Show sequences". I mean... X has that info. Why is it not accessible? Apr 16, 2017 at 6:26

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